It was often said that if people in the West did this or did that, the terrorists would win. Those days are long gone. Although there have been a few such comments since the Christmas Day attempt to bring down Flight 253, they have been few and far between.
Perhaps this is recognition of the fact that the current administration and congress in Washington do not treat terrorists as enemies with whom a war is ongoing. It could also be that this “war” is easy to forget; although the militaries of the United States and its allies are engaged in fighting, it is easy for everyone else to simply ignore what is taking place.
In the above context it was somewhat surprising to see David McCaig, the head of the Association of Canadian Travel Agents, being quoted in the media as saying last week that the terrorists were winning.
McCaig was particularly referring to the use of full body scanners and searches where passengers are patted down all over their bodies except in the crotch area where Umar Farouk Abdulmatallab kept his explosives.
It will be years until this war ends, if in fact it ever ends, but looking at its progress during the last 12 months in terms of winning and losing battles, it is easy to conclude that the Islamic fundamentalists had a hell of a good year.
The terrorists won when Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. While John McCain seemed more concerned with reaching across the aisle to Democrats than enacting policies that would appeal to more conservative voters there is no doubt that he would have prosecuted the war more seriously than the Obama administration is doing. Obama ran on a platform of hope and change. Once elected, he “hoped” that the Islamic fundamentalists would “change” and not attack a country who was led by a nice guy like him. Obama was of course wrong.
The terrorists won when Obama’s first announcement as president was that he was going to close Guantanamo Bay within a year. The terrorists, as everyone else did, realized that he made the decision without deciding what to do with the detainees that were being housed in Cuba.
The terrorists won when the administration stopped using the term “war on terror” and began to refer to it with cutesy phrases such as “man made disasters”.
The terrorists won when Janet Napolitano, who had no expertise in security, was made Secretary of Homeland Security.
The terrorists won when Eric Holder was appointed as Attorney General. Holder had practiced law with a firm that defended some of the Guantanamo detainees.
The terrorists won when Obama travelled around the world and apologized for all the problems that were caused by the United States. This was especially true of his Cairo speech where he made it clear that Muslims, who are not a threat to the West, were much more worthy of priority than the jihadists who seek destruction.
The terrorists won when Barack Obama dithered and dawdled and seemed not to care about how many, if any, more troops should be sent to Afghanistan.
The terrorists won after Adulmatallab’s attempt to blow up Flight 253 when Barack Obama decided to stay on vacation in Hawaii. Even though the president could do everything from Hawaii that he could have done from Washington, it gave the perception that Obama is a weak leader who didn’t take terrorist attacks seriously.
The terrorists won when Obama’s first comment from his sunny vacation paradise was that the carefully planned attack was “an isolated incident”.
The terrorists won when Secretary Napolitano went on television the following Sunday and stated that “the system works”.
The terrorists won when the TSA came up with comical solutions to protect airline passengers. They could not be told or shown where the plane was during their trip and for the last hour would have to remain in their seats during the last hour with nothing on their laps, save their neatly folded hands.
The terrorists won when the American media heaped praise upon the president for being so brave as to actually use the word “war” in public.
One thing was clear; when Barack Obama returned from his Hawaiian vacation, he was scared.
Unlike some U.S. senators he can’t bribe the Islamic fundamentalists with stimulus slush funds. Nor can he bully the attackers like he tries to do with Israel; nor can he simply ignore the terrorists as he does with the student uprisings in Iran.
Obama may have finally realized that the fundamentalists are a threat not just to the United States but to his legacy. All he could do was blame everyone else while throwing out the line that “the buck stops here”, knowing that the sycophantic media would praise his leadership skills.
Like it or not, the terrorists are winning. And they probably had a few good laughs along the way.