Georgene Rice interviews Seth Leibsohn, the founder and Executive Director of Americans for Victory Over Terrorism. He is co-author along with William Bennett of The Fight of Our Lives, knowing the enemy, speaking the truth and choosing to win the war against radical Islam. An unwillingness to recognize Jihadists aims has lead to bloodshed at home. In the case of the Ft. Hood shootings, they make the point that army chief of staff worried more about diversity than he did about the killings.
Georgene: This book is timely in that some may believe that the death of Osama Bin Laden represents a major transition. What is your perspective on its impact on the war on terror?
Seth: We don’t know just yet. A lot of us hope the seriousness of President Obama in executing the killing OBL will be a new seriousness of this Administration. We know from the study of terrorism, that the death of a charismatic leader will not end the terrorism. I expect we’ll see a cycle of terrorist activity from Al-Qaeda that will show they are still relevant. Soon after his killing there were a couple of incidents but I don’t know how serious the Administration took those actions.
Georgene: You begin the book with Ft. Hood and the crisis of will. It is a textbook example of what this book details. Tell us about the lack of seriousness prior to the event and how it was handled once the shootings took place. It is very telling how this individual was treated by the military leading up to the tragic shootings.
Seth: There is so much to learn from that one example. He was an American born Muslim, trained and educated here. Came up through the ranks of the armed services where he was given even more training and rose to the rank of Army Major. He gave lectures on his intentions and views on American foreign policy and radical Islam. So much so, that, short of having his own radio show I don’t know that he could have made his views any more clear. He spoke of pouring oil down the throats of infidels. He said it was a crime for Muslims to engage on behalf of the U.S. military in places like Iraq. He handed out cards, that did not advertise that he was a member of the U.S. armed services but that he was a soldier of Allah.
A few people reported these things, but not enough. They knew that if they reported him they would be putting their own career, rather than his career, on the line. The reason he was passed along, ultimately to Ft. Hood. His superiors didn’t take the few signals that they got from their colleagues we learn about after the massacre. A few days after the incident the Army Chief of Staff said that as horrific as this incident was, if we lost our diversity, that would be worse. That tells us he cares more about political correct cultural notions of diversity than the forced protection of American lives.
In the Pentagon’s after-action report that they were not taking it seriously. The long report talked about everything that happened except terrorism, radical Islam. They called Nidal Hasan a gunman. They did not refer to his religion. One of the conclusions of the report was that we needed more and better health care workers. Nidal Hasan was a health care worker. He was a physician.
Georgene: One would assume that an event like that would have been a serious wake-up call that we must do a better job of making sure that the men and women who bear the uniforms of the U.S. military reflect the oath that they take. It’s shocking and its disappointing. It certainly demonstrates a crisis of will.
Seth: It wasn’t taken seriously before and it wasn’t taken seriously after and I’m afraid we are going to see it happen again. Now that Bin Laden is death the threat is not over, as I said before we are still getting threats from terrorist groups daily. We are seeing home-grown terrorists and collusions across the globe between terrorist organizations and terrorist-sponsored states—Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Egypt’s new alliance with Iran. Iran yet remains the most dangerous country in the world.
Georgene: How did we get here?
Seth: We’ve never had a very good definition of the terrorist threat against us. We’ve never, as a country, been very willing to talk about what the real intention and threat is. It’s from radical Islam. It’s a toxic ideology that wants American and Americans dead. There is nothing we can do to pacify them. Too many administrations have thought that we could appease them. Appeasement does not stop terrorism. It increases it. President tried this, starting in 2009, with a major speech in Egypt and several interviews throughout the middle east, and ceasing to use the terms “war on terror”, “terrorism” and “radical Islam”. By the end of 2009, there were terrorist attempts in the United States than in all the years since 2001 put together.
Georgene: You state that journalists have missed the point, and that has been costly in this war against terror.
Seth: They have missed the point because an awful lot of people would be interested in learning about the threats to their country. The journalists for the most part have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear. They do not want to write about or depict what it is that attack us and they bury the attacks. Do people know that two months ago there was a radical Islam assassination attempt against former President G.W. Bush in Texas? Do people know there was a terrorist attack against two U.S. airmen in Germany?
What journalists have done instead is find Muslims that they think are moderate and promote them. Perhaps the number one target of the U.S. military right now is Anwar al-Awlaki, head of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. He was the go-to guy for the mainstream media right after 9-11. He was in and out of NPR. He was giving interviews all over the place. This was the guy that they deemed moderate. We saw this again with the Ground Zero Mosque.
Georgene: I don’t think people realize what is at stake.
Seth: Nothing short of the entire country. Nothing short of the state of Israel. We are learning from the trove that we recovered from Bin Laden that there were active attempts and efforts to cause as much damage as possible in the United States of America. Let me give you a quote from Anwar al-Awlaki from just three months ago. He said, “Our highest priority is the U.S. Anything there. Anything we can do. Better than the U.K. That’s our choice”.
We know they are trying to get weapons of mass destruction. The leading terrorist-sponsoring state in the world, Iran, is moving fast-forward to getting a nuclear weapon. I think we are going to be in for a big surprise.
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