COLUMN: U.S. terror policy: ‘Catch and release’?

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One day after the attack on Paris, an incident occurred that is the perfect metaphor to describe U.S. policy on Islamic terrorism.

It turns out that Salah Abdelsam, believed to be one of the jihadis behind the terror attack in Paris on Nov. 13, was stopped by French police while making his escape from Paris to Belgium. He showed his Belgian ID card and was allowed to go on his way. By the time, detectives realized that Abdelsam was implicated in the murder of dozens of innocents, he was gone.

So how is this a metaphor?

First of all, it is a symbol of the absurdity of “vetting” the Muslim refugees currently flooding Europe, and whom President Obama is intent on delivering to the heartland of America.

“Got ID?” is not sufficient proof of anything. It’s been known for months that ISIS controls a large swath of Syria and has captured the public buildings where passports and other official documents were previously created and validated by the Syrian government. Now, those passports are being created and validated by ISIS. Until further notice, therefore, a Syrian passport is worth about as much as a Nigerian inheritance (scam alert!).

Of course, the question of why you would even want to bring these Syrian refugees to America when so many of them hate us is something I cannot answer. For that, perhaps we need to appeal directly to the Department of Homeland Insecurity. Presumably, they know that ISIS has bragged about shipping jihadis into the West disguised as refugees, but all we hear from Director Jeh Johnson is that “tight-knit, supportive communities” will “embrace” the refugees when they arrive in America. Maybe we need to rename it the Department of Homeland Insanity.

Secondly, let’s consider the symbolism of terrorists who are in custody one minute, and then not in custody the next. It is no surprise that the Obama administration has not taken the French to task for letting Salah Abdelsam slip through their fingers. After all, President Obama has made it his life’s mission to shut down Guantanamo and mainstream Islamic terrorists back into society.

Whether it was the five Taliban battlefield commanders who were exchanged for the American traitor Bowe Bergdahl, or the hundreds of former Gitmo detainees who have been “transferred” elsewhere, the idea of “catch and release” ought to be trademarked by the Obama administration as the official slogan for its terrorism policy.

You don’t have to take my word for it. James Clapper, the director of national intelligence for President Obama, released a report in March of this year that showed that 116 out of 647 of the “transferred” prisoners had “re-engaged” in terrorism or insurgent activities. Another 69 were suspected of “re-engaging, which means at least 25 percent of the freed Gitmo detainees were back on the street trying to kill Americans.

As Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser, so aptly said about shutting down Guantanamo: “I can’t say with certainty that we’re 100 percent going to get there, but I can tell you we’re going to die trying.”

Sadly, lots of other people are probably going to die thanks to their efforts also. And despite the best efforts of Rice, Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to be sympathetic to the plight of Muslim terrorists, it is worth noting that ISIS last week issued a warning that “The White House will turn black with our fire, Allah willing.”

The third, and perhaps most worrisome, symbolic aspect of the failure to hold on to Salah Abdelsam is that it reflects the failure to take the threat of Islamic terrorism seriously. It seems inevitable that the detectives holding Abdelsam were weighing the threat to their own careers if they were accused of racial profiling for suspecting that a Muslim male in his 20s might be a terrorist.

The president and his team are certainly doing everything in their power to shame Republicans and a few Democrats who want to fight back against the terrorist threat by restricting Muslim refugees from entering our country wholesale. The president characterized that common-sense approach as being afraid of “widows and orphans,” although anyone who has watched the streams of “refugees” pouring into Europe knows that they are predominantly Muslim males in their 20s — just like Salah Abdelsam.

The message from the White House is that we have nothing to fear but Republicans. In fact, John Kerry even went so far the other day as to suggest he was sympathetic to the Muslim terrorists who slaughtered the staff at Charlie Hebdo in January. Comparing that attack with the Paris attacks of November, Kerry suggested the satiric magazine’s staff might have been “asking for it” by publishing cartoons of Muhammad.   

“There was a sort of particularized focus and perhaps even a legitimacy in terms of — not a legitimacy, but a rationale that you could attach yourself to somehow and say, ‘OK, they’re really angry because of this and that.”

As if “this and that” could provide any justification, any rationale, any legitimacy for the murder of 12 people.

Please tell me that John Kerry does not speak for the United States of America! Too scary...

But wait! A light bulb dawned in Kerry’s brain just after trying to justify the Charlie Hebdo massacre. He finally figured out the truth about radical Islam’s war against the West, and said of the attacks in Paris last week: “It wasn’t to aggrieve one particular sense of wrong. It was to terrorize people. It was to attack everything that we do stand for.”

Saints be praised! It took quite a few years, but Kerry finally stumbled on the truth. The Islamic terrorists are not killing people because of anything they did, or anything that France did, or anything that the United States did, or anything that George Bush did, or even anything that Barack Obama did. They are killing people to terrorize other people, and they are doing it because they want to “attack everything that we... stand for.”

Secretaries of state say the darndest things, don’t they?

  • Frank Miele is managing editor of the Daily Inter Lake. If you don’t like his opinion, stop by the office and he will gladly refund your two cents. E-mail responses may be sent to

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