The Washington Post's op-ed section opens the New Year - and the New Decade - on fire. First, Charles Krauthammer weighs in, excoriating the Obama regime for its 9-10 mindset. Then Bill Kristol writes on why we should be lending full support to Iran's revolution and what forms that support should take. I have made the same arguments repeatedly in this blog, so its nice to see the heavy hitters weighing in likewise. To Krauthammer first:
Janet Napolitano -- former Arizona governor, now overmatched secretary of homeland security -- will forever be remembered for having said of the attempt to bring down an airliner over Detroit: "The system worked." The attacker's concerned father had warned U.S. authorities about his son's jihadist tendencies. The would-be bomber paid cash and checked no luggage on a transoceanic flight. He was nonetheless allowed to fly, and would have killed 288 people in the air alone, save for a faulty detonator and quick actions by a few passengers.
Heck of a job, Brownie.
It was beyond outrageous for our DHS Chief to make a claim that logically implies that acts of God and jihadi incompetence are central parts of our "system" for defeating terrorism. Neither she nor Obama seem to understand that leadership requires not political spin, but a "buck stops here" mentality. They are taking the buck, making it into a paper airplane, and tossing it out the window as fast as they can. And indeed, Napolitano, a purely political animal with no security experience, needs to be removed for the sake of our national security. Doing the same to the entire Obama administration will need to await 2012.
The reason the country is uneasy about the Obama administration's response to this attack is a distinct sense of not just incompetence but incomprehension. From the very beginning, President Obama has relentlessly tried to play down and deny the nature of the terrorist threat we continue to face. Napolitano renames terrorism "man-caused disasters." Obama goes abroad and pledges to cleanse America of its post-9/11 counterterrorist sins. Hence, Guantanamo will close, CIA interrogators will face a special prosecutor, and Khalid Sheik Mohammed will bask in a civilian trial in New York -- a trifecta of political correctness and image management.
And just to make sure even the dimmest understand, Obama banishes the term "war on terror." It's over -- that is, if it ever existed.
Obama may have declared the war over. Unfortunately, al-Qaeda has not. Which gives new meaning to the term "asymmetric warfare."
And produces linguistic -- and logical -- oddities that littered Obama's public pronouncements following the Christmas Day attack. In his first statement, Obama referred to Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab as "an isolated extremist." This is the same president who, after the Fort Hood, Tex., shooting, warned us "against jumping to conclusions" -- code for daring to associate the mass murder there with Nidal Hasan's Islamist ideology. Yet, with Abdulmutallab, Obama jumped immediately to the conclusion, against all existing evidence, that the would-be bomber acted alone.
Clearly, this on the job training isn't working out so well. Obama is determined to treat terrorism under a 9-10 mindset and punish the Bushies for doing otherwise. His decision to allow a special prosecutor for CIA interrogators will, I think in retrospect, be the single most destructive decision in all of this. The message to the CIA was, if you follow orders and push the envelope at all, then what was lawful under one administration could lead to your prosecution when administrations change. Nothing else Obama could have done will have such a devestating and long term effect on our national security.
More jarring still were Obama's references to the terrorist as a "suspect" who "allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device." . . .
Obama reassured the nation that this "suspect" had been charged. Reassurance? The president should be saying: We have captured an enemy combatant -- an illegal combatant under the laws of war: no uniform, direct attack on civilians -- and now to prevent future attacks, he is being interrogated regarding information he may have about al-Qaeda in Yemen.
Instead, Abdulmutallab is dispatched to some Detroit-area jail and immediately lawyered up. At which point -- surprise! -- he stops talking.
That is, as I pointed out in a post here, the penultimate travesty of Obama's acts in regards to this latest terrorist attempt. The American people seem to realize precisely the same thing. According to Rasmussen, 71% of Americans think Abdulmutallab should be in military custody, without a lawyer and U.S. Constitutional protections, and subject to interrogations. Indeed, a full 58% of Americans think this jihadi should be being waterboarded as we speak.
This absurdity renders hollow Obama's declaration that "we will not rest until we find all who were involved." Once we've given Abdulmutallab the right to remain silent, we have gratuitously forfeited our right to find out from him precisely who else was involved, namely those who trained, instructed, armed and sent him. . . .
The president said that this incident highlights "the nature of those who threaten our homeland." But the president is constantly denying the nature of those who threaten our homeland. On Tuesday, he referred five times to Abdulmutallab (and his terrorist ilk) as "extremist[s]."
A man who shoots abortion doctors is an extremist. An eco-fanatic who torches logging sites is an extremist. Abdulmutallab is not one of these. He is a jihadist. And unlike the guys who shoot abortion doctors, jihadists have cells all over the world; they blow up trains in London, nightclubs in Bali and airplanes over Detroit (if they can); and are openly pledged to war on America.
Any government can through laxity let someone slip through the cracks. But a government that refuses to admit that we are at war, indeed, refuses even to name the enemy -- jihadist is a word banished from the Obama lexicon -- turns laxity into a governing philosophy.
As I point out here, rather than address these security issues and rethink his position, Obama is now trying to defend his indefensible acts by searching for anything in the Bush administrations history that might show that they reacted even less appropriately than Obama to a similar situation. Indeed, if the American Spectator is reporting this accurately, Obama is quite willing to declassify secret information in this regard if it will help him with his political spin. There can be no question that this man is not merely weak in terms of national security, he is every bit as clueless as his Secretary of the Dept. of Homeland Security. He will get Americans killed, it is only a matter of time.
On a final note, I always check the comments to Krauthammer articles - at least a page of them. No one brings out the fire breathing, utterly incoherent far lefties from under their slime encrusted rocks like Krauthammer. That said, I was more than surprised to see that the vast majority of comments to this article are in support of Krauthammer's position. Between Rasmussen's poll that I reference above and the comments to Krauthammer's article, I really am beginning to sense a groundswell in America the likes of which we haven't seen for more than a decade or more. 2012 can't get here fast enough.