President Obama was, last week, forced to publicly ask (and answer) the question: Would calling the violence that has swept America–indeed the West–by the name “radical Islam” do anything to help defeat ISIL? It’s a straw-man question, ready for him and his fellow travelers in liberal globalism to burn with the answer, “No, it wouldn’t.”
In fact, Obama asked the wrong question, and he did it on purpose. The president created a false dividing line between foreign enemies and domestic ones, with domestic enemies falling into a category of “hate” and “shooting” crimes, while anything related to the word “Islamic” is placed outside our borders. This keeps him from having to answer the more pressing question: What is he and his administration doing about domestic Islamic terror?
The answer is chilling because it involves a principle called “acceptable loss.” In military terms, the principle means when a commander has to decide which option among available choices will lead to winning the objective, while frequently minimizing losses. Even in wartime, political considerations influence–and frequently override–purely military or investigative use of raw intelligence (read CIA analyst John Ehrman’s takedown of historian Joseph E. Persico’s book Roosevelt’s Secret War).
What this means is that the president, and in general the intelligence community, certainly knew that ISIS (which he calls “ISIL”) and its 9/11 predecessor al Queda have what the Brookings Institute called “differing threat profiles.” Without quoting large passages from this think-tank paper, I will summarize: Al Queda favored large, spectacular operations planned in complete secrecy by directly controlling terror networks. ISIS seeks to control territory and export its ideology–I will quote a small piece:
The Islamic State’s strategy is to control territory, steadily consolidating and expanding its position. Part of this is ideological: it wants to create a government where Muslims can live under Islamic law (or the Islamic State’s twisted version of it). Part of this is inspirational: by creating an Islamic state, it electrifies many Muslims who then embrace the group. And part of it is basic strategy: by controlling territory it can build an army, and by using its army it can control more territory.
ISIS relies much more heavily on–and is much more successful using–social networking to recruit and direct attackers on the West. These are usually people who move in and out of their host or home countries to areas where ISIS has a presence. Therefore, we can reasonably assume the government knew of Tashfeen Malik, Syed Rizwan Farook, and Omar Mateen–of course they knew.
It’s not reasonable to argue that the government knew these individuals would commit mass terror killings and do nothing about it. I put that in the same category as accusing President Bush of knowing about 9/11 in advance and doing nothing. It’s pure conspiracy theory (the more technical term for “crap”).
But the Obama administration knew that the entire category of these people who are ripe for radicalization, have traveled outside the U.S. or married people from areas where radical Islam flourishes, carries with it the probability of attacks. Doing nothing about this direct, clear, and present danger is the fruit of the choice they’ve made under the principle of “acceptable losses.”
The administration, and the Democratic Party in general, accepts these losses in pursuit of what it considers a higher value objective: the elimination–of severe erosion–of the Second Amendment in the United States. It’s a given that they can’t (at this time) repeal the Second Amendment, but I don’t think that’s their short or even medium term strategy. It could be a very-long-term goal, like capturing the enemy’s capital and its government’s unconditional surrender.
The short-term goal is to achieve some construct for the bypass, elimination, or erosion of other Constitutionally-guaranteed rights that defend the Second Amendment. So if the government can suspend the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees due process, from applying to the Second Amendment, that’s a huge win. Even if those protections are suspended for a small group of people at first, it’s a hole–a tear–in the fabric of our guaranteed rights. A few Supreme Court decisions (cherry-picked to coincide with the right mix of justices) and that hole becomes stare decisis, legal precedent for the next decision.
Pushing to make some government “watchlist” the new basis for legally purchasing firearms, or some nebulously-defined category of firearms, moves the armature of legislative initiative from regulating a particular type of weapon, and the associated commerce thereof, to regulating who can purchase it, based on nothing more than a suspicion, without due process of law. Certainly, some state laws on the books (in states like New Jersey) allow local authorities to make these decisions without due process, but they are invariably overturned by higher courts (see District of Columbia v. Heller).
The Obama Administration knows that horrors like the Boston Marathon bombing, the Chattanooga attacks on our military (for which the White House never explained why they would not order flags at half-staff, when they’ve so ordered it for civilians deaths), Major Nidal Hasan’s mass shooting at Fort Hood, Alton Alexander Nolen’s beheading of a Christian woman in Oklahoma, and the San Bernardino and Orlando mass shootings will continue to happen.
They know these attacks are not related by the use of guns–since they did not, in fact, all use guns. They know why the attackers did what they did. They know the terror “watchlist” is designed to fight the Al Queda enemy’s spectacular and meticulously-planned terror attacks, not ISIS “lone wolf” attacks. They know that using the watchlist won’t stop future attacks any more than it’s stopped past attacks.
But that’s not their objective, so the dead in Orlando are just more acceptable losses in their foreign-only war against ISIS, yet are casus belli in the domestic war on civilian ownership of firearms.