When failure carries no cost
This week, after a three-and-a-half-year delay, US Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was finally placed on trial for massacring 13 and wounding 32 at Ft. Hood, Texas, on November 5, 2009.
Hasan was a self-identified jihadist. His paper and electronic trail provided mountains of evidence that he committed the massacre to advance the cause of Islamic supremacy. Islamic supremacists like Hasan, and his early mentor al-Qaida operations chief Anwar al-Awlaki, view as enemies all people who oppose totalitarian Islam’s quest for global domination.
Before, during and following his assault, Hasan made his jihadist motives obvious to the point of caricature in his statements about the US, the US military and the duties of pious Muslims. But rather than believe Hasan, and so do justice to his victims, the Obama administration, with the active collusion of senior US military commanders went to great lengths to cover up Hasan’s ideological motivations and hence the nature of his crime.
On the day of the attack, Lt.-Gen. Robert Cone, then commander of III Corps at Ft. Hood, said preliminary evidence didn’t suggest that the shooting was terrorism. Cone said this even though it was immediately known that before he began shooting Hasan called out “Allahu akhbar.” He called himself a “Soldier of Allah” on his business cards.
In an interview with CNN three days after the attack, US Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey said, “Our diversity, not only in our army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.”
The intensity of the Obama administration’s participation in this cover-up became clear in May 2012. At that time, Congress had placed a clause inside the Defense Appropriations Act requiring the Pentagon to award Purple Hearts to Ft. Hood’s victims. Rather than accept this eminently reasonable demand, which simply required the administration to acknowledge reality, Obama’s emissaries announced he would veto the appropriations bill and so leave the Pentagon without a budget unless the clause was removed.
Rather than define Hasan’s attack as an enemy attack or a terrorist act, the administration has defined it as a case of “workplace violence.” Following this determination, those wounded in the attack, as well as the families of the murdered, are denied the support conferred on soldiers killed or wounded by enemy fire.
At the first day of Hasan’s trial this week, he admitted that he perpetrated the murderous attack because he is a jihadist who “switched sides” in the war. That is, he told the court that he conducted the attack as an act of war against the United States to advance the goals of the global jihad.
Hasan’s statement made clear, once again, that in its efforts to describe his actions as “workplace violence,” the administration is engaging in a cover-up. Its purpose is to deny the American people the truth about the nature of the jihadist threat to their country.
Outside the conservative media, and certain circles of the Republican Party, there has been no public outcry over the government’s decision to cover up the nature of Hasan’s actions. The public’s passivity in the face of the government’s mendacious, unjust behavior owes to the fact that the mainstream media have not castigated the administration for its decision to hide that Hasan was not a garden variety disgruntled employee but a traitor who acted in the service of declared enemies of the United States. In the absence of a media-induced public outcry, the administration has no reason to change its behavior. It has no impetus to acknowledge the truth and act accordingly.
THE SAME is the case with regards to the September 11, 2012, attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi. Already on the day of the attack, it was apparent that the US mission and the CIA annex had been targeted in a premeditated, preplanned attack. Footage of the attack broadcast in real time showed armed men attacking the consulate with rocket-propelled grenades. It was not an act of savage mob violence. Mobs do not carry RPGs or act in a coordinated manner. That is, already at the time of the attack it was apparent that it was not a spontaneous protest in response to an anti-Islamic video on YouTube.
And yet, from the outset, the administration covered up what happened. And the media colluded. Fox News was the only major network that pursued the story. A US ambassador was raped and murdered on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks. US personnel were under multi-pronged attack for hours. Their desperate pleas for assistance were denied by the administration. And the US media went along with the fiction that the attack was a spontaneous outburst of rage over a YouTube video no one had ever seen.
The media’s collusion was so great that CNN anchor Candy Crowley threw a US presidential debate when she defended Barack Obama’s handling of the attack by inserting false information in the middle of the debate that she was moderating.
The Benghazi story keeps getting more and more outrageous. Last week we learned that some two dozen CIA personnel were on the ground during the attack. The administration has reportedly scattered these operatives throughout the US and forced them to adopt new identities. They have reportedly been prohibited from speaking to the media or congressional investigators, and subjected to monthly polygraph tests.
US personnel wounded in the attack have been hidden from investigators since the attack took place.
This behavior is scandalous, and unprecedented. Yet, outside of the “usual suspects” in the conservative media and the Republican Party, there is no outrage. The media coverage of this shocking revelation is nearly nonexistent, and where it exists, the reportage is laconic, indifferent.
Here, too, the administration feels comfortable perpetuating its cover-up. As in the case of Ft. Hood, why come clean if there is no price to pay for lying and covering up?
Speaking of the frequent US failures in understanding events in faraway lands, Winston Churchill famously quipped, “We can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.”
But what if the other possibilities are never exhausted? The media’s collusion with the Obama administration’s false portrayal of jihadist attacks on US targets gives foreign leaders concerned about the US’s lackadaisical attitude toward jihadist threats no reason for confidence. In the absence of public pressure, the Obama administration has no reason to change course when its policies fail.
IN ISRAEL’S case, the first place where the lesson of this state of affairs needs to be internalized is in regards to Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Since taking office, Obama has repeatedly claimed that he will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. But in practice, his actions have enabled Iran to vastly expand its nuclear weapons program. Due to his malfeasance, today Iran has arrived at the cusp of a nuclear arsenal. More than his words, Obama’s actions have made clear that he has no intention whatsoever of conducting military strikes against Iran’s nuclear installations to prevent the regime from developing nuclear weapons.
Obama’s latest ploy for running the clock down is his embrace of the fiction that Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, is a moderate interested, (and perforce empowered), to cut a nuclear deal with the US that would see Iran voluntarily and credibly end its uranium enrichment activities.
Speaking of Rouhani this week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu referred to him as “a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” and warned US and European officials not to be taken in by his act. Netanyahu also noted that Iran has expanded its nuclear activities since Rouhani was elected two months ago.
But he might as well save his breath.
Rouhani’s act – like that of his supposedly moderate predecessors Mohammad Khatami and Ahkbar Hashemi Rafsanjani – is so thin that it can only work on people who will be taken in by anyone. And indeed, the Obama administration was taken in by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. For five years Obama insisted on conducting self-evidently futile negotiations with Iran while Ahmadinejad – the anti-moderate – was serving as president.
The US and Europe are not taken in by Iran because Iran is good at hiding its true intentions. They are taken in by Iran because they want to be taken in. They want to believe that they don’t have to attack Iran and overthrow the regime to prevent it from becoming a nuclear power. They want to believe they can appease Iran by pretending it isn’t a danger, just as they believe they can end the threat of terror by jihadists in the US military and Benghazi by pretending they don’t exist.
They want to believe these threats can be ignored, or appeased away. And just as Obama and his followers are willing to pretend away Hasan’s actions to protect “diversity,” and to pretend away the September 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi to protect the myth of the Arab Spring, so they are willing to permit Iran to go nuclear to protect the sanctity of appeasement.
The only thing they are willing to put their foot down about is the prospect of an Israeli strike. And they have put their foot down on this issue for the past decade. It isn’t that the US is deliberately enabling Iran to acquire a nuclear arsenal. It is just that the US elite in government and the media care more about protecting their faith in diversity and appeasement than they do about preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
They have convinced themselves that the prospect of appeasing Iran will evaporate if Israel attacks Iran’s nuclear installations. And so we have seen a parade of senior US defense officials descending on Israel every time it appears that Israel is planning to attack Iran. We have seen a parade of former Israeli military and security chiefs with close ties to the US defense establishment declaring before every available microphone that Israel must not strike Iran and that we can count on Obama to protect us.
But we mustn’t believe their assurances or succumb to their pressure. Obama will not change course. He doesn’t have to. So long as he maintains faith with the god of appeasement, the US media will protect him. And so long as they protect him, he will pay no price for his failures. So he will repeat them.
Israel cannot countenance a nuclear Iran. So Israel needs to attack Iran’s nuclear installations.
No more needs to be said.
Originally published in the Jerusalem Post.