Commentary Magazine


Holder and Napolitano Aren’t Off the Reservation

Steve Huntley thinks Janet Napolitano and Eric Holder should get canned:

The administration’s determination to separate itself from the Bush-era attitudes on terrorism and its failure to secure the border have thrown Holder and Napolitano on the defensive.

It was embarrassing for the nation to watch Holder last week dance around a simple question about whether radical Islam could have played a role in recent attempted terrorist attacks. …

For her part, Napolitano stumbled out of the gate last year when she started calling terrorist attacks “man-caused disasters.” She was quick to initially play down the would-be underwear and Times Square bombers as lone wolves, only to be embarrassed when their links to — yes, Mr. Holder — radical Islam were revealed. Now she’s embroiled in a nasty fight with New York political leaders over cuts in federal anti-terrorism funding for the state and city, the No. 1 terrorist target, along with Washington.

Huntley correctly perceives that Holder’s obvious discomfort in naming our enemy undermines our ability to rally moderate Muslims to our side. (“What must the Muslim victims of those crimes and others in Islamic nations think of a high Obama administration official who can’t distinguish between conventional Islam and murderous Islamism? How are we to win an ideological struggle if we can’t declare who the enemy is?”) But he is stumped as to why Obama would “tolerate such irresponsible conduct from Holder and Napolitano.”

Well, it’s not hard to figure out why: Obama agrees with them, or rather they agree with and are eagerly serving their boss. It’s no accident that neither Holder nor Napolitano displays candor about jihadist attacks or will articulate that we are engaged in a war for Western civilization against Muslim fundamentalists. This is Obama’s modus operandi and worldview. He’s not willing to name the enemy. He’s not willing to drop the criminal-justice fetish in favor of an appropriate wartime stance toward terrorists. Holder and Napolitano aren’t freelancing — they are marching to the beat set by the president. A better question then is: will the American people tolerate such irresponsible conduct from their president?