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San Bernardino: Aftermath of a Failed Political Strategy

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In the wake of the terror attack in San Bernardino, California, reports have emerged citing neighbors who noticed suspicious activity at the shooters’ residence but decided against contacting the police so as not to appear racist.

One man who worked in the neighborhood for three weeks said he questioned why day after day, about six Middle Eastern-looking men came to the shooters' house. “We sat around lunching thinking, ‘What [were] they doing around the neighborhood?’” he said. But he didn’t report the activity because he didn’t want to be seen as racially profiling.

Another neighbor related she watched with unease while multiple packages arrived in a short amount of time at the shooters’ house. At the same time, she noticed a lot of work being done in their garage.

“She was kind of suspicious and wanted to report it,” another neighbor explained, “but she said she didn’t want to profile.”

Speaking just one day after the attack – not to mention just weeks after the attack in Paris, the downing of a Russian commercial airliner in the Sinai and the announcement by the FBI it is involved in 900 homegrown terror investigations, U.S. Attorney-General Loretta Lynch said her “greatest fear” was the “incredibly disturbing rise of anti-Muslim rhetoric.”

Addressing those engaged in “Islamophobia,” but ironically more aptly describing Islamist extremists, Lynch said, “When we talk about the First Amendment we [must] make it clear that actions predicated on violent talk are not American. They are not who we are, they are not what we do, and they will be prosecuted.”

Lynch takes her cues from her boss, the president of the United States, as do many of the country’s citizens. The fact that, just 14 years after the September 11 attacks, ordinary citizens are afraid to report suspicious activity that could be related to terrorism for fear of being called racist, is a testament to the Orwellian political atmosphere that now pervades America.

We can look to Europe to see the end result of such an atmosphere, taking as the quintessential example the recent revelations from Rotherham, England, where 1,400 young, white British girls (some as young as 11) were sexually abused by “grooming gangs” of Pakistani Muslim men, while the police and social services looked on over a period of 10 years. In a horrifically-shocking report released last August, it was revealed knowledge of the abuse was repeatedly dismissed by police, social services and even the city council over fears of being labelled "racist."

In the case of America, the commander-in-chief’s markedly-pronounced decision to refuse to label Islamist terror as such while instead drumming into the hearts and souls of the country’s citizens that Islam has nothing to do with the world’s recent spate of terror attacks has set the tone.

It has been argued Obama’s refusal to call out Islamist extremism for what it is, is part of a strategy to engage the Muslim world in the fight against it. As Hillary Clinton, who has also refused to out “radical Islam” said, it is “not particularly helpful to make the case” to “Muslim countries.”

This convoluted reasoning for this strategy was summed up by Bloomberg journalist Eli Lake, who wrote, "The long war against radical Islamic terrorists requires at least the tacit support of many radical Muslims. Sadly, large pluralities of Muslims in countries allied with the U.S. in the war on terror disavow the tactics of terrorism but endorse the aims of radical Islam."

Meaning, if we called out Islamist extremism for what it is, our radical Islamist “friends” (i.e., allied countries) would stop cooperating with us which would lead to "a world in which the U.S. stopped waging a global war on terror."

The major countries Lake is most likely referring to are Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Turkey – all Islamist entities that have aided and abetted these self-same radical Islamists. At a glance, let us consider

The current administration's engagement of extremists in the Islamic world has also been reflected through America’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and at home.

However, it is a strategy based on the illusion we are working for the same side. We are clearly not.

All of these countries (and by definition, any country that endorses what Lake called “the aims of radical Islam”) are looking to replace democracy and Western values with sharia law.

The willingness to joining with such countries has necessitated the breeding of a culture of political correctness where common sense on the part of ordinary citizen is now questioned as being “racist.”

In reality, the “war on terror” will not be won until we stop being afraid of declaring who we are fighting against. Once that happens, we will be able to start the battle for real.  

Meira Svirsky is the editor of Clarion Project.

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org