House Homeland Security Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R., Texas) offered a searing indictment of the Obama administration’s "wait and see diplomacy" during a wide ranging foreign policy speech Wednesday that focused on what he dubbed the president’s failure to lead.
Obama’s indecision and failure to take a stand in Syria, Egypt, and elsewhere in the world have emboldened America’s enemies and allowed extremists to galvanize greater support, McCaul said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).
"That lack of clarity isn’t just confusing, it’s dangerous," McCaul said. "One cannot lead if they refuse to accept reality."
Obama is misleading the American public about the threats posed to America by radical extremists, he added.
"The battlefield is now everywhere," McCaul said. "The president likes to deliver speeches. What he may not realize is his words have a practical application."
Radicals across the world were listening when Obama declared earlier this year that the war on terrorism is coming to an end, McCaul said.
"Publicly downgrading a real threat which is growing only emboldens our enemies and sends a signal we lack resolve," McCaul said.
Such declarations also degrade the morale of America’s fighting forces, he said.
"Rhetoric has a ripple effect," McCaul warned. "I believe the president should be more careful."
Broad statements about ending the global war on terror "do not constitute a counterterrorism policy," McCaul added. "Words cannot simply wish it away."
While "declaring the war over is a popular thing to do politically … misleading the American people with a false narrative does them a great disservice," McCaul said. "The reality is the threats we faced on Sept. 10, , exist today."
The Obama administration has systematically ignored and downplayed the threat that Muslim extremists pose to America, McCaul said.
From the Fort Hood shooting to the Benghazi, Libya, attacks, as well as the Boston Marathon bombing, team Obama has avoided using terms such as "radical Islam," McCaul said.
"With each attack, the administration appears to distance itself from who’s behind it," McCaul said.
"The administration may think by taking the war on terror and radical Islam out of the conversation it will help end the conflict. But in reality you cannot defeat an enemy you are unwilling to define," McCaul said.
America’s enemies see this as "a sign of weakness," McCaul said, adding that Obama’s rhetoric only "serves to bolster [his] desire to be a peacemaker and end [George W.] Bush’s wars."
Wars do not end because a president deems it convenient for them to be over, McCaul said.
"Our enemies have a say in when this war is over and they haven’t given up their quest for a world caliphate," he said, referring to Muslim extremists’ desire to see a global Islamic state governed by Sharia law.
The American people "do not deserve to have the real threats against them obscured," McCaul said. "The president has not given the American people enough credit. They are strong and deserve to know the truth."
McCaul went on to slam President Barack Obama for failing to take aggressive action against Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
"Israel feels we haven’t been a strong ally to them when it comes to Iran," he said. "We haven’t been tough enough with Iran."
As threats across the globe mount, now is not the time to retreat from the world, McCaul said.
"I understand Americans are tired," he said. "Our fight on terrorism has taken a toll on all of us, … [but] we cannot let fatigue undermine our mission."