A War Defended

May 22, 2009

A War Defended


National Security: President Obama and former Vice President Cheney verbally sparred over how best to fight terrorism in the post-9/11 world. If it had been a real fight, it would have been stopped in the first round.

Read More: Global War On Terror

We have to hand it to President Obama. His speech at the National Archives, laden with legal abstractions and defensive rationalizations for his administration’s national security policies, at least pays lip service to an “extremist ideology (that) threatens our people” and to the plain fact that “al Qaida is actively planning to attack us again.”

Both quite true. We’re glad he recognizes that much.

But he goes on to say that since 9/11, the previous administration “made a series of hasty decisions” based largely on “fear rather than foresight, and all too often trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions.”

In fact, after 9/11, the Bush administration carefully crafted a new national security policy for the U.S. based on a rational calculation of the threat before us — a policy, by the way, that kept the homeland safe from terrorist attack for 7 1/2 years.

Bush’s White House didn’t “trim” facts; it laid them out, as best it could, at a time of great confusion and chaos. And it did so with overwhelming bipartisan agreement — which fell apart only after the polls shifted against the war in Iraq. Yet, Obama ignores the blatant politicization of our national security to portray the Bush administration as unhinged and ideological.

This, of course, is false. And, as Vice President Cheney reminds us, 9/11 did not come out of the blue. It was the culmination of a series of Clinton-era attacks stretching back to the 1993 car-bombing of the World Trade Center, the 1995 bombing of a U.S. training facility in Saudi Arabia, the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, the 1998 attacks on our embassies in East Africa, and the 2000 attack in Yemen on the USS Cole.

Problem is, Obama seems to want to return to that era — a time when, as Cheney notes, terrorism was treated as a “law enforcement problem, with everything handled after the fact.”

What a stark contrast in attitudes. After 9/11, “Everyone expected a follow-on attack, and our job was to stop it,” said Cheney. Topping the list of concerns was “a 9/11 with nuclear weapons.”

That’s why the nuclear network of A.Q. Khan was shut down. It’s also why Saddam Hussein, with known ties to terror groups including al-Qaida, and with a nuclear program of his own, was deposed.

For those with short memories, Cheney talks of being hustled into a bunker on 9/11, where he got “word of the crash in Pennsylvania, the final phone calls from hijacked planes, the final horror for those who jumped to their death to escape burning alive.”

“I’ll freely admit,” he says, “that watching a coordinated, devastating attack on your country from an underground bunker at the White House can affect how you view your responsibilities.”

That is a sane, grown-up response — not a lawyerly response premised on the trendy idea that, somehow, we are to blame for the attacks, that America, as some on the left have said, “had it coming.”

When called upon, President Bush and Vice President Cheney took their responsibilities seriously. They made tough decisions to keep us safe from the predations of terrorists whose ultimate goal is to murder our people and destroy our civilization.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: