Straw Obama

Here is an entertaining item from a Washington Post Editorial:

THERE IS, it seems evident, more than enough blame to go around in the botched handling of the botched Christmas bombing. Not for some Republicans. With former vice president Richard B. Cheney in the lead, they have embarked on an ugly course to use the incident to inflict maximum political damage on President Obama. That's bad enough, but their scurrilous line of attack is even worse. The claim that the incident shows the president's fecklessness in the war on terror is unfounded — no matter how often it is repeated.

These critics have set up a straw Obama, a weak and naive leader who allegedly takes terrorism lightly, thinks that playing nicely with terrorists will make them stop, and fails to understand the threat that the United States faces from violent extremists. Mr. Cheney said that the incident had made "clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war." Likewise, Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) called on Mr. Obama to "recognize that we are at war with a murderous enemy who will not relent because we heed political correctness, acquiesce to international calls for deference or close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay." Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.), the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano "and the rest of the Obama administration view their role as law enforcement, first responders dealing with the aftermath of an attack. And we believe in a forward-looking approach to stopping these attacks before they happen."

That's an improvement in our public discourse.  They go on to argue, however, that Obama does view the war on terror mainly, though more pragmatically, through the lens of war and violence:

Words first. "Evil does exist in the world," Mr. Obama said in accepting the Nobel Peace Prize. "Negotiations cannot convince al-Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms." In his weekly radio speech Saturday, he disposed of the war-vs.-law-enforcement canard, pointing out that in his inaugural address he made it clear that "0ur nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred and that we will do whatever it takes to defeat them and defend our country, even as we uphold the values that have always distinguished America among nations." "

Damning with faint praise.  It's gets more silly, because the Post now praises itself for its tough approach to the Obama administration in the wake of the knickerbomber:

It is possible to disagree with the administration's decision to bring criminal charges against the suspect in the failed airplane bombing, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, although we think that was the proper course. It is possible to fault, as we have, some of the administration's public statements in the immediate aftermath of the attack. And as the president has acknowledged, the incident revealed failures in intelligence and in security screening that must be urgently identified and corrected. The country would benefit from a serious and bipartisan effort in Congress to ensure that the lessons of the Christmas attack are learned. A groundless campaign to portray Mr. Obama as soft on terror can only detract from that effort.

Wondering what statements those are?  Follow that link and you get this:

Finally, it is hardly reassuring to argue, as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano did on ABC's "This Week," that "once the incident occurred, the system worked." The attack was averted because of the luck of a faulty detonator and the quick response of alert passengers. White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the president has ordered a review into "did the government do everything that it could have with the information that they had?" The answer to that question seems obvious.

Try to appreciate the sheer inanity of that observation–reaffirmed again a week later: Napolitano argued that <BOLD>ONCE</BOLD> the attack happened, the "system worked."  She did not argue (that's not an argument anyway, that's a statement), that the system for preventing attacks of that nature worked.  The Post, unlike Krauthammer the other day, actually quoted Napolitano correctly.  I don't know what their excuse could be.

About John Casey

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