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May 22nd, 2017

Insight

Is Everything Political in the Obama Administration?

Bernard Goldberg

By Bernard Goldberg

Published Oct. 20, 2014

  Is Everything Political in the Obama Administration?
With the ISIS military advancing on Baghdad, the Pentagon has issued a report outlining what Secretary of State John Kerry has called "the biggest challenge of all that we face right now." Worldwide terrorism? No, silly. But if you said global warming, give yourself a green star.

As an editorial in the Wall Street Journal puts it: "The Pentagon Goes to Climate War." And the subhead: "Hagel wants to retool the military to stop glaciers from melting." Ouch!

No one is saying that the United States military can't walk and chew gum at the same time, that it can't be worried about both Islamic terrorists and melting glaciers. But why is climate change a concern of our armed forces at all? Why is global warming a national security matter requiring a military solution? You should know these things but since you obviously don't, I'll tell you — or more accurately, the just-released Pentagon report will tell you. It says that climate change "has the potential to exacerbate many of the challenges we are dealing with today — from infectious disease to terrorism."

Yes, if the planet gets too hot that might mean more terrorism. How? I have no idea. But if Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is so worried about climate change, then so should every other patriotic American, right?

Okay, let's get serious. Certain American institutions should be above politics. That's how things work in a democracy like ours. But on President Obama's watch many of our institutions are not above politics; they're waist deep into politics. And, sadly, that includes the United States military.

More on this shortly.

First, let's see what other institutions of our government have been turned into political tools since Barack Obama became president.

Well, there's the IRS, which went after political opponents of the president while he was running for re-election.

There's the FBI, which said the American convert to Islam, who spouted Arab words while cutting the head off a woman he used to work with in Oklahoma; a man who reportedly tried to convert fellow workers to Islam and featured anti-American rants on his Facebook page … was engaged in "workplace violence."

Barney Fife knows the difference between fanatical Islamic terrorism and run-of-the-mill workplace violence. But the FBI comes under the jurisdiction of the Department of Justice, which is run by Mr. Obama's pal Eric Holder. So it's no surprise that the FBI has been politicized too — which conveniently means there was no act of domestic terror in Oklahoma during Mr. Obama's presidency.

How about our nation's space agency? Barack Obama told the NASA administrator that one of his highest priorities should be -- sending humans back to the moon? -- building a colony on Mars? Nah. A top priority of the NASA chief, the president said, should be "to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with dominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science … and math and engineering." Another opportunity for the president to show we're not at war with Muslims.

And, of course, there's the CDC, which is currently battling Ebola but won't even consider temporarily halting flights to the U.S. from West Africa. Dr. Thomas Frieden, who runs the CDC, says if we ban flights we couldn't get aid workers out and back home to the United States.

How about this, Dr. Frieden: Put the aid workers on a U.S. military plane … or some other private plane … fly them home, and keep them in quarantine until we know that they're not infected. Or am I missing something?

I'm guessing Dr. Frieden is simply saying what political operatives in the White House want him to say — so that it looks like the president has everything under control. I'm also guessing the president doesn't want to stigmatize Africans with Ebola, and telling them they're not welcome here, might do just that. In other words, politics trumps common sense. At least until another West African carrying the Ebola virus makes it through the CDC's latest "safety" measures, which involve no-touch temperature checks of everyone coming in from that part of the world, and a questionnaire asking if they've been around people with Ebola.

Really? Thomas Eric Duncan would have breezed through those CDC supposed "safeguards" — and he died of Ebola in Dallas. Does Dr. Frieden actually think the honor system works when someone with Ebola is trying to enter this country to get medical help?

Back to the military …

Remember Fort Hood, where U.S. Army Major Nidal Hasan shot and killed 13 Americans while yelling the Islamic war cry. If ever there was a clear-cut case of Islamic terrorism in the homeland, this was it. Yet the military called it "workplace violence" just as the FBI, five years later, would call the beheading of a 54 year-old grandmother "workplace violence."

It gets worse. The Army's top general at the time of the massacre, Geroge Casey was worried about how the killings would affect … diversity. Here's what he said: "Our diversity, not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that's worse." Right on, general. Let's make sure everyone knows how much the commander-in-chief cares about diversity.

I'm not suggesting that President Obama sent memos out to his generals and cabinet secretaries and everyone else telling them what to say and what do to. But everything they've done — from labeling global warming a bigger threat than terrorism, to calling a beheading and a massacre at an army base "workplace violence," to targeting the president's opponents during a re-election campaign … was all done on Mr. Obama's behalf. It was all done to help him in one way or another.

It's one thing if the members of the House or the Senate act in a political way. But, as I mentioned earlier, certain institutions are supposed to be above politics. When they're not, they erode trust in government. And that's never a good thing in a democracy.

Yet the FBI and the IRS and NASA and the CDC and especially the U.S. military have all been tainted by politics on President Obama's watch.

And I suspect that's just how he wants it.

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