Kudos from this conservative to President Barack Obama for visiting the troops in Afghanistan this week. It is good for the morale of our armed forces and as a sign of resolve to our enemies, for our Commander in Chief to be seen in theatre. Moreover, as I said when Obama took office, we have only one president at a time and one foreign policy, which policy deserves great deference since if his doesn't succeed, America's won't.
We also must acknowledge, before proceeding to certain criticisms of his Administration's conduct of national security policy, that the President has at least stayed the course in Iraq and Afghanistan and increased the offensive against our enemies in Pakistan. These are not unsubstantial actions and certainly exceed many conservatives' expectations of him prior to his Inauguration.
The Luck of the Kenyan-Indonesian Hawaiian
Sadly though, our expectations of him were very low after his 2008 election victory and, under Obama, the homeland, that was kept safe for nearly seven years under President George W. Bush after the 2001-2 al Qaeda hijacking attacks and anthrax attacks of unknown origin, again suffered bloodshed at the hands Islamist terrorism in Fort Hood, TX. Moreover, luck seems to be the main reason hundreds more were not killed in New York and Detroit by the would be Times Square and Underwear Bombers, respectively.
Prior to the Fort Hood, Times Square and Detroit incidents we were told that Barack Hussein Obama's Kenyan and Indonesian familial relations and new conciliatory tone, as expressed in apology tours to the Arab World and literal and figurative bows to Arab and Muslin leaders would better keep us safe than his predecessor's alleged "Cowboy" mentality.
The victims of the bloodbaths in Iran and Fort Hood would beg to differ. But I suspect that our cerebral Chief Executive might view those incidents as puny, given the revelations of his attitude about terrorist attacks as communicated to author Bob Woodward:
According to Woodward's meeting-by-meeting, memo-by-memo account of the 2009 Afghan strategy review, the president avoided talk of victory as he described his objectives.
"This needs to be a plan about how we're going to hand it off and get out of Afghanistan," Obama is quoted as telling White House aides as he laid out his reasons for adding 30,000 troops in a short-term escalation. "Everything we're doing has to be focused on how we're going to get to the point where we can reduce our footprint. It's in our national security interest. There cannot be any wiggle room."
Obama rejected the military's request for 40,000 troops as part of an expansive mission that had no foreseeable end...
Woodward's book portrays Obama and the White House as barraged by warnings about the threat of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and confronted with the difficulty in preventing them. During an interview with Woodward in July, the president said, "We can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever . . . we absorbed it and we are stronger."
"We" didn't absorb it Mr. President. 3000 that aren't stronger today absorbed it for us, because of a decade of weak responses to a series of terrorist attacks against Americans at home and abroad that convinced Osama bin Laden that America was the weak horse and a paper tiger vulnerable to attack at home. We got stronger (no thanks to you and Hillary's two votes as Senators to de-fund the war effort) thanks to the resolve of your predecessor as Commander-in-Chief and our armed forces that killed tens of thousands of would be US-mainland attackers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Obama's above statements were made in the context of "CYA" testimony of other administration officials (see below) in the wake of the Fort Hood massacre, the first successful terrorist attack on American soil since 911 and the 2002 Anthrax attacks, and other near misses in Times Square and Detroit, e.g.:
A US security official on Wednesday said the country was capable of withstanding another terrorist attack and bouncing back, saying Americans needed to put extremist threats in "perspective."Michael Leiter, head of the National Counterterrorism Center, said despite recent successes there was no guarantee that intelligence and law enforcement agencies could prevent every attempt by extremists to attack the United States.
"We're not going to have a perfect batting average and its important that Americans understand that," Leiter told a conference on intelligence reform.
"It's important that we approach this with national resilience that in fact shows that this country is not going to be defeated by" extremists, Leiter said.
"We do have to put the threat in perspective," he said.
Leiter said security agencies faced the threat of "low-probability," large-scale attacks involving possible weapons of mass destruction as well as "high probability", smaller-scale attacks such as the shooting rampage at Fort Hood last year that left 13 dead.
But terrorist attacks should not be viewed as "cutting into the fabric of our society," he said.
"One man with courage makes a majority." - Andrew Jackson