I wonder what set Obama’s top counterterrorism advisor off like that? Could it be that he was offended because the Times’ editorial writers disagreed with his characterization of Jihad as a “legitimate tenet of Islam” and questioned his conciliatory and apologetic attempts to make nice with our mortal enemies?
Nah. Anyone with such a generous and forgiving spirit toward black-hooded, machete-wielding theocrats who have taken a blood oath to murder American infidels must be the most mild-tempered man on the planet, and he’s definitely not freaking out at a couple innocuous reporters who probably never even stoned anybody. So I have made a list of possible alternative reasons for Brennan’s attitude:
- He’s sitting on a nest of red ants.
- He misunderstood “5-hour Energy” and drank 5 in 1 hour.
- He was demonstrating how the underwear bomber should have been treated.
- He was pretending to be Colonel Vogel at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Here’s how the Washington Times described the June incident:
Mr. Brennan had visited the Washington Times Editorial Board on June 24 as a result of a June 11 Washington Times editorial he objected to. It did not take long for the White House counter-terrorism adviser to lose his temper with our editorial board’s questions regarding what he previously said about individuals who become terrorists (see transcript and video below).
Mr. Brennan cut the meeting short and stormed out of our offices thereafter following a question posed by senior editorial writer Jim Robbins (transcript and video below). Referring to a quote Mr. Brennan said in May, calling jihad a “legitimate tenet of Islam,” Mr. Robbins looked to discuss the concept of jihad further with the Obama administration adviser.
Here are some excerpts of what seemed to irritate Brennan a heck of a lot more than the attempted murder of hundreds of Americans on Christmas day:
John Brennan, deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism and homeland security, asserted in a speech last month that the United States cannot be at war with terrorism because terrorism is only a “tactic.” Terrorism, however, is also a strategy and method, with a long history and extensive theoretical literature. This is why it is an “-ism” and not simply “terror.” It is bewildering that Mr. Brennan would make such a glaring error on such a fundamental concept.
Mr. Brennan also asserted that “violent extremists” are victims of “political, economic and social forces.” This dense statement implies that counterterrorism should focus not on terrorists themselves but the underlying causes that purportedly “victimized” them. It’s similar to the discredited argument that the way to fight urban crime is through big-government social programs rather than putting more police on the beat. Making terrorists into victims also legitimates their grievances, which is a strange way to fight them.
Mr. Brennan also has been waging his own crusade on jihad. He claims “jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children.” It’s true that the term jihad can refer to the inner struggle for purification, something known as the “greater jihad” in Islamic theology. But jihad also can mean the violent struggle against non-Muslims for the defense or extension of the Islamic faith, something known as the “lesser jihad,” which to the United States is the greater threat. Mr. Brennan chooses to blind himself to this definition of the word, which is like not understanding that the word “prey” can be both a noun and a verb, each with very different implications.
Mr. Brennan believes attacks on the United States should not be justified in religious terms, but this is how terrorists in fact do justify them. His obtuseness is dangerous. Knowing the enemy is a necessary precondition for victory. A good starting point is bin Laden’s November 2002 “Letter to the American People” in which he explicitly addresses the question of why al Qaeda is at war with the United States. It is a comprehensive critique of American society, which he describes as the “worst civilization in the history of the world.” Bin Laden’s missive is steeped in religious language and is the product of a radical Islamic intellectual tradition that goes back more than a century.
Here are the videos of Brennan’s meeting with the Times: