How not to counter domestic terrorism

Sources tell me that Speaker Paul Ryan is pushing this week to fund the Department of Homeland Security’s “Countering Violent Extremism” (CVE) program to the tune of $40 million. If you didn’t know anything about this program, it might seem like a good idea for Ryan to get CVE funded in the wake of the Orlando massacre.

Actually, I take that back. You can tell from the name of the program that it’s misguided. “Violent extremism” didn’t produce the Orlando shootings or any of the other recent high profile attacks that plague us. Islamist terrorism produced them. CVE, you won’t be surprised to learn, won’t even say these words.

And this is only the tip of the iceberg. Daniel Greenfield describes the treacherous ice underneath:

CVE tells us that the best way to fight violent extremists is with “non violent extremist” Salafi clergy who have the most influence on them. We’re supposed to fight the ISIS Caliphate with supporters of another kind of Caliphate.

What it really comes down to is paying Muslims to argue with other Muslims on social media. And hope that the Muslims we’re paying to do the arguing are the good kind of extremists, like the Muslim Brotherhood, and not the bad kind of extremists, like ISIS. Even though they’re both vicious killers.

Thus, to mix cold water metaphors, the CVE is basically a slush fund for the CAIR and the Muslim Brotherhood. It is scandalous that Paul Ryan wants to fund it.

Greenfield continues:

CVE not only doesn’t fight terrorism, it perpetuates the whole reason for it by outsourcing our interaction with domestic Muslims to the Saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood. That’s a big part of how we got a terrorism problem in the first place. CVE’s promoters have convinced us that the best way to fight Islamic terrorism is by partnering with Islamic terrorists.

Obama began by watering down terrorism from a military problem to a law enforcement issue. CVE waters it down even further by eliminating it as a law enforcement issue (the FBI chief was not invited to the summit to avoid making law enforcement the focus) and turning terrorism into a social problem.

The underlying problem with CVE is that it tries to transform a military problem into a civilian social problem. It bogs us down in debating Islamic theology while warning us not to mention Islam.

These are not problems that we can solve. Even if there really were a definite split between Muslim moderates and extremists, rather than an immoderate Islam broken into different factions in a power struggle, the government is not the right tool for settling a religious dispute. And that’s what CVE tries to do.

Does Paul Ryan think this is a good idea or is he simply unaware of CVE’s approach?

CVE has things precisely backwards:

A sensible counterterrorism strategy at home will not aim at parsing different flavors of Islam, but at distinguishing between those citizens whose allegiance we have and those whose allegiance we do not. . .

[CVE] rejects the idea that Muslims should be expected to show their allegiance [to the United States] and instead demands that the United States show its allegiance to them. It inverts the balance of citizenship and invests the United States in an unspoken religious debate.

The problem isn’t just theoretical, either. The absurdly misguided approach behind CVE produces policies that endanger our safety.

For example, hoping to pacify Muslim leaders and secure the allegiance of Muslims, the government has watered down the FBI’s counterterrorism training materials, eliminating valuable information that would help agents identify terrorists. According to Patrick Poole, this “purge” has contributed to clues being missed by the FBI in major terrorism cases, including last year’s bombing of the Boston Marathon. We may learn that it contributed to clues being missed in Orlando.

The Orlando massacre shouldn’t prompt the Republican House to fund a bad program, sending more money CAIR’s way. Instead, it should lead to a reevaluation of the premises behind the Obama administration’s approach to fighting domestic terrorism.

An intelligent reevaluation would signal the demise of CVE.