The airwaves and the internet are filled with hatred and spite against the President of the United States, and not just by hard-line conservatives. Islamic terrorist groups across the Muslim world are also spewing vitriolic accusations against President Obama, despite the assurance by American conservatives during the presidential election campaign that Obama was on the terrorists’ side!
But the hard-line American conservatives and the Islamic terrorists both hate President Obama for the same reason, his sheer popularity is costing them both dearly where it hurts the most: in the roll call, and in the coffers. Logistically speaking, President Obama's worldwide popularity has been equally disastrous for the Republican party as it has for al-Qaeda. Hard-line Islamists, at least, acknowledge the threat Obama poses, as illustrated in this AP story, datelined from Cairo, about reactions to the speech posted to a militant Islamic website and published in Pakistan's Daily Times:
The man (Obama) is manipulating the emotions of the people the same as a lute player does… He is undoubtedly a wise enemy compared with George Bush, the enemy known for his stupidity. Shehab said, “Obama is more capable of persuading Muslims than others because of his Muslim origin, yet this does not mean he is closer to Muslims or he loves them more than other leaders of infidelity… he is a renegade Muslim.”
So Obama is called a ‘wise enemy’ – a compliment indeed when it comes from the other side, but an enemy nonetheless. It is truly ironic that, while there is only hatred between American hard-line conservatives and Islamic terrorists, they both now face the same problem: fewer new people are joining their cause, and the donations are significantly diminishing.
Does this not exemplify the time-tested military maxim, “amateurs discuss firepower, but professionals discuss logistics”? In other words, the wise general does that which improves his own logistical position, while harming the enemy’s logistical position to the point where they are much less effective. Add to that Sun Tzu’s rule that “the acme of generalship is to defeat the enemy without resorting to combat,” and one has two of the greatest reasons that the asymmetrical warfare waged by the terrorists has cost us over four thousand troops and more than a half trillion dollars. For example, the 9/11 attacks cost the terrorists no more than half a million dollars, whereas the cost to New York’s economy alone was pegged at over a billion dollars – a return of over a thousand to one! Colin Powell also understands the importance of logistics: “For money is the oxygen of terrorism. Without the means to raise and move money around the world, terrorists cannot function." The RAND Corporation dissertation from which Powell’s quote was drawn makes another very interesting statement, that three crucial variables in one’s decision to donate to a terrorist group are, “risk, level of wealth, or sympathy for the terrorists’ cause. Unfortunately, the author of the article never addressed how to undercut the last of that triad of factors.
Matthew Alexander (not his real name), who conducted and supervised the interrogations in Iraq, has repeatedly stated that the enhanced interrogation techniques were a prime recruitment tool for the terrorists (as John McCain agreed) – recruits poured in to fight against the ‘crusaders’. As a result, more American troops died, and died needlessly. Our cruelty, our reliance on shoot-first-ask-no-questions-later policy only helped our enemy grow and prosper in the four years that followed our invasion of Iraq.
Fortunately for America and the world, President Obama apparently understands that the one true test of a leader is to know when not to use one’s power.
One must wonder, though, how many realize the masterstroke that was President Obama’s speech in Cairo. Not only is much of the Muslim world seeing that the dream that is America is alive once more, that the majority of our nation is not comprised of those who want a war against all of Islam, and that the world’s Islamic terrorist groups are facing a significant decline in their logistical support. In a single speech our president has not only gotten the attention of most of the Islamic world and given them hope that the most powerful country in the world really does give a tinker‘s damn about them, but, and this is the really cool thing, now the sizable Muslim minorities in Russia and China will be more likely to be more pro-American (and more anti-Russia/China) than ever before.
We finally have a president who realizes that, when used at the right time and place, oratory skill, like the lowly ball-point pen, is far more powerful than the sword; that diplomacy is a crucial part of the defense of the nation. Could any other serious presidential candidate, even Hillary, for whom I was an alternate state delegate, have accomplished the same? I think not. Doggone, but I’m inordinately proud of this President Obama, for once more the world is waking to the promise of the American Dream.
On a side note, in an interview with one of the millions of Akbar-on-the-street Muslims who watched Obama’s speech, one young man, no older than thirty, said this was the greatest speech by an American president since Kennedy’s “ich bin ein Berliner!” speech; and it occurred to me that this was a clear indictment of our educational system, for how many American high-school graduates would have a clue as to what this young Egyptian man was talking about?