President Obama unloaded on Donald Trump and other Republicans for criticizing his refusal to label America’s enemy as “radical Islam,” saying that changing the term wouldn’t change anything other than giving more fuel to the propaganda from ISIS and other terrorist groups that the West really is at war with Islam.
But a top Trump foreign-policy adviser says Obama has it exactly backward. He insists that identifying the enemy creates clarity to the public and America’s allies, and not creating distinctions actually risks the alienation of all Muslims.
On Tuesday, Obama made comments following his latest briefing in the wake of the horrific Orlando terrorist attack that left 49 dead and another 53 wounded. At the end of his comments, Obama unloaded on Trump and others who demand that Obama admit who America is fighting.
“What exactly would using this label accomplish?” Obama asked. “What exactly would it change? Would it make ISIL less committed to trying to kill Americans? Would it bring in more allies? Would it bring in a military strategy that is served by this? The answer is none of the above.”
Walid Phares is a top foreign-policy adviser to Trump. He’s also a longtime terrorism and Middle East scholar and author most recently of “The Lost Spring.” He told WND and Radio America Obama got it entirely wrong.
“The president’s statement is counter-productive to our counter-intelligence activity,” Phares said.
“Our analysts, at least since 2009, have been denied the perception that there is an ideology,” he explained. “They can use information about a specific jihadist ideology precisely because of what the president has said today. Therefore, we are missing an opportunity to detect a manifestation of that ideology which would allow us to stop the terrorists before they act.”