John Brennan, assistant to US President Barack Obama for homeland security and counterterrorism, told a Washington conference on Tuesday that Lebanese terrorist militia Hizballah has evolved significantly over the years, and cannot today be defined as a purely hostile and evil entity.
Reuters quoted Brennan as telling conference participants that Hizballah is a "very interesting organization" that has evolved from a "purely terrorist organization" into a movement that now boasts members of parliament and even cabinet ministers.
Rather than take issue with the Lebanese public for electing terrorists to government, much as the Palestinians did when they handed Hamas a landslide electoral victory in 2006, Brennan attributed the phenomenon to an alleged tactical shift inside Hizballah.
"I'm pleased to see that a lot of Hizbullah individuals are in fact renouncing that type of terrorism and violence and are trying to participate in the political process in a very legitimate fashion," he said.
With that view apparently shaping the Obama Administration's policy regarding Hizballah, Brennan suggested that rather than shun and combat the terror group, the White House intends to "find ways to diminish [the terrorists'] influence within the organization and to try to build up the more moderate elements."
Brennan seemed to have forgotten that while a few Hizballah members may voice more "moderate" positions, they are a fringe element within a group that his firmly controlled by those seeking the violent destruction of the Jewish state.
Observers in Israel noted that Brennan's position was akin to finding a few Al Qaeda officials willing to speak in a slightly-less-violent tone and using them as justification for engaging the group diplomatically.