Vail Valley Voices: Obama’s culture of confusion in the war on terrorism |

Vail Valley Voices: Obama’s culture of confusion in the war on terrorism

Butch Mazzuca
Vail, CO, Colorado

The culture of any organization can be described as its shared attitudes, values, and beliefs.

Culture defines the relationships between the individuals and the functions that guide an organization, and comprise a series of learned behaviors that are transferred between individuals over time.

Abraham Lincoln possessed an indomitable sense of purpose in his conviction that we were one nation, indivisible, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

But perhaps what was most remarkable about our 16th president was his ability to express that sense of purpose in words that were unequivocal and of enduring clarity. In doing so, Abraham Lincoln created a culture with a single-minded purpose-preserve the Union.

So what type of culture has the Obama administration engendered among America’s intelligence agencies?

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In March 2009, the newly elected Barack Obama met with high- and mid-level CIA officers and informed them that despite the fact they kept us free from attack since 9/11 and did exactly what they were told, their actions were wrong and immoral.

So the question becomes how can a culture of single-mindedness and trust develop when the agencies charged with our security feel the administration opened a new season of investigation and retribution?

As liberal columnist David Ignatius wrote in The Washington Post: “The message is obvious: Keep your head down. Duck the assignments that carry political risk and stay away from a counterterrorism program that has become a career hazard.”

What’s needed to win the war against Islamic terrorists is imagination and creativity. America needs to develop new ways of fighting militant Islamists before they attack us.

But what agent is going to be “imaginative” when using his imagination might put his career and his pension at risk or, God forbid, face the possibility of a prison term?

Does it send the message that America is serious about fighting Islamic terrorists when it takes the president a year to admit we are at war?

Even when he finally got around to admitting it, Obama couldn’t bring himself to use the term Islamists or Muslims. Instead he said, “Make no mistake, we are at war with al Qaeda.” But al Qaeda isn’t the only Islamic organization that threatens American interests. There are numerous “franchise groups” — such as Islamic Maghreb, Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Harkat-ul-Jihad e-Islami — that are not al Qaeda. So what about them?

Conservative columnist Peggy Noonan opined in The Wall Street Journal: “Rather than focus on terrorism Obama frittered his attention on issues that were secondary and tertiary — climate change, health care — while the terrorists moved, and the system stuttered.”

Perhaps someone needs to remind the president that a lack of focus breeds bureaucratic complacency, and the fear of retribution stifles creativity.

How can anyone believe America is serious about fighting Islamic terrorism when Attorney General Eric Holder decides to award five Sept. 11 conspirators, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the full rights of American citizens at a federal trial?

How serious can a war be when our government “Mirandizes” the Christmas Day bomber and then provides him with an attorney who advises him to quit talking as anything he says may incriminate him? What’s next, a plea bargain?

President Obama chastised us against “jumping to conclusions” following the Fort Hood massacre. They told us Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s failed bomb attempt was “an isolated incident.”

So when the secretary of homeland security uses phrases such as “man-caused-disasters” instead of terrorism, she’s actually taking her cue from the White House.

Barack Obama spent the first year of his presidency apologizing for America’s past transgressions to anyone who would listen. He was desperate to convince the world that he wasn’t George Bush, and the result has been confusion, fear of retribution and a lack of clarity among our intelligence agencies.

Now with the events at Fort Hood and the failed Christmas Day bombing firmly etched in our consciousness, the president must quickly change the complacent and confused culture he created.

It’s my sincere hope that Mr. Obama begins by redefining the enemy; i.e., calling these murderers what they are — Islamic extremists, the operative word being “Islamic.”

It would also strengthen his credibility with the American people and our intelligence services if he reversed Eric Holder’s decision to try terrorists in federal court instead of turning them over to the military who would use military tribunals, which by the way, worked very well in Nuremberg after the second World War.

War is a scary proposition. But scarier still is a government in denial that militant Islam is waging war against our country and our civilization.

Quote of the day: “There is nothing so likely to produce peace as to be well prepared to meet the enemy.” George Washington

Butch Mazzuca lives in Edwards.

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