Sunday, 03 Apr 2011 05:09 PM
By Henry J. Reske and Kathleen Walter
Bennett, co-author of a new book on Muslim extremism entitled “The Fight of Our Lives,” contends that Obama’s strategy against radical Islam is confused and hesitant — contrasted with President Ronald Reagan’s clear and firm strategy against communism.
“The main responsibility of the president of the United States is to keep the country safe and to identify the threats we have and make plain to the citizenry what we must do to protect ourselves,” Bennett said. “There’s been a failure of this administration to describe the nature of this threat . . . There’s a reluctance to talk about Islamic extremism.
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“This is due to an unnecessary sensitivity to people’s religious sensitivities. We understand that Islam is a religion, a legitimate religion. Most American Muslims are loyal to America, but there is a problem with radical Islam and it needs to be stated plainly and simply.”
Bennett, who was education secretary under Reagan and drug czar for President George H.W. Bush, hosts “Bill Bennett’s Morning in America.” He co-authored the new book with Seth Leibsohn, the producer of Bennett’s nationally syndicated radio show.
There is a clear contrast between Reagan and Obama when it comes to dealing with their respective threats to the United States: communism and radical Islam, Bennett said.
“Reagan was clear and direct and, as he said, his strategy was, ‘We win,’” Bennett said. “Barack Obama’s strategy seems to be so far, we’ll muddle through, we’ll dither, we’ll maybe do the right thing occasionally but maybe too late and we want to be sure no one thinks that we think we’re anything special. I prefer the Reagan approach.”
Obama’s actions in Libya are typical of the bewildering message the administration has sent to the Middle East, where the United States has gone into eight countries in the past 20 years with the sole purpose of liberating Muslims, Bennett said.
“We have been . . . the greatest force for the liberation, freedom of people of the Islamic faith the world has ever seen . . . We are frankly the salvation of many Muslims who are in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere and possibly, maybe, in Libya and who knows what other places. But I’m afraid that message is confused.”
The Obama administration’s reluctance to confront radical Islam publicly has been used against the country. Leibsohn cited the Fort Hood, Texas, shootings, where Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is alleged to have killed 13 and wounded dozens of others. Hasan spoke about “pouring hot oil down the throats of unbelievers . . . about killing infidels and no one wanted to say anything because they were afraid they would be called bigots or they would put at risk their careers,” Leibsohn said.
Bennett also commented on the mirror-image hearings on American Muslims that recently took place in the House and the Senate. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., convened a hearing to look at the radicalization of American Muslims, while Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., called one on protecting the civil rights of American Muslims.
“It’s perfectly fine for both of them to have hearings, but you’re not going to hear the charges of McCarthyism made against Dick Durbin as they were made against Peter King,” he said. “Peter King is exactly right to talk about the question of the attempt to radicalize American Muslim youth.
“Right now in the world at large, three of the major leaders of al-Qaida in the world were either born or raised in the United States of America, that’s a frightening thing to hear. But we nurtured three leaders of al-Qaida international.”
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