Commentary: Obama needs to get serious on War on Terror |

Commentary: Obama needs to get serious on War on Terror

“We are at war against al-Qaeda,” President Obama finally admitted on Thursday. What took him so long?

Although the Obama administration continues to refer to the War on Terror as “overseas contingency operations” (whatever that means), a deadly suicide bombing in Afghanistan and an attempt to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day demonstrate that we’re in an all-out war against international


The U.S. and its allies need to start profiling young Muslim males at major airports after a 23-year-old militant Muslim from Nigeria tried to blow up that Detroit-bound plane. Obama’s initial reaction was slow and disappointing. He waited three days to speak publicly following Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s absurd statement that “the system worked” in the airliner case. No it didn’t and everyone knows it, even Obama and Ms. Napolitano, who should be fired.

“The reason the country is uneasy about the Obama administration’s response to this (Detroit) attack is a distinct sense of not just incompetence, but incomprehension,” wrote conservative columnist/psychiatrist Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post. “President Obama has relentlessly tried to play down and deny the nature of the terrorist threat we continue to face. … Hence, Guantanamo will close, CIA interrogators will face a special prosecutor and Khalid Sheik Mohammed (the 9/11 mastermind) will bask in a civilian trial in New York.”

Enough already! It’s time for the Obama administration to get serious about the War on Terror.

I thought it was a mistake when the previous Republican administration created a top-heavy Homeland Security Department after 9/11 in a dubious effort to improve anti-terrorist intelligence operations. By now it’s apparent that the bureaucratic reorganization hasn’t worked. As Doyle McManus wrote in the Los Angeles Times last week, “Eight years after 9/11, U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies are still a collection of competing entities that often cooperate but sometimes conflict.” All too often federal agencies fail to cooperate because they’re too busy fighting bureaucratic turf wars in Washington, D.C., and abroad.

As a retired three-star general noted recently, “While I know that all Muslims are not jihadists (i.e. terrorists), I also know that all jihadists are Muslims. We need a responsible public debate about the absurdity of political correctness in this context.”

Yes, but while we’re debating, President Obama should defy the ACLU and order the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) to profile young Muslim males.

Frankly, I think the president should worry more about protecting our nation from terrorist attacks and less about protecting the jihadists’ alleged “rights.” After all, this is war, not a routine law enforcement problem.

• Guy W. Farmer, a semi-retired journalist and former U.S. diplomat, resides in Carson City.