FAMILY SECURITY MATTERS – By Lt. Colonel James Zumwalt, USMC (ret) – 15 August 18, 2011
Disorganized thinking is a symptom of schizophrenia. By this measure, US foreign policy decisions suggest Obama may be schizophrenic. Early symptoms appeared only six months into his term.
In June 2009, Honduran president Manuel Zelaya ordered a referendum be held to change the constitution to allow the president to serve more than a single four-year term. With his term ending in January 2010, he wished to retain power. He ordered a referendum without authority to do so, contrary to an earlier Supreme Court ruling it was unconstitutional—a ruling then codified by the Honduran Congress. Both the judicial and legislative branches of government checked an attempted abuse of power by the executive branch. Ignoring both, Zelaya ordered it be held.
The morning of the referendum, Honduran military troops—on orders from the Supreme Court—entered the presidential palace, disarmed guards, awoke the president, put him on a plane to Costa Rica and established an interim government. The military fully complied with the Honduran constitution—written with US assistance. But to Obama, the sight of soldiers climbing the gates of the presidential palace smacked of a coup. He immediately cut off financial assistance, issuing a statement urging Zelaya’s return to office—thus siding with a democratically-elected president transitioning to dictatorship himself—Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. Such action represented disorganized thinking by Obama.
Also in June, Iran held a presidential election, the results of which were decided, not by the people, but the country’s head cleric. Disgruntled voters took to the streets, massive demonstrations followed and peaceful demonstrators were murdered for opposing their government’s election theft. Obama, who had been quick to wrongly accuse the Honduran government of acting unconstitutionally, remained silent as an Iranian government clearly acted unconstitutionally. Obama’s inaction represented disorganized thinking.
More recently, we still see Obama taking very different positions in very similar situations.
When the Arab Spring hit Libya in February 2011 and heavy civilian casualties were inflicted by Muammar Gaddafi’s forces, it took four weeks for Obama to encourage the despot to step down. On March 19, US and allied airstrikes were launched against Libya after a UN Security Council resolution to protect civilians passed. US participation in the attacks against Gaddafi was taken without knowledge as to whether the opposition there fights for democracy or Islamism.
Days before Obama took to the air against Libya, the Arab Spring also hit Syria. Peaceful demonstrations were met with brutal repression as President Bashar Assad showed no quarter. A week later, the UN urged restraint by Assad while Obama said nothing. Civilian casualties mounted. Syrian soldiers refusing to fire on unarmed civilians were executed by Assad’s security forces—who then began targeting mourners at funerals held for opposition victims. Syrian intellectuals went into hiding; some army units began defecting. Assad’s ally, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, began sending covert forces into Syria to bolster its Syrian puppet. A young Syrian boy, tortured by security forces, was found dead. Through all this, Obama remained silent, refusing to assist opposition forces to a government which—should it fall—would deal a blow to Iran’s plans to impose its will over the region.
Taking military action against Libya—where US security interests are unknown—while failing to take it against Syria—where US security interests are known—is yet another sign of Obama’s disorganized thinking.
Unfortunately, more signs exist.
Of the two groups mentioned below, Obama acts to embrace one while, by inaction, he paves the way for the other’s elimination despite a legal obligation to prevent it.
An Islamist organization known as the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) has left little doubt its purpose today is to destroy the US. Its strategy to do this—by using our way of life against us to impose its way of life upon us—was revealed when documents were discovered in a concealed sub-basement of a suspected terrorist’s Northern Virginia home in 2004. An MB member, the suspect was in the forefront of the organization’s effort to impose shariah law on the US.
The MB bylaws dictate the process of imposing sharia law in the US begins with using every “means” possible to establish educational, social, economic and scientific institutions as well as mosques, schools, clinics, shelter, clubs, as a basis for waging “civilization jihad.” Under shariah, this term means a “pre-violent” form of jihad that opens the door for the eventual violent jihad to follow. Knowing it must downplay violent jihad to open the door for pre-violent jihad, the MB publicly disavows violence. But via shariah “creep,” MB seeks to transition, eventually, from pre-violent to violent jihad within the US.
Ignoring MB’s violent history since its 1928 founding, its secretly declared violent intentions for our future, its linkage to violent terrorist groups such as Hamas in Gaza and an offshoot group, the Egyptian Islamic Jihad responsible for Egyptian President Anwar Sadat’s assassination in 1981, Obama acknowledged earlier this year he was engaged in secret talks with MB—effectively embracing a terrorist organization. Such an announcement conjures up the image of a victim on a guillotine embracing his executioner before his life violently ends. Unlike Obama, the guillotine victim at least knows the fate awaiting him.
As Obama embraces MB, he turns a blind eye to another group—the MEK—members of an Iranian opposition organization providing an opportunity to challenge Tehran’s mullahs. At a time MEK should be empowered to do so, it struggles for survival in Iraq because the US has abandoned them.
Residing in Iraq at Camp Ashraf since 1988 at the invitation of Saddam Hussein, MEK conducted attacks against Iran’s Islamist forces. But when President Clinton sought to establish better relations with Iran in 1997, he placed MEK on the Foreign Terrorist Organization (PTO) list—an action followed by the UK and EU. MEK renounced violence in 2001, surrendering without opposition to US forces during the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Disarmed, MEK fell into a “protected persons” status. Under the Geneva Conventions, the US—as an occupying force—became responsible for protecting MEK members confined at Camp Ashraf.
With a fading role in Iraq, Washington has chosen to ignore its legal obligation to protect MEK. Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, pressured by Tehran, has ordered attacks against Ashraf’s unarmed residents, senselessly killing dozens. Meanwhile, Obama does nothing.
Because MEK has renounced violence and provided invaluable intelligence on Iran’s nuclear arms program, the UK and EU delisted the group as an FTO. Even though ordered by a US federal court to re-visit the de-listing issue, Obama—again exercising disorganized thinking—has yet to do so.
It is time to take Obama to task on his dangerous efforts to make friends at any cost with Islamic extremists harboring an intense hatred for our way of life—one they ultimately seek to deny us. With such a schizophrenic US president in office, Islamists must believe their prayers to Allah have been answered.
Family Security Matters Contributing Editor Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (ret) is a retired Marine infantry officer who served in the Vietnam War, the US invasion of Panama and the first Gulf war. He is the author of “Bare Feet, Iron Will–Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam’s Battlefields” and frequently writes on foreign policy and defense issues.