Abu Brennan v. David PetraeusAn operations manual put out by General David Petraeus, the new commander of US operations in Afghanistan, conflicts with the Obama administration's policy on divorcing terrorism from Islam.
The Petraeus doctrine refers to "Islamic insurgents," "Islamic extremists" and "Islamic subversives." It details ties between Muslim support groups and terrorists. His co-author was Gen. James F. Amos, whom Mr. Obama has picked as the next Marine Corps commandant and Joint Chiefs of Staff member.How this battle plays out remains to be seen; the article only points out the conflicts and gives no indication of how they might play out. If Petraeus were to adapt his manual to the political correctness espoused by Brennan, the United States would become a laughingstock in the Arab world, and would be regarded as even weaker than it is already regarded.
Mr. Brennan on May 26 told an audience at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that "describing our enemy in religious terms would lend credence to the lie propagated by al Qaeda and its affiliates to justify terrorism, that the United States is somehow at war against Islam. The reality, of course, is that we have never been and will never be at war with Islam. After all, Islam, like so many faiths, is part of America."
In a speech that also severed the Obama administration from President George W. Bush's "war on terror," Mr. Brennan also said: "The president's strategy is absolutely clear about the threat we face. Our enemy is not terrorism because terrorism is but a tactic. Our enemy is not terror because terror is a state of mind and, as Americans, we refuse to live in fear. Nor do we describe our enemy as jihadists or Islamists because jihad is holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam meaning to purify oneself of one's community."
Asked about the discrepancy between the White House policy and the military's counterinsurgency doctrine, Michael Hammer, Mr. Brennan's spokesman, said "We don't have anything to add to John's speech."
How to define the enemy has been debated in Washington since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Liberal groups such as the Center for American Progress advocated no Islam link, while conservatives generally say a more precise definition of the enemy is needed if the U.S. hopes to win.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, some Muslims criticized the Republican candidate, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, for using the term "Islamic extremism."
"If it's not our intent to paint everyone with the same brush, then certainly we should think seriously about just characterizing them as criminals, because that is what they are," Muneer Fareed, who then headed the Islamic Society of North America, told The Washington Times.
Douglas Feith, who as undersecretary of defense for policy under Mr. Bush helped plan the war on terror, said, "There always has been a sensitivity that we do not want to do or say anything that will allow our efforts to be mischaracterized credibly as a war against Islam."
Mr. Feith, an analyst at the Hudson Institute, is now working on a paper on a U.S. strategy for countering "Islamist extremism."
"What Brennan has done in this speech, I think, he's bent over backwards to avoid using the term Islam at all and it makes discussions of what we're really up against artificial, unrealistic and strategically unhelpful," Mr. Feith said. "I think they need to be a little bolder and a little more honest and a little more assertive in making this extremely important distinction. To say Islam has nothing to do with it is ridiculous."
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