The real enemy

Today, nine years after Islamic fanatics carried out a heinous attack on the United States, our commander in chief still won't publicly identify the enemy that pushed us into two wars in the Middle East.

President Obama used part of his Friday news conference to whitewash the common denominator that links the events of 9/11 to other terrorist actions: extremist Muslims who despise the free and tolerant West. They fight their battles primarily by slaughtering innocent civilians.

On Friday, Mr. Obama, ever the professor, lectured the unlearned citizenry that our fight is against just a handful of people "who are engaging in hateful acts," that America's enemy is not Islam, but al-Qaida and other extremist groups.

But what do al-Qaida and these extremist groups have in common? A membership comprised entirely of Islamic radicals. Why is it so hard for the president and so many people in Washington to acknowledge this nexus? Because they fear tarring all Muslims as radicals.

But instead of simply identifying our enemy as radical Islam, they talk to Americans as though we're a bunch of intolerant racists. The president called for respect and inclusion for American Muslims on Friday.

The people of this country were remarkably restrained following the horrifying events of 9/11. They did not seek out their Muslim neighbors and drag them through the streets. They did not burn mosques to the ground. They get it. They understand the difference between radical Muslims and practicing Muslims who wish no harm to those of other faiths, or those who don't wish to observe a religion at all.

They would like to know, however, that their elected and appointed leaders are paying close enough attention to know where the problem lies, and the values and beliefs that our declared enemies share. They would like an acknowledgement that radical Islam is an enemy of the state and a threat to our national security.

"We are going to have this problem out there for a long time to come," Mr. Obama said Friday.

We are indeed going to have this problem for a long time to come -- especially if we won't call out our enemy.