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Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Counter-Terror Adviser Brennan Changes Stance on Jihad, Now Says It CAN Be Violent

In a meeting with the Washington Times Editorial Board, White House Counter-Terror Adviser John Brennan was forced to contradict his contention that Jihad had nothing to with violence and immediately stormed out of the office.

Brennan caused a stir at the end of May when he told the Center for Strategic and International Studies that we should not describe the terrorists in religious terms.  During his speech Brennan described violent extremists as victims of "political, economic and social forces," but said that those plotting attacks on the United States should not be described in "religious terms."
He repeated the administration argument that the enemy is not "terrorism," because terrorism is a "tactic," and not terror, because terror is a "state of mind" -- though Brennan's title, deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism and homeland security, includes the word "terrorism" in it. But then Brennan said that the word "jihad" should not be applied either.

"Nor do we describe our enemy as 'jihadists' or 'Islamists' because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one's community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children," Brennan said.
Brennan was ignoring the fact that to Muslims there are two types of Jihad,  Jihad Akbar (greater) and Jihad Asghar (lesser). Jihad Akbar meaning Jihad against human desires while Jihad Asghar the struggle against the disbelievers on the battlefield.

The Washington Times wrote an editorial about the speech, criticizing Brennan for his description of Jihad and for describing terrorists as victims. Brennan called for a meeting with the Wash. Times Editorial Board to discuss the editorial about his speech.

After discussing the semantics of Brennan's "victim statement" the group started to discuss his Jihad remark.

TWT: You mentioned jihad, for example, and would you agree with the lesser and greater and lesser jihad framework? I mean, that’s pretty standard.

BRENNAN: Sure, it is...absolutely.

TWT: Can you give me an example of a jihad in history? Like, has there ever been a armed jihad anywhere in history? Has it ever existed for real, or is it just a concept?

BRENNAN: Absolutely it has.

TWT: Example?

BRENNAN: I’m not going to go into this sort of history discussion here.

TWT: But it’s important to frame the concept, because we want to say that what al-Qaeda is doing is not jihad. They say it is, and Abdul Azzam has said, in fact, ‘there’s not even a greater jihad.’ That that’s just a myth—that hadith didn’t even really happen. That there’s only armed jihad. Ayatollah Khomeini said ‘there is only armed jihad, and it would be useful to be able to characterize or to contrast what they’re doing and what they claim against a legitimate armed jihad in the past.

BRENNAN: I think we’ve finished. I have to get going.
Now that he admitted that Jihad can be violent, and pushed to give an example, Brennan decided to pick up his toys and go home. When faced with logic, even the counter-terrorism adviser to the President can't stick to the administration mantra that there is absolutely no relationship between Islam and the War On Terror Extremists who we've pissed off because the West is Just Horrible.  Brennan ran out before he could answer those last questions, so we still don't know which jihads in history does Brennan think were justified and why? And more to the point, why would he consider any Islamic holy wars legitimate?

The meeting is another example of the thin skin of members of the Obama administration. Brennan didn't like the paper's editorial, so he called a meeting to straighten them out. As a member of the Washington Times staff said me about the meeting:
There is a passage I think in Castiglione's Book of the Courtier about never engaging a duel with a social inferior -- this video shows why, it can lead to great embarrassment. Sometimes the peasants can surprise the nobles, and of course sometimes the peasants are more than common and the nobles are less than noble.  
  That comment shows much of the communication issues with the Administration, they believe that their word is Gospel and that the people are too stupid to understand, both contentions are wrong.

For more about this story and a discussion of the first part of the interview, Click Here to go to Kerry Picket's Washington Times column, The Water Cooler.

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