SFS Board of DirectorsMeet our expert
J.D. Gordon: Radical Islamists, Not Just ISIS, are the Problem
Instead of focusing solely on the Islamic State (ISIS), President Barack Obama needs to address the overarching problem: radical Islamists, former Defense Department spokesman J.D. Gordon said Tuesday on Newsmax TV’s “America’s Forum.”
“My central criticism is that he’s working on the wrong problem, or half the problem,” said Gordon. “It’s basically like the president was operating on a cancer patient with a team of doctors. Imagine if they only took out the largest malignant tumor and they ignored the other ones and they ignored the patient as he smoked three packs a day. That’s what’s happening. So in order to defeat ISIS and other groups that will come in their place after they’re gone, we’ve got to go for that radical Islam and that comes in putting pressure on Saudi Arabia.”Joined by former CIA analyst and LIGNET founder Fred Fleitz, the men agreed that the president has disclosed too much about U.S. strategy, perhaps to make up for heavy criticism after first announcing the U.S. didn’t have a strategy to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS).
Gordon said airstrikes — which Obama revealed in his address to the nation last week — are a “step in the right direction,” but it will take years to defeat ISIS, or the next iteration, militarily.
“You can name any type of group that will succeed ISIS,” Gordon said. “Yesterday it was al-Qaida, the day before it was the Taliban. We’ve had a hit parade of these radical Islamist groups that have attacked us under every single president since Jimmy Carter. If you go through the timeline with the Iranian, our embassies being taken over in Tehran by the Iranian revolutionaries, the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, up through George H. W. Bush when he was president-elect we had Pan Am Flight 103 explode over Lockerbie, Scotland. Bill Clinton had a whole series of them, President Bush had 9/11. So it’s just a detail.
“If you’re looking at taking out ISIS militarily, that’s good and that’s a good start but we have to focus on stopping radical Islamists being exported by Saudi Arabia and Iran and the Gulf states. That’s really the key here.”
In order to marginalize ISIS and others like it, the administration needs to pressure Middle Eastern officials and clerics to denounce them publicly and often, according to Gordon.
“The president said the other night that ISIS is not Islamic,” said Gordon. “Well, maybe that’s the case. However, coming from him as the American president, it’s meaningless.
He ought to be pressuring the leaders of Saudi Arabia, the leaders of Qatar, Kuwait, UAE, and Iran, and also, western leaders in Europe ought to be pressuring them to say that. If we get undermined, ISIS’s legitimacy and if there’s no perception that Mecca’s behind them, then they’re just another gang of thugs like MS-13, the Bloods, the Crisps, Neo Nazis. That’s what they have to do. Pressure the government of Saudi Arabia so they fear for their regime. If, God forbid, we have another 9/11 here, the king of Saudi Arabia ought to be fearing for his regime. Right now, he doesn’t. So they have to stop exporting this radical Islam. It’s like cutting poison ivy. It just grows back. You have to tear out the roots.”
The administration is not squaring with the American people about the real and present danger of terrorism along the porous southern border, according to Fleitz.
“I’m afraid that this administration is constantly in denial about the threat from Islamic terrorism and the threats from the border,” he said. “I mean if we don’t admit the threat, we’re not going to be able to combat it and we know that al-Qaida franchises have tried every avenue since 9/11 to come after us through radicalizing over the Internet, to package bombs, the underwear bomber, and there’s no doubt they’re going to use the U.S. southern border. The Obama administration has to own up to that, admit it to the American people, and take steps to defend us against possible terrorist threats through that border.”
Obama and officials in his administration suppress information that makes them “look bad politically,” Gordon said. Fleitz agreed, offering as an example the fabricated explanation that an anti-Muslim video was the impetus for “spontaneous attacks” on two U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012, killing the U.S. ambassador and two CIA contractors. It was later revealed the attacks were premeditated by Islamic militants.
Politicizing national security is ill advised, according to Fleitz.
“We saw how Benghazi was spinned by the administration before the 2012 election, so it wouldn’t hurt the president’s re-election chances by saying the attack on the consulate was a result of a protest over a video rather than a terrorist attack,” Fleitz said. “And we’ve seen the same thing in the way the president has played down the threat from ISIS and said earlier this year it was a JV terrorist team. As I said early, if we can’t admit the threat that we’re up against, how are we going to defeat it?”