In an op-ed published Tuesday at the Los Angeles Times, Barack Obama declared that terrorists who murder innocent civilians can’t be dealt with by military force alone. Instead, he suggested the world “lift up the voices of Muslim clerics and scholars who teach” what he called the “true peaceful nature of Islam.”
“We know that military force alone cannot solve this problem,” he said after recalling terrorism conducted by Islamic groups in Pakistan and Nigeria. “Nor can we simply take out terrorists who kill innocent civilians.”
Instead of fighting Islamic terror with military force, Obama suggested helping “Muslim entrepreneurs and youths work with the private sector to develop social media tools to counter extremist narratives on the Internet.” In short, Obama suggested a type of “jobs for terrorists” plan he said would “offer the true path to opportunity, justice and dignity.”
The idea was also floated by State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf. Speaking with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, she suggested going after what she called “the root causes that leads people to join these groups, whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs … the U.S. should work with other countries to ‘help improve their governance’ and ‘help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people.’”
Obama doubled down on the idea Wednesday, telling attendees at the White House summit on countering extremism and radicalism the world must “offer something better” to those who engage in terrorism. Countries, he said, need to invest in job training and education in order to divert young people from a life of terror.
Speaking with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Lt. Col. (Ret.) Ralph Peters slammed the idea and reminded viewers that Osama bin Laden was very wealthy. “I mean, Osama bin Laden was wealthy. Major [Nidal] Hasan, the Fort Hood butcher, he had a job as I recall. He was a major in the Army,” he said. “Do you think the guy in Copenhagen this last weekend, when he pulled the trigger, trying to kill a cartoonist and as many other Danes as he could, was he screaming jobs, jobs, jobs? No, he was screaming Allahu Akbar. I mean this is sheer idiocy.” He also reminded the administration about the nature of war.
“The other thing she said, in the same interview, is we can’t kill our way out of a war,” he added. “Hey, Marie! War is about killing! You get out of wars by killing enough of the other guys until they either quit, or they’re gone. They’re dead, they’re gone, they’re finished. I mean she heard somebody somewhere say we can’t kill our way out of this.”