“And what, according to the Obama administration, stokes the fires of extremism? It isn’t the supremacist exhortations of Islamist ideology. Rather, it is longstanding political and economic “grievances,” according to Mr. Brennan the Obama counter-terrorism chief, such as “when young people have no hope for a job,” “when governments fail to provide for the basic needs of the people,” and when the Palestinian-Israeli conflict remains unresolved. President Obama, Mr. Brennan has said, thinks America should be “addressing the political, economic and social forces that can make people fall victim to the cancer of violent extremism.” Mr. Brennan has also noted that the president is “concerned with how the United States was viewed in the world and how these attitudes were fueling the flames of hatred and violence.”
Thus the way to defeat the terrorists, according to President Obama, isn’t to counter extremist Islamist ideology but to focus on how the United States, through its actions and delinquencies—its supposed excessive support for Israel, for example, and failure to provide more economic aid—is to blame for the hatred that spawns terrorism.
White House senior director for the National Security Council Samantha Power wrote some years ago, while a Harvard University lecturer, that America should adopt a foreign-policy “doctrine of mea culpa.” This is the frame of mind that President Obama brought to his famous June 2009 Cairo speech in which he suggested that tensions between America and the world’s Muslims are largely America’s fault. It was in that speech that President Obama asserted: “Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism.” Douglas J. Feith
Mr. Feith was undersecretary of defense in the George W. Bush administration and is a Hudson Institute senior fellow.