For eight years, President Obama fought the war on terror, pursuing a campaign targeting terrorist leaders from al Qaeda, its affiliates, and ISIS. Since the start of President Obama’s first term in 2009, at least 45 of the top terrorist leaders were killed or captured by U.S. forces. According to an official estimate, in March of 2016, CNN reported under the Obama administration, coalition forces had killed more than 26,000 Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria. In the Administration’s final days, U.S. airstrikes killed more than twenty top Al Qaeda operatives in Syria. Despite this, he was consistently attacked for being soft on terrorism because he did not utter the words Radical Islamic terrorism. Our current President went as far as to say:
Obama “disgracefully refused to even say the words ‘Radical Islam’, for that reason alone, he should step down.
But as President Obama said himself, the reason he wouldn’t use those words is
I have been careful about when I describe these issues is to make sure that we do not lump these murderers into the billion Muslims that exist around the world, including in this country, who are peaceful, who are responsible, who, in this country, are fellow troops and police officers and firefighters and teachers and neighbors and friends.
Additionally, as anyone in the intelligence community will tell you, the war on terror is fought and won using intelligence gathered worldwide, much of it from Muslims. Alienating this vital stream of information to make Sean Hannity and the rest of FOX News happy served no purpose. Obama understood that the war on terror wouldn’t be won through sound bites and tweets but actions. Actions that his Administration consistently undertook during his eight years as President.
Today as the country looks on in horror at the events unfolding in Charlottesville, Va, we have again gotten into the debate of whether we should use the term domestic terrorist, white supremacist, neo-nazis, etc. To be sure, calling out these groups for who and what they are would have been refreshing. Even more, so would have been pointing the blame squarely at them, something our President seems unwilling to do instead opting to condemn hatred and bigotry on “many sides.” Ignoring the fact that one side was filled with hate-filled bigots espousing racism while the other side was protesting against racism. But let’s say I am willing to give Trump a pass for not using the term domestic terrorism to describe these hate-filled individuals; after all, like the term radical Islam, they’re only words. I couldn’t possibly give him a pass for his actions. Such as lumping together the Alt-Right protestors responsible for 19 injuries and the death of an American who came to stand up against hate and bigotry. That action speaks louder than any words ever could
Since Trump has taken office, attacks from groups identified as white supremacists have been on the rise. No one can pretend Trump’s campaign rhetoric, such as when he initially refused to condemn the Ku Klux Klan or disavow an endorsement by former Klansman David Duke, has not encouraged these groups. If that wasn’t enough to give them the confidence to crawl from under their rock on February 2, 2017, Reuters reported that the Trump administration wants to revamp and rename a U.S. government program designed to counter all violent ideologies so that it focuses solely on Islamist extremism, five people briefed on the matter told Reuters.
The program, “Countering Violent Extremism,” or CVE, would be changed to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,” the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.
As Think Progress reported, the news of Trump’s plan to reverse that symbolic recognition of right-wing threats prompted a wave of celebration in white nationalist circles. “Donald Trump wants to remove us from undue federal scrutiny by removing ‘white supremacists’ from the definition of ‘extremism,’” the founder and editor of the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer.
Words vs. actions.
Actions speak louder than words.