Friday, January 08, 2010
Today's Disastrous Obama-Brennan-Incompetano Presser
The downside, of course, is that one or more Americans will likely be slaughtered by Islamic radicals if only because this president's targeting of his own country's intel community simply for serving the Bush administration has taken them off their game in the interest of self-preservation. These are human beings with families and lives who serve their country in the worst hellholes and trenches around the world and who know the man in the White House is NOT on their side, that he has placed persecuting them over protecting the country in the hope of garnering political gain.
And the bottom line is that none of this would be so if Obama had been honest with the American people about his world view, because if he had, he would never have been elected. But again, he wasn't honest. And now this.
Let's begin with NRO's The Corner:
Instant Review by Cliff May
Close But No Cigar by Clifford May
Watching the White House briefing and my reaction: This is much too bureaucratic to be reassuring.
Also, what I think most Americans already grasp:
1) The father says his son may have joined al-Qaeda. One phone call should have been enough to cancel the kid's visa to the U.S. Why didn't that happen? I didn't hear an answer.
2) Abdulmutallab buys his one-way ticket with cash, has no luggage, and has been in Yemen for the past few months. So you pull him out of line, question him and screen him. Why didn't that happen? I didn't hear an answer.
And:White House national security adviser James Jones says Americans will feel "a certain shock" when they read an account being released Thursday of the missed clues that could have prevented the alleged Christmas Day bomber from ever boarding the plane.
So where's the shock? What was new? What did I miss?
Lehman: Clueless Obama by Robert Costa
Perhaps in an effort to answer conservative critics who have charged that he doesn’t seem to understand that a global conflict is underway, President Obama said today
We are at war, we are at war against al Qaeda …
Well, yes, but somehow I can’t imagine FDR saying
We are at war, we are at war with the Wehrmacht.
Why not? Well, because we were at war not only with the armed forces of Germany. We also were at war with violent, supremacist ideologies (e.g. Nazi, Fascist, Japanese militarist) intent on the destruction and conquest of the democratic nations.
As we are again today (e.g. radical Islam in both its Shia and Sunni forms).
BTW, my column for NRO today, looks at Paul Johnson's brief history of the 1930s, a time that seems remarkably similar to the present.
After watching President Obama’s remarks on national security this afternoon, John Lehman, the secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration and a member of the 9/11 Commission, tells National Review Online that, “frankly, I’m pissed off.”
“President Obama just doesn’t get it,” says Lehman. “I don’t think he has a clue. It’s all pure spin. He’s ignoring key issues and taking respectable professionals like John Brennan and turning them into hacks and shills. It’s beyond contempt.”
“The president has ignored the 9/11 Commission’s report,” says Lehman. “This whole idea that we can fix things by jumping higher and faster is ridiculous. The fact is that the system worked just like we said it would work if the president failed to give the Director of National Intelligence the tools he needs: it’s bloated, bureaucratic, layered, and stultified.”
“President Obama continues to totally ignore one of the important thrusts of our 9/11 recommendations, which is that you have to approach counterterrorism as a multiagency intelligence issue, and not as a law-enforcement issue. He’s made a lot of commission’s members angry for dismissing our report and ignoring key recommendations.” Obama, he adds, has taken a “lawyer-like, politically-correct approach” to national security issues like terrorist watchlists and no-fly lists. “You got to blame the president for enforcing the politically-correct and legalistic policies that led to these failures.”
Bolton: Obama Misses the Big Picture by Robert Costa
Nuff said? No.
John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, tells National Review Online that President Obama’s remarks on recent American intelligence and security failures this afternoon “miss the big picture” and “ignore the problems we face in dealing with al-Qaeda.”
“I didn’t hear any hint of the president planning to deal with al-Qaeda’s growing capabilities,” says Bolton. “Now, maybe that’s still to come, but, for now, it seems like the president still thinks this is about one person and the intelligence agencies. He outlined a message of government management when he should have addressed the importance of destroying al-Qaeda’s base camps and eradicating its networks.”
Obama, Bolton adds, “needs to remember that classic formulation: the best defense is a good offense.”
“If we’re simply relying on the intelligence agencies to keep people off a plane, then we’ll have many more examples of near misses or, God forbid, a tragedy, in coming years,” says Bolton. “Pushing for a shift in the intelligence bureaucracy won’t stop al-Qaeda. I don’t think the president realizes the implications of what he’s doing with this kind of law-enforcement response.”
“The tone of the remarks is not what’s important,” says Bolton. “We’re not judging some rhetoric exercise. The metric of government is effective action and what he’s proposing addresses issues at the molecular level, not the molar level.”
Cheney: 'We’re not going to win this war through more intense airport screenings' by Robert Costa
And when did the matter of "an isolated extremist" suddenly morph into a "race against time" against an incoming horde? Are there suddenly a "shocking" number of isolated extremists emanating from the same source in oh, let's say, Yemen?
Liz Cheney, the founder of Keep America Safe, tells National Review Online that President Obama’s national-security remarks this afternoon, plus the press conference with John Brennan and Janet Napolitano, were “extremely troubling.”
“Over the course of the last year, President Obama has taken his eye off the ball and allowed America's counterterrorism systems to erode,” says Cheney. “Brennan and Napolitano both said they were surprised to learn from the review released today that al-Qaeda in Yemen was operational. Napolitano went on to say she hadn't realized previously that al-Qaeda might use an individual to attack us. Yet, in the past year, we’ve had three attacks on America from individuals with Yemeni connections — from the terrorist at the recruiting station in Little Rock to the terrorist at Ford Hood and now the Christmas Day bomber.” Thus, she says, “it is inexplicable that our nation's top counterterrorism officials would be surprised by a method of attack we've repeatedly seen before.”
“At the end of the day, we cannot win this war without daily, unwavering, resolute presidential stewardship,” says Cheney. “By tasking his counterterrorism officials to spend their time focused on trying to close Guantanamo and investigating their predecessors, by treating terrorists as criminals, by treating terrorist attacks on the U.S. as the acts of ‘isolated extremists,’ President Obama has failed to make fighting terror and keeping the nation safe his top priority.”
“The president says he’s using every tool at his disposal but he’s not,” says Cheney.
“We can't prevail against terrorists without intelligence. When President Obama treats terrorists like criminals, reads them their Miranda rights and allows them to lawyer up, he ensures we won't get the intelligence we need.” In addition, Cheney says, “When the president stopped the enhanced-interrogation programs and revealed our tactics to our enemies, he significantly reduced our ability to successfully interrogate any senior al-Qaeda leaders. Intelligence is key. Let’s be clear: We’re not going to win this war through more intense airport screenings.”