President Obama’s legendary intellectual dishonest was on full display once again in his “The Future of our Fight Against Terrorism” address. In essence, the speech called for a pullback, if not an end to, the “war” on terrorism. He prefaced this call with a quote from James Madison: “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” And he pushed it home by emphasizing the duration of the “war” and the resulting national weariness.
Yet until yesterday, Obama didn’t especially like to speak about our confrontation with terrorism as a ‘war.” Indeed, even the title of yesterday’s speech refers to it as a “fight.” But in the body of the speech, it was a war.
Why the pivot? Because “war” is an easy target. For one thing, it lends itself to quotations such as the one above from James Madison that have no applicability to our struggle against terrorism. Or does Obama believe, as the Code Pink lady who interrupted him does, that we are losing our freedom as a result of the war on terrorism as he has carried it out?
More importantly, Obama knows the nation is “war weary.” By pivoting to the war metaphor, Obama hopes to parlay that weariness into the termination of policies that make him, but not most Americans, weary.
It’s vintage Obama: identify a linguistic commonality between left-wing dogma and mainstream thinking — here “war weariness” — and through shameless punning — here of the word “war” — try to make left-wing dogma seem mainstream. You could argue that Obama’s political success is based, more than anything else, on this form of dishonesty.
Yes, Americans are weary of shooting wars like the one we fought in Iraq and the one we are winding down in Afghanistan. But they are not weary of holding hard-core terrorists at Gitmo. And they are not weary of killing terrorists at no cost in American lives through drone strikes. Nor is there any evidence that they are weary of deploying forces at bases near potential trouble spots so that our forces can respond to attacks against U.S. interests more effectively than the Obama administration did in Benghazi.
In short, war weariness can justify ending the two shooting wars we’ve fought since 9/11 (which is a done deal) and not participating in new wars in places like Syria. But it cannot justify the scale-back in the fight against terrorism that Obama now has in mind.
It is only Obama and the hard-left that is weary of detaining terrorists indefinitely. It is only Obama and the hard-core left that is weary of drone strikes.
Nor can rhetoric about preserving our freedom justify a scale-back in the struggle against terrorism. Our freedom is threatened by IRS abuses and pretextual harassment of journalists — not by detaining foreign terrorists or using drones against them.
Obama didn’t become president so he could protect America against terrorists — that mission is too pedestrian and perhaps too parochial. He doesn’t enjoy being a war president, even in the limited sense that he still is one. And, to his credit, Obama doesn’t relish signing off on targeted killings. Thus, now that he doesn’t have to worry about another election, he wants to back off.
But being president isn’t just about doing what one wants. If Obama lacks the stomach to continue his popular and often successful first term efforts against terrorism, he should either have told Americans so during the election campaign or bowed out of office.
But how can we expect honesty from a man who has built a hugely successful career on dishonesty?
One of my favorite Facebook groups is “2nd Amendment Hotties,” and apparently more than a few other people like it too, as it has something like 16,000 “likes” on FB. Would seem an omission not to share some of its awesomeness with Power Line readers, especially since we’re still in a too-long hiatus of beauty pageants worthy of John’s coverage. So enjoy this respite from scandalmania for a holiday Friday.
All right, it appears that Moscow has finally convinced Bashar al-Assad to attend peace talks in Geneva to resolve the two-year civil war in Syria. Now what? It’s not clear that the rebels want to attend either, or who would even represent them in a conference: The Syrian government has agreed to participate in an [...]
If memory serves, Irving Kristol once remarked that the term “peace,” as it was used by the left, “is a Stalinist concept,” since the intent of the so-called “peace movement” was the unilateral disarmament of the West and the triumph of Communism. Today the term “diversity” works the same way: it has become a term meaning the opposite of its dictionary meaning, and is a vehicle for racial division and resentment.
Charlotte Allen writes splendidly in the Weekly Standard about “white privilege” conferences where Orwell would be astounded to find that the hate sessions go for a lot longer than the two minutes prescribed in 1984. Needless to say, the lack of irony is evident in the very fact of such conferences, for who is more “privileged” these days than academics and activists who can travel to these hootenannies where the registration fee alone is $435. But good for Charlotte; my experience, having long ago attended similar preposterous round-robins of radical resentment, is that the worst thing you can do is simply report what is said. Like mushrooms, these kinds of lefty hate-ins flourish best in the dark.
But if you needed fresh evidence, check out this story out of Northwestern University, where a white student was rejected for a diversity appointment because “he is a white heterosexual male.” The student’s name, incidentally, is Stephen Piotrkowski. Just a hunch here, but he sounds like someone with immigrant roots that don’t trace back to the Anglosphere, and as such would represent what ought to be meant by “diversity” if it was meant seriously. (Turns out his sister is gay, but that’s apparently not enough.) But pigment is everything for the diversity-haters.
That’s the question asked by Katie Pavlich and Jim Hoft after the revelation that Attorney General Eric Holder personally approved the application for a warrant on Fox News’ James Rosen as a potential co-conspirator in espionage. Last week, under relatively friendly questioning from Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) about the Department of Justice seizure of Associated Press [...]
I have written before about the lack of expression of opposition to the Schumer-Rubio amnesty legislation on leading Fox News programs such as Sean Hannity’s. While amnesty opponents receive little or no air time, Marco Rubio appears fairly regularly with Hannity to field mostly soft-ball questions.
Now comes word that Rubio will appear tonight on a “special edition” of Hannity to field questions from an audience of experts on immigration. Will Rubio really be subjected to tough questioning from opponents of Schumer-Rubio? Or is will the format be rigged to enable Rubio to swat down a few watered-down objections and always get the last word?
We’ll see. But given the fact that, to my knowledge, Rubio has never actually debated anyone on Fox, I fear that this is just another set-up.
Well, well, well. This should make for an interesting confirmation hearing, no? The State Department spokeswoman who earlier this month found herself in the middle of the controversy surrounding key revisions to the Benghazi talking points appears to be in line for a promotion. The White House announced Thursday that President Barack Obama intends to [...]
Obama’s bloody recipe for more Benghazis
by Michelle Malkin
Gird your loins, America. President Obama intends to empty out Guantanamo Bay and send scores of suspected Muslim terror operatives back to their jihadist-coddling native countries. Goaded by anti-war activists and soft-on-terror attorneys (including those from Attorney General Eric Holder’s former private law firm), Obama announced Thursday that he’ll lift a ban on sending up to 90 Yemeni detainees home and will initiate other stalled transfers out of the compound.
This radical appeasement of Obama’s left flank is a surefire recipe for more Benghazis, more U.S.S. Coles and more innocent lives at risk.
A little more than three years ago, the White House assured Americans that it would not release Yemeni detainees back to their al-Qaida-infested land. In January 2010, international press outlets reported that at least a dozen former Guantanamo Bay prisoners had rejoined al-Qaida to fight in Yemen. Yemen was also the terror training ground of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the jihadist who attempted to bomb Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day in 2009.
Abdulmutallab reportedly told the FBI there were countless al-Qaida trainees like him in Yemen. The CIA knew of Abdulmutallab four months before his bombing attempt and was aware of him meeting with terrorists in Yemen a month before his arrest. British media also reported that counterterrorism and intelligence officers were “aware of several British nationals and British residents who had trained at camps in Yemen’s ‘ungoverned spaces.’”
From the very first days of Obama’s presidency, Americans in Yemen have been endangered. In late January 2009, the U.S. Embassy in Yemen came under gunfire. American diplomatic staff had been warned of a pending attack. That same month, two former Yemeni Gitmo detainees, Said Ali al-Shihri and Abu Hareth Muhammad al-Awfi, released a video flipping America the bird.
They publicly recommitted to “aid the religion,” “establish the rightly guided caliphate” and “fight against our enemies” after undergoing terrorism “rehab” in Saudi Arabia. Charlie Sheen’s rehab worked better than that of the Sauds.
Military review panels indicated that al-Shihri had traveled to Afghanistan two weeks after the 9/11 attacks, trained and funded jihadists outside Kabul, and coordinated travel for al-Qaida before being captured and held at Gitmo. After his release by the Bush administration, intel officials say he was involved in the deadly bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, in September 2008.
Al-Shihri has reportedly been killed in drone attacks at least three times and may or may not have met the same fate as fellow Yemeni jihad leader and drone strike victim Anwar al-Awlaki. But this much is clear: Embassy staffers in Yemen have targets on their back, Benghazi-style. The warning flags are crimson red.
Yemen also produced Jamal Ahmed Mohammad al-Badawi, the convicted mastermind of the U.S.S. Cole bombing that took the lives of 17 American sailors in October 2000. As I’ve reported previously on the Yemen jihad revolving door: Despite being sentenced to the death penalty, escaping twice from jail and being indicted in the U.S. on terrorism charges, the Yemeni government freed al-Badawi in 2007 in exchange for a promise that he renounce his old murdering ways.
Al-Badawi remains at large and is on the FBI Most Wanted fugitive terrorist list.
As he did with the families of the Benghazi victims, Obama had promised the families of the U.S.S. Cole bombing victims “swift justice.” Instead, the administration initially dropped the death penalty case against a key Cole plotter being held at Gitmo — former Persian Gulf Operations Chief for al-Qaida Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi Arabian national of Yemeni descent — and has dragged its feet on reinstating and pursuing the trial for four long years.
Which side are Obama and his lawyers on, anyway? As I reported in “Culture of Corruption,” Covington and Burling, the former private law firm of Close Gitmo crusader and Attorney General Eric Holder, has provided dozens of Yemeni Gitmo detainees hundreds of hours of pro bono legal representation and sob-story media relations campaigns.
While these bleeding-heart lawyers dismiss the perils of Gitmo recidivism, the numbers don’t lie. I repeat: The office of the Director of National Intelligence reports that 27.9 percent of the 599 former detainees released from Guantanamo were either confirmed or suspected of later engaging in jihadist attacks. One of those Gitmo recidivists still on the loose is Ansar al-Sharia leader Sufyan Ben Qumu a.k.a. Abu Sufian bin Qumu, the suspected plotter of the 9/11/12 Benghazi attack.
How much more American blood and treasure will this reckless, feckless game of jihadi catch-and-release cost?
Connecting a few more dots.
Fox 19 continues its investigative reporting into the scandal at the IRS office, focusing on the local Cincinnati office and filling in more of its organizational chart. Once again, the focus falles on Cindy Thomas, the highest-ranking official at this office. Thomas was two levels below Lois Lerner, but Fox 19′s sources within the IRS [...]