Naivety or the Failure to Face Reality.

January 5, 2010


I worked for many years as a French-speaking travel guide, taking French tourists to Thailand, China, Singapore, India, Pakistan, and North Africa. We were always received by a local French-speaking guide. Often we would encounter other groups from other European countries, the United States, Japan, and India staying in the same hotels. In the evenings, the local guides from those groups would get together with us, and one of the favorite subjects of discussions was the national characteristic of the groups we were responsible for. It is extraordinary how the national stereotypes emerged over and over again: the Japanese were disciplined and polite but we never know what they really thought; the Germans were arrogant and authoritarian; the French were rude and obessesed with food; the Spanish were passionate and fiery. And the Americans? They were easy to handle and please, and incredibly naïve. One of the definitions of naïve is "overtrusting", and at we get the following: "having or showing a lack of experience, judgment, or information; credulous."

Faced with a formidable enemy- Radical Islam- the approach of the U.S. administration, the U.S. military, the F.B.I., and the Department of Homeland Security can only be called, at best, näive. How else would you characterise the fact that the Pentagon hired a Muslim who was in fact running an "influence operation" on behalf of U.S. Muslim groups fronting for the radical Muslim Brotherhood? And how about the National Counterterrorism Center's (NCTC) hiring of Yasir Qadhi as a de-radicalization expert? Qadhi has been on the on the terror watch list for years! Qadhi's Ilmquest media company had been selling more than a dozen audio CD sets by al-Qaeda cleric Awlaqi, even after the cleric had been tied to the Ft. Hood shootings. This is more than naïve, it is sick.

Then there is the jock-strap bomber, Abdulmutallab: does it make sense to go on calling him an "isolated terrorist"? As Martin Peretz in the New Republic put it, "I believe that it is Obama's perception of Abdulmutallab as an "isolated extremist" that is the real source of the intelligence calamity so dramatically revealed in this case. It is true, of course, that this dispiriting intelligence failure goes back to the Clinton and Bush years, even though Bush did almost uniquely grasp the very essence of the holy Muslim terror. But what the president has done is to wrap the Islamic orbit in a sweetly scented cashmere afghan (if you'll permit this ironic choice of words) that disguises the reality of the real Islam of this world. Obama has done this grandly several times, most especially with his addresses in Istanbul and Cairo, but also in his more quotidian remarks. The failure of the CIA and the other alphabet agencies to connect the dots is a methodological failure. The president's failure to grasp the realities is an ideological and psychological failure".