About a year ago, retired US Navy Admiral James Lyons addressed a conference on terrorism in Washington, DC. Since then, his remarks at the conference have gone viral, perhaps because, in retrospect, what he said was almost prophetic.
Speaking at the Center for Security Policy in February 2015, the retired admiral cited remarks by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who, explaining efforts to enhance his country’s Islamic character in 2007, said that “the term ‘moderate Islam’ is very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam and that’s it.” He cited another remark, made by Erdogan in the 1990s while still mayor of Istanbul: “Democracy is a train that takes you to your destination, and then you get off.”
In his remarks, Lyons argued that Erdogan “could not have said it any plainer,” warning that “until you recognize that Islam is a political movement masquerading as a religion, you are never going to come to grips with it.”
Lyons addressed the conference several months after a coalition led by the United States began fighting the Islamic State group in the Middle East and about a month after Islamist terrorists murdered 11 people at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
Lyons mentioned in his remarks that in the 1980s, while Ronald Reagan was president, a joint French-American strike plan was devised, but was scrapped due to opposition by then-US Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger.
“Weinberger wouldn’t issue the order,” he recalled. “I personally talked to [then-Secretary of State] George Shultz and [then-National Security Adviser] Bud McFarlane and they told me they pleaded with him and he wouldn’t do it.”
He mentioned that in 1987, when American forces clashed with Iran in the Persian Gulf, there was a plan to “take down” the regime of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, but again it was a member of the administration, this time Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff William J. Crowe, who “undercut” the operation.
The admiral also criticized President Barack Obama, saying that he is unwilling to recruit the West to wage all-out war against radical Islam. “The Obama administration has a strategy, and any thinking American should be able to grasp it,” he said. “It is anti-American, anti-Western, it’s pro-Islamic, pro-Iranian and pro-Muslim Brotherhood.”
By Erez Linn, Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org