On Second Thought

Despite the many positive aspects in the President’s speech at the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony, a nagging question refuses to be put aside albeit difficult to put one’s finger on.

While the President’s rhetoric regarding his stopping “torture” and closing Gitmo are repetitive to the point of expectation there was something else.  The rhetoric addressing just war, defending the nation and evil in the world was a dramatic change in tone. It is easily written off to the realities of the job, embracing the assumption that intelligent men must, at some point in time, face realities that don’t fit ideology.  Such is the fate, of every President to some degree.

Add to the Presidents comments the major recent change in tone from Homeland Security.  They seem to have replaced the “scared of vets coming home” with the homegrown terror threat as the true nexus of the threats that exist.  That nagging question begins to nag a bit more. 

Based on the diametric change in rhetoric and that nagging question one wonders if the President has been confronted with the likelihood of serious threats and was delivering specific messages or creating a point of context for what he anticipates he may have to do in the near future.  Two critical issues are likely hitting the President’s desk on a daily basis.

The history of the reporting could easily lead to an opinion that Jihadist influences in the U.S. both legally and illegally are significant and trace back over a number of years.  Ongoing exposés related to the strategies and tactics of American Islamic groups such as the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR), The ISNA, Islamic Society of North America and the MSA, Muslim Students Association, among others, are potentially frightening when you pay attention.  The demonstrated connections between these groups and to the Muslim Brotherhood double down on that concern.  Politically correct apologists in Congress for these groups will easily fill a good size meeting room.

The reporting related to Jihadists groups connecting themselves to South and Central American drug lords has also been persistent.  As have reporting of connections to Hiz’bAllah and Hamas by way of Iran.

Independent security analysts of serious weight have opined that the next attack on American interests may not be far in the future.  A Chicago man is under suspicion for participation in the Mumbai attacks.  Five Americans arrested in Pakistan for seeking Jihad, the missing Somalis. Security incident on an Air Tran flight that is still a bit cloudy on verified detains but could have been a “dry run” to test security, crew and passenger responses to a 9/11 style plane take over.  There is, of course, Fort Hood and the shoot out in Detroit with a Radical American Imam, all recent, all dramatic.  

There are reports of Jihadist intentions to smuggle bio-weapons into the U.S. by way of Mexican tunnels (Washington Times June 6, 2009).  39 “camps” run by Muslims in America that serve, to be kind, questionable goals and may in fact be Jihadist training camps on home soil.  Those camps are associated with a radical Pakistani terror group leader, one camp even named a street after him.  There are literally hundreds of reports that represent either direct threats or the significant possibility that infrastructure for threats are being put in place.  This year The US intelligence community warned of the threat of terrorist attack against the United States as Al-Qaeda improves its ability to identify, train and position operatives for such operations. In their annual threat assessment, US intelligence reported that it had detected an influx of new western recruits to Al-Qaeda safe havens in Pakistan’s federally administrative tribal areas.

“Al-Qaeda is improving the last key aspect of its ability to attack the US- the identification, training, and positioning of operatives for an attack in the Homeland,” the report said.

Secondly there is Iran.  Engagement with Iran has come to nothing.  Iran continues to play for time and demonstrates no material change in their position.  No sooner had the President delivered his Nobel speech than the Iranians declared that (sic) “well, there might be a little something we can talk about”.  This is the repetitive pattern of their engagement over the past six years, creep up to a red line and then offer to “talk a little”.  It has come to nothing, other than the space and time to get to where they want to go.   It is possible that the President is aware of information that has led him closer to the Israeli view of when the threat red line in likely to be crossed and Iran has a functional nuclear device.

A new report from ISIS, December 14th 2009, indicates that Iran has been working on a neutron initiator.  That’s the part of a nuclear weapon that makes the radioactive explosive core go boom!  ISIS reports that there is no civilian use for this manner of research and development.  ISIS is uniformly conservative in expressing opinions regarding the research and analysis they do but even ISIS says that this “could” be the smoking gun related to the Iranian intention to deploy a nuclear weapon. (No pun intended).  It’s safe to assume the President knows this and the intelligence community is revisiting their opinion that all of this activity likely stopped in 2003.  (See National Intelligence Estimate, December 2007)  

The President may have been saying to one and all that if nothing else works with Iran we’ll do what we have to do militarily as the only remaining option.  That is a decision no one in their right mind would envy the President as the full range of consequences are difficult to envision.    

It is hard to reconcile the Presidents speech in any context other than the potential for impending action may soon be upon him.  To spend so much time discussing “just war”, his responsibilities as Commander in Chief, and the dangers of extremism are simply not places he goes frequently or in all likelihood, willingly.  There has to be a reason!