Conor Friedersdorf posts an excerpt from this remarkable interview Kathryn Jean Lopez conducts with Andy McCarthy about the thesis of his book, which is about how "How Islam and the Left Sabotage America."
LOPEZ: Has the Obama administration done anything right? Has anything pleasantly surprised you?
McCARTHY: Yes. The military attacks on al-Qaeda havens overseas have been very good. There are things with which to quibble. For example, it doesn’t make sense to ramp up troop levels while simultaneously announcing that you’re going to leave. I still disagree fundamentally with the nation-building exercise for the reasons laid out in the book (and often on NRO), but in that regard the administration is essentially continuing the Bush policy. And the administration, particularly by the irresponsible campaign rhetoric of Obama and Eric Holder and other spokesmen, has made it unduly difficult to detain war prisoners.
Marc Theissen and others are right to worry that we are killing people we could be capturing and interrogating — denying ourselves the intel that would improve the effectiveness of our combat operations. But those are quibbles. I said during the campaign that I thought Obama’s position — namely, his promise to attack al-Qaeda safe havens even in Pakistan — was considerably superior to that of McCain (who foolishly regarded Pakistan as a great ally and tried to paint Obama as reckless). My only hesitation was that I believed Obama wasn’t serious — I thought he was just engaging in campaign rhetoric to make himself look stronger and that he’d never actually follow through. He’s proven me wrong on that one, and I’m glad of it.
Of course, the “Why is he doing it?” is the intriguing part. Some of the explanation is domestic politics. But the interesting part goes to the heart of what I’m talking about in the book.
These days, the vibrant debate in Islamist circles — the circles Obama has courted assiduously — is over whether al-Qaeda has outlived its usefulness, at least when it comes to attacking our homeland. Many Islamist thinkers believe the Islamist movement is making such progress marching through our institutions (and Europe’s) that terrorist attacks at this point are a tactical blunder. They cause a blowback effect that retards the progress of what Robert Spencer aptly calls the “stealth jihad.”
So just a few months ago McCarthy was arguing that Obama and his administration are sympathetic to al-Qaeda because they have preserved the Bush administration's two-tier justice system for trying terror suspects, and because attorneys who represented detainees are now in the Justice Department. Now he's acknowledging that the administration has been aggressive in attempting to destroy al-Qaeda, but that's only because by destroying al-Qaeda, he's secretly doing the bidding of the Muslim Brotherhood.
This doesn't just not make sense. It's stupid.
-- A. Serwer
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