Obamateurism of the Day

posted at 8:05 am on January 19, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

We have often heard President Obama assert in his speeches that the detention center at Guantanamo Bay serves as a major “recruiting tool” for al-Qaeda.  And not just a major recruiting tool, but the “number one” recruiting tool in their toolbox.  About four weeks ago, Obama insisted on making the argument again in a press conference at the White House:

Obviously, we haven’t gotten it closed.  And let me just step back and explain that the reason for wanting to close Guantanamo was because my number one priority is keeping the American people safe.  One of the most powerful tools we have to keep the American people safe is not providing al Qaeda and jihadists recruiting tools for fledgling terrorists.

And Guantanamo is probably the number one recruitment tool that is used by these jihadist organizations.  And we see it in the websites that they put up.  We see it in the messages that they’re delivering.

The fact that al-Qaeda existed, recruited, and attacked American targets for almost a decade before Gitmo opened should be proof enough of the silliness of this argument.  Three weeks ago, though, Thomas Jocelyn decided to actually test Obama’s thesis by parsing AQ public statements in the last two years and determining just how important Gitmo is to their recruitment.  It turns out that the number one recruiting tool of the jihadists is … no surprise:

THE WEEKLY STANDARD has reviewed translations of 34 messages and interviews delivered by top al Qaeda leaders operating in Pakistan and Afghanistan (“Al Qaeda Central”), including Osama bin Laden and Ayman al Zawahiri, since January 2009. The translations were published online by the NEFA Foundation. Guantanamo is mentioned in only 3 of the 34 messages. The other 31 messages contain no reference to Guantanamo. And even in the three messages in which al Qaeda mentions the detention facility it is not a prominent theme. …

To illustrate this point, consider the results of some basic keyword searches. Guantanamo is mentioned a mere 7 times in the 34 messages we reviewed. (Again, all 7 of those references appear in just 3 of the 34 messages.)

By way of comparison, all of the following keywords are mentioned far more frequently: Israel/Israeli/Israelis (98 mentions), Jew/Jews (129), Zionist(s) (94), Palestine/Palestinian (200), Gaza (131), and Crusader(s) (322). (Note: Zionist is often paired with Crusader in al Qaeda’s rhetoric.)

Naturally, al Qaeda’s leaders also focus on the wars in Afghanistan (333 mentions) and Iraq (157). Pakistan (331), which is home to the jihadist hydra, is featured prominently, too. Al Qaeda has designs on each of these three nations and implores willing recruits to fight America and her allies there. Keywords related to other jihadist hotspots also feature more prominently than Gitmo, including Somalia (67 mentions), Yemen (18) and Chechnya (15).

The actual top recruiting “tools” of AQ are (1) Palestinians/Gaza, (2) “Crusaders,” and (3) the Joooooooos/Israel/”Zionists.”    Why?  Because their recruitment base has spent the last several decades living off of conspiracy theories regarding how Crusaders and Zionists have oppressed the Palestinians for the last 100 years, and they’re tapping into that ignorance and rage to get idiots to strap bombs to themselves so that AQ leadership can avoid that honor themselves.  Anyone who has spent any time at all studying the issue knows enough not to find this surprising, and not to be surprised that a prison in Cuba holding less than a thousand detainees at its zenith hardly competes with all of these ancient hatreds as a reason to blow one’s self into pieces for emirs who hide in mountains.

AQ’s recruitment base exists because of the curious modern mythologies of the Middle East.  Maybe Obama just wants to compete with them in building a laughably transparent myth about Gitmo.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at obamaisms@edmorrissey.com with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!


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Mythologies Pathologies.

steebo77 on January 19, 2011 at 8:08 AM

What a putz.

UltimateBob on January 19, 2011 at 8:11 AM

It turns out that the number one recruiting tool of the jihadists is … no surprise:

Islamic literalism?

forest on January 19, 2011 at 8:11 AM

Odamna is so wrong on so many things, the list seems endless. His “facts” seem to be made up by juvinile speechwriters to futher his misguided concept of government. 2012 cannot come soon enough.

Crusader Rabbit on January 19, 2011 at 8:12 AM

Look, if global warming is real, then Gitmo must be evil. Stands to reason, don’t it?

OldEnglish on January 19, 2011 at 8:13 AM

We have often heard President Obama assert in his speeches that the detention center at Guantanamo Bay serves as a major “recruiting tool” for al-Qaeda. And not just a major recruiting tool, but the “number one” recruiting tool in their toolbox.
================

Wait a bloody tic,I thought it was Bush Policies and
Iraq,now I’m inexplicably perplexed!(sarc)

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 8:14 AM

obama myths coming to a store near you

cmsinaz on January 19, 2011 at 8:15 AM

Odamna is so wrong on so many things, the list seems endless.

Crusader Rabbit on January 19, 2011 at 8:12 AM

The mind of a Liberal. It’s a terrible thing, why waste it.

Electrongod on January 19, 2011 at 8:16 AM

Look, if global warming is real, then Gitmo must be evil. Stands to reason, don’t it?

OldEnglish on January 19, 2011 at 8:13 AM

OldEnglish:Soooo,Gitmo is Evil,which means hot as h*ll,
therefore,its a furnace,and is responsible
for the source of Global Warming!!

I do love this idea!(snark):)

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 8:17 AM

obama myths coming to a store near you

cmsinaz on January 19, 2011 at 8:15 AM

cmsinaz:Crap,another Fund-Raising source!:)

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 8:17 AM

Mr. President sure has a lot of number one priorities. I thought the latest one was jobs.

scalleywag on January 19, 2011 at 8:19 AM

Maybe Obama just wants to compete with them in building a laughably transparent myth about Gitmo.

So, let me get this straight. The myth of GTMO serving as the primo recruitment tool for AQ has already been busted, by AQ’s own words, and yet the POTUS continues to try to concoct the myth? Do his buddies on MythBusters bust a myth and then rhetorically support it later on? Maybe someone should ask them, they seem to be big supporters of him.

ted c on January 19, 2011 at 8:22 AM

Well done, Ed. I think the piece rises above the standard fare we have come to know as an Obamateurism.

This is more than a crack in a facade. It’s a design flaw in Obama’s foundation; he campaigned on this mythification, it was his centerpiece for attacking the Bush administration.

Geochelone on January 19, 2011 at 8:23 AM

obama myths coming to a store near you

cmsinaz on January 19, 2011 at 8:15 AM

cmsinaz:)
=====================================================

Obama God! Democrats build a temple for Barack
on 29th August 2008

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1050017/Obama-God-Democrats-build-temple-Barack.html#ixzz1BUGAijir

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 8:24 AM

Geochelone on January 19, 2011 at 8:23 AM

I thought the same thing.

ted c on January 19, 2011 at 8:27 AM

What are facts and truth to this administration? Obviously, they are a stranger.

ted c on January 19, 2011 at 8:27 AM

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 8:17 AM

See, we knew it wasn’t CO2. :)

OldEnglish on January 19, 2011 at 8:28 AM

obama myths coming to a store near you

cmsinaz on January 19, 2011 at 8:15 AM

Well, the doofus was on myth busters, right?

lukespapa on January 19, 2011 at 8:28 AM

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 8:17 AM

:)
heh

cmsinaz on January 19, 2011 at 8:29 AM

AQ’s recruitment base exists because of the curious modern mythologies of the Middle East.

Arabs, as Muslims, consider themselves God’s chosen people. Yet they don’t have the same standard of living as the US & Israel (for the most part). The reason for this is Arab governments are corrupt, authoritarian and incompetent. Yet these governments, rather than trying to reform themselves & their societies, put the blame on the US/Israel. Thus it’s no wonder that some take the blame to heart and decide to destroy us.

rbj on January 19, 2011 at 8:30 AM

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 8:24 AM

perfect

he’s not straying from that, is he

cmsinaz on January 19, 2011 at 8:31 AM

on this mythification, it was his centerpiece for attacking the Bush administration.

Geochelone on January 19, 2011 at 8:23 AM

Geochelone:”mythification”!:)
=====================================================

Stonehenge-Spinal Tap

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Zdyo4vJuCU&feature=related

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 8:31 AM

Well, the doofus was on myth busters, right?

lukespapa on January 19, 2011 at 8:28 AM

heh :)

cmsinaz on January 19, 2011 at 8:32 AM

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 8:24 AM
==============
perfect

he’s not straying from that, is he

cmsinaz on January 19, 2011 at 8:31 AM

cmsinaz:Not one bit,Together We Thrive:)

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 8:32 AM

cmsinaz:Not one bit,Together We Thrive:)

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 8:32 AM

indeed

cmsinaz on January 19, 2011 at 8:33 AM

Mr. President sure has a lot of number one priorities. I thought the latest one was jobs.

scalleywag on January 19, 2011 at 8:19 AM

Cut him a break. He had to kick off his 2012 Campaign sooner than expected. How was he to know that such a juicy opportunity for campaign demagoguery would fall in his lap and that he would have to attend a pep-rally in Tucson.

Geochelone on January 19, 2011 at 8:33 AM

Well, the doofus was on myth busters, right?

lukespapa on January 19, 2011 at 8:28 AM

lukespapa:Lol!

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 8:34 AM

The Koran is the number one recruiting tool.

Disturb the Universe on January 19, 2011 at 8:34 AM

Cut him a break. He had to kick off his 2012 Campaign sooner than expected.

Geochelone on January 19, 2011 at 8:33 AM

Geochelone:Will you please be civil!!!haha:)

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 8:35 AM

and yet the POTUS continues to try to concoct the myth

ted c on January 19, 2011 at 8:22 AM

ted c:Yes!!!:)

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 8:37 AM

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 8:17 AM
=============================
See, we knew it wasn’t CO2. :)

OldEnglish on January 19, 2011 at 8:28 AM

OldEnglish:No,er the Sun,er,sumpin!!:)

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 8:39 AM

The Koran is the number one recruiting tool.

Disturb the Universe on January 19, 2011 at 8:34 AM

THIS.
The mythologies only help add more fuel to a fire that has been there for centuries.

Badger40 on January 19, 2011 at 8:39 AM

Geochelone:Will you please be civil!!!haha:)

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 8:35 AM

Actually a better reply on my part would have been to say: Obama has been busy on his JOBS priorities. He is focused on saving his own.

Geochelone on January 19, 2011 at 8:45 AM

AQ’s recruitment base exists because of the curious modern mythologies of the Middle East.

The basis for the Muslim mythology is ancient though current applications are modern.

Maybe Obama just wants to compete with them in building a laughably transparent myth about Gitmo.

Given, nothing new about Obama fabricating revisionist lies.

So we watch the game match of propaganda v. propaganda.

maverick muse on January 19, 2011 at 8:45 AM

Mr. President sure has a lot of number one priorities. I thought the latest one was jobs.

scalleywag on January 19, 2011 at 8:19 AM

I hear Chuck Norris can have two number one priorities. Obama’s up to what, three or four by now? That’s pretty impressive.

BlueCollarAstronaut on January 19, 2011 at 8:49 AM

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 8:35 AM
==================
Actually a better reply on my part would have been to say: Obama has been busy on his JOBS priorities. He is focused on saving his own.

Geochelone on January 19, 2011 at 8:45 AM

Geochelone:True,Shovel,ahem,Ready!:)

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 8:49 AM

Guys, guys you don’t understand Barack Obama is first and foremost a community organizer….
Barack Obama,Community Organizer breezes into the meeting fires everyone up with a “This is what we are going to do” speel…
There is no plan ….there is no ‘we’ its all talk.
.

philly_PA on January 19, 2011 at 8:52 AM

There really ought to be an opportunity for a rebuttal with facts to counteract these blatant rhetorical falsehoods of the spreader of the Big Lie in the WH.

onlineanalyst on January 19, 2011 at 8:53 AM

Crusader Rabbit on January 19, 2011 at 8:12 AM

Are you trying to inflame jihadist warriors with that screen name? Heh!

onlineanalyst on January 19, 2011 at 8:55 AM

Everything evil on this planet is because of two things….
The Joooooo’s
and now Sarah Palin….
Palin the Gentile Jew…

right2bright on January 19, 2011 at 8:55 AM

These pronouncements are evidence of the Big Whopper™ method of governance.

onlineanalyst on January 19, 2011 at 8:57 AM

Gitmo equals Obama’s ‘dog whistle’.

Yoop on January 19, 2011 at 9:00 AM

This is more than a crack in a facade. It’s a design flaw in Obama’s foundation; he campaigned on this mythification, it was his centerpiece for attacking the Bush administration.

Geochelone on January 19, 2011 at 8:23 AM

Obama’s Titanic fabricated of unsinkable lies has made impact with the iceberg of truth. He’s out front showing leadership commandeering all life boats for himself. So long as no witnesses are left behind, he monopolizes the storyline until evidence proves otherwise. But given monopoly on means to research evidence, corruption permeates and destroys records.

maverick muse on January 19, 2011 at 9:00 AM

Crusader Rabbit on January 19, 2011 at 8:12 AM
==================
Are you trying to inflame jihadist warriors with that screen name? Heh!

onlineanalyst on January 19, 2011 at 8:55 AM

onlineanalyst:Heres the musical!
=======================================================
Rabbit Slayer

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKp3Nj7lXhM&feature=related

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 9:13 AM

The thing about myths is that their interpretation determines their malleable meaning according to circumstance. Myths express universal meaning. What when universal meaning is destroyed?

Joseph Campbell on The Myth is basis for understanding cultures as well as man.

Irrational dogma set in stone, when abruptly altered, undergoes transformation as well, either leaving the fundamental dogmatic element fallen as if victimized for breaking from the evolutionary force, or maintaining the fundamental dogmatic element while discarding what falls away with the force of evolution.

A Dogma Divided Cannot Stand (quote me).

Opportunists never waste a crisis in their perpetual power grab. Propagandists revel in revisionism, their element. Empower revisionism and kiss logic away to be forever lost. Nevermore.

maverick muse on January 19, 2011 at 9:14 AM

Look, if global warming is real, then Gitmo must be evil. Stands to reason, don’t it?

And Sarah Palin is the warden, right?

crazy_legs on January 19, 2011 at 9:18 AM

Hussein using Taqiyya.

Akzed on January 19, 2011 at 9:19 AM

OOOooohhhhh!!!! I like conspiracy theories! They’re funny.

MrX on January 19, 2011 at 9:21 AM

I always wondered what poll the leftists used to come to the conclusion that Gitmo was the number one recruiting tool or how they got close enough to the Jihadis ti find this out. I would start suspecting anyone with this intimate a knowledge of Al Qaeda’s recruiting methods!

allstonian on January 19, 2011 at 9:24 AM

More faith-based policymaking by the Left. They continue to have zero proof for almost anything they claim, whethner it is Gitmo as a terrorist recruiting tool, the Tea Party as instigator of violence and murder, man-caused global warming, Obamacare reducing the deficit and lowering insurance premiums, or massive federal spending stimulating the economy.

rockmom on January 19, 2011 at 9:27 AM

Geochelone:True,Shovel,ahem,Ready!:)

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 8:49 AM

Together We Thrive on Shovel Ready Jive.

Geochelone on January 19, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Poor Obutthead. He just can’t find a reason, or excuse the people will believe, so he can close Gitmo, and release his comrades.

capejasmine on January 19, 2011 at 9:43 AM

Geochelone:True,Shovel,ahem,Ready!:)

canopfor on January 19, 2011 at 8:49 AM
Together We Thrive on Shovel Ready Jive.

Geochelone on January 19, 2011 at 9:43 AM

He, and the Dems are shoveling something. But it smells a lot like b.s.

capejasmine on January 19, 2011 at 9:44 AM

Actually the “horror” of Gitmo so scared terrorists in Iraq, that the threat to send them there was a tool in gaining intelligence. The enemies propaganda helped to do them in. So then useful idiots in our congress like Sen. Durbin (D), not giving a crap about winning the war, attacked our military too saying our soldiers at Gitmo were acting like Nazis; a media uproar resulted.

Our media and the useful idiots pushed the Bush Admin to show how nice Gitmo really was; so that intelligence tactic was lost. We will never know the damage of not having Gitmo as a anti-terrorist tool did to our fighting forces.

This president is worse than a useful idiot; he has a dang large bully pulpit and he wouldn’t know the truth if he stepped on it.

amr on January 19, 2011 at 10:23 AM

Zero has said it.
Therefore it has to be true.
Get your mind right, Ed…

Haiku Guy on January 19, 2011 at 10:32 AM

Like all well-trained Leftists, Barry is not about to let any actual facts get in the way of his favorite Lefty memes — and “Gitmo is the top Jihadi recruiting tool” is clearly one of Barry’s faves. That it is demonstrably untrue is irrelevant. It sounds true to Lefties, so therefore it should be true.

AZCoyote on January 19, 2011 at 10:34 AM

Once Obama takes a position, no matter how stupid or trivial, he is locked into it. He cannot admit a mistake, ever.

So because he made a gaff in an early debate during the Democratic primaries, we have to pretend that face to face meetings with Iranian and other dictators around the globe are valuable diplomatic tools.

“If you like your doctor, you can keep him…”

Gotta close Gitmo.

Trillion dollar spending bills boost employment, don’tcha know.

Robert Gibbs is a genius at public relations.

The people want Obamacare…

The list goes on and on.

Haiku Guy on January 19, 2011 at 10:38 AM

It turns out that the number one recruiting tool of the jihadists is … no surprise:

forest on January 19, 2011 at 8:11 AM

Our chief weapon is no suprise… no surprise and fear… fear and no surprise. Our two weapons are fear and no surprise… and ruthless efficiency… Our *three* weapons are fear, no surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope…. Our *four*…no… *Amongst* our weapons…. Amongst our weaponry…are such elements as fear, no surprise…. I’ll come in again…

Haiku Guy on January 19, 2011 at 10:47 AM

The mind of a Liberal. It’s a terrible thing, why waste it.

Electrongod on January 19, 2011 at 8:16 AM

I prefer…A liberal mind is a terrible wasted thing.

Extrafishy on January 19, 2011 at 10:51 AM

Guantanamo is like a health resort compared to a typical federal prison. Anyone that has visited both will testify to that fact, even the prisoners.

slickwillie2001 on January 19, 2011 at 11:25 AM

I think Obama is a pretty good recruiting tool for al-Qaeda.

katablog.com on January 19, 2011 at 11:44 AM

maverick muse on January 19, 2011 at 9:14 AM

I really enjoy your posts; reasoned, thoughtful and usually timely. And you read some of the coolest books!

odat on January 19, 2011 at 3:03 PM

And Guantanamo is probably the number one recruitment tool that is used by these jihadist organizations.

Obviously, terrorists didn’t like Jack Nicholson’s performance in A Few Good Men. Maybe they can’t handle the truth.

malclave on January 19, 2011 at 3:38 PM

Look, if global warming is real, then Gitmo must be evil. Stands to reason, don’t it?

OldEnglish on January 19, 2011 at 8:13 AM

By the same reasoning, we can fry AlQaeda by attacking them with hair spray and cow farts!!

landlines on January 19, 2011 at 7:01 PM