The video below is a snip from a speech given by John Brennan on June 29, 2011. At that point Mr. Brennan was Homeland Security Advisor to President Barack Hussein Obama. He is now the director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
In his speech he mocked radical Islam’s “grandiose vision of global domination”:
Mr. Brennan dismissed any threat of a Caliphate with these words:
Our strategy is also shaped by a deeper understanding of al-Qa’ida’s goals, strategy, and tactics. I’m not talking about al-Qa’ida’s grandiose vision of global domination through a violent Islamic caliphate. That vision is absurd, and we are not going to organize our counterterrorism policies against a feckless delusion that is never going to happen. We are not going to elevate these thugs and their murderous aspirations into something larger than they are.
What a difference three years makes!
I haven’t read any comments from the esteemed CIA director since ISIS declared a Caliphate, ethnically cleansed Mosul of its Christian population, besieged the Yezidis on Mount Sinjar, and beheaded James Foley. At a press conference yesterday, however, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Gen. Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were singing a different tune:
Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel warned of the threat posed by militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS or ISIL), calling the group an “imminent threat to every interest we have.”
“They are as sophisticated and well-funded as any group that we have seen. They’re beyond just a terrorist group,” Hagel said at a joint press briefing with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.
Hagel added: “This is beyond anything we’ve seen. We must prepare for everything.”
[…] Both [Hagel] and Dempsey said ISIS must also be defeated in Syria as well as Iraq.
Dempsey, the U.S.’ top general, said it would be possible to “contain” ISIS, but not without going after the group in Syria.
“This is an organization that has an apocalyptic end-of-days strategic vision that will eventually have to be defeated,” Dempsey said. “Can they be defeated without addressing that part of the organization that resides in Syria? The answer is no.”
One would normally assume that all three top advisors to President Obama would be singing from the same hymnal. Does the CIA view the situation differently from the Pentagon and the DoD? Or has the nature of “violent extremism” actually changed that much in the past three years?
Or is something else at work?
Notice that John Brennan referred only to “Al Qaeda” in his speech. In order to avoid the I-word, Al Qaeda has been named as the enemy ever since the fall of 2001, when George W. Bush declared that our enemy was a band of extremists led by Osama bin Laden that had hijacked a noble religion. As a corollary, any group of Muslims that does not call itself “Al Qaeda” tends to get a free pass. That’s why we could ship arms and cash to the Free Syrian Army, the al-Nusra Front, and all the other jihad groups in Syria who weren’t Al Qaeda. (Yes, I know we did business with Al Qaeda groups in Libya, and probably in Syria, too. But we had to do so secretly — can’t have that stuff getting into the papers.)
And ISIS wasn’t Al Qaeda, so it could be safely ignored. Mind you, it used to be Al Qaeda — it started out as Al Qaeda in Iraq, led by the late renowned militant insurgent Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. But by 2011 it had reformed itself, and could be safely admitted into the alliance of Syrian “rebels” that was tasked by our brilliant intelligence operatives with overthrowing the regime of Bashar al-Assad.
Well, we all know how that one worked out.
Since ISIS wasn’t Al Qaeda, the nattering nabobs of the Obama administration could pretend they didn’t see all the rapin’ and enslavin’ and beheadin’ and crucifyin’. No matter how many horrible videos were posted on Facebook, no matter how many triumphant jihad tweets were retweeted, the administration was unconcerned.
Until late August 2014, that is. One day the Secretary of Defense woke up and noticed that ISIS was an “imminent threat” to the United States.
So what does an “imminent threat” mean at this late date?
Am I being cynical to think that it means “anything that forces President Obama to come in from the links and speak into the microphone for four minutes before returning to the back nine?”
Or is it maybe something that makes for embarrassing sound bites on the nightly news? The kind of bloody unpleasantness that is hard for the press secretary to spin? And that threatens the re-election of colleagues in Congress?
In any case, the “grandiose vision of global domination” now seems a little less feckless and delusory than it did three years ago. And the officially recognized danger of “violent extremism” has now been extended beyond the imaginary boundaries of “Al Qaeda”.
This entire saga is further evidence that ISIS is a monster of our own making that escaped from our control. The geniuses in charge of our foreign policy probably told each other, “Hey, we know we’re dealing with thugs. But at least they’re our thugs.”
Now we know that the groovy beheaders of ISIS are nobody’s thugs but their own. Or, more precisely: they’re Allah’s thugs.
As a reminder of how important the meaning of “is” is, this headline from Arutz Sheva, when processed as an all-caps text feed, reads: “HAGEL: IS AN ‘IMMINENT THREAT’”
Once again, this is why we are reading a lot about the “Islamic State” in media outlets that would otherwise be avoiding JIM like the plague. The meaning of brief snips of text tends to get scrambled unless the full name is used. It makes for an educational opportunity in the MSM that would otherwise have been absent.
Hat tip for the Arutz Sheva article: JP.