IN MANY RESPECTS, the nomination of Obama's counter-terrorism chief John Brennan to head the CIA is an even worse disaster. How can someone whose vision has been blinded by the dictates of political correctness possibly give the President the quality of analysis he needs? Unfortunately, Brennan, like Hagel, has been deliberately picked by the President precisely because of his ardent political correctness.
Brennan oversaw the purging from all U.S. government counter-terrorism and law enforcement manuals any reference to radical Islam, Islamism, or jihad. Jihad, he writes, is a "holy struggle to purify oneself or one's community," a line that could have been taken directly out of the propaganda of Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated American Muslim organizations. He deliberately ignores the fact that jihad in contemporary Islamic discourse almost always refers to military action to spread Islam.
He consistently defines the terrorist threat as Al-Qaeda and affiliated organizations, without ever mentioning or appearing to notice that Al-Qaeda is only one of a large constellation of Islamic terrorist organizations. And in a discussion of the sources of terrorism, he writes of violent extremists as victims of "political, economic, and social" forces, but never of religious forces.
Religion, or the one particular religion whose adherents are behind almost every terrorist attack in the world, is never allowed to intrude into Brennan's analysis. Thus he told Congress that the Muslim Brotherhood is a moderate secular group, and has urged the greater inclusion of Hizbullah into the Lebanese political system. His confidence in the moderating impact of political participation is apparently unlimited, when it comes to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hizbullah, and we are today witnessing the fruits of what can only be described as a pro-Muslim Brotherhood policy in Egypt.
Brennan claimed as proof of Hizbullah's path towards moderation the fact that it includes in its ranks doctors and lawyers. Well, Hizbullah's arch-terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, Osama bin Laden's replacement Al-Zaharwi, the pioneer of air hijacking George Habash, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, and Josef Mengele were all doctors, anad Yasier Arafat an engineer. That is hardly proof of moderation.
Brennan's analysis is on par with the 80-page government report on the Ft. Hood massacre, which made no mention of the perpetrator's religious beliefs, even though he shouted "Alla-hu Akbar" as he shot thirteen people. The report even managed to conclude that "religious fundamentalism alone is not a risk factor," though it did not suggest what other risk factors might have led to Dr. Nidal Hassan's murderous rampage.
After a while, such relentless political correctness and white-washing of Islamic extremism cannot but cloud analysis. What cannot be mentioned is eventually not thought about. Thus the x-mas airplane bomber, who just narrowly missed blowing up a commercial airliner, with more than 200 passengers above Detroit, was never placed on an American watch list, despite warnings from British intelligence based on the terrorist's father's expressed concerns about his growing religious fanaticism.
Brennan's entire career seems to consist of one faulty judgment and failure after another. On the eve of the Obama presidency, he recommended rapprochement with Iran based on a policy of advancing rather trying to thwart Iranian interests. Since the expressed goal of the current Iranian regime is the spread of its own form of Islamic theocracy, it is hard to know what "Iranian interests" he had in mind. In any event, we know how well that turned out.
Brennan enthusiastically endorsed the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, which concluded that Iran had halted work on is nuclear weapons program based on a ridiculously narrow definition of nuclear weapons program, which did not even include the 3,000 centrifuges openly enriching uranium at Iran's Natanz site, as the report was issued. The opening statement, which was belied by almost everything else in the report, was carefully crafted by the U.S. intelligence community to forestall President Bush from seeking new sanctions against Iran and even more so from military action.
Even The New York Times now admits that U.S. counter-terrorism policy overseen by Brennan in North Africa, starting with the decision to intervene in Libya, has been a "comprehensive failure."
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, Brennan is no friend of Israel. Besides his endorsements of Hizbullah and the Muslim Brotherhood, he also recommended that the U.S. engage Hamas. Again, the failure is the total inability to take seriously Hamas's theological call for the extinction of Israel. He often refers to Jerusalem as Al-Quds, and when addressing a Muslim group at NYU complained, "It's tough, but we are not going to separate ourselves from Israel."
Could someone in the White House be sending Israel a message?