Wednesday, December 30, 2009

We. Are. At. War

I know some in the media are getting their panties all in a twist bemoaning the partisan nature of complaints about the the loyal opposition's anger over the president's (and his team's) response to the Christmas Day bomber. Horrors! Hallowed national security issues are being sullied with partisanship!

One, do you even remember the Bush years and our loyal opposition's treatment of him and his policies?

Two, and more important, while the complaints of our sober class suggest the loyal opposition is exploiting a national security issue for political gain, let me suggest that this is not the issue at all. After all, you have the sight of conservatives supporting the president's Afghan surge and supporting his continued progress in Iraq. Where's the politics there? Is it really so easy to assume that people willing to support the president in one area of national security are really eager to hammer the president for a mistake in another?

I have tried very hard to judge what the president has done and said, and I don't believe I can be accused of incubating Obama Derangement Sydrome on this site. I've complained and commended the president, depending on the issue--or put off judgment from insufficient information or time. And mistakes happen in war. I don't blame the president for errors in waging war. Stuff happens. You correct the mistake. You drive on. And you win.

My immediate reaction to the attack was to be angry at the attackers--not angry at Obama. We are at war and I expect to be attacked despite our best efforts to stop our enemies.

But what set me off about this latest incident is the display of a complete lack of apparent appreciation by the administration that the Christmas Day bombing attempt was in fact a national security issue. Napolitano's bizarre reaction that the system worked (if you squinted and tilted your head just so) was just the first straw. Instead of appearing to view this as an act of war, the administration has hiked our security level to Code Pink.

And since the president and his purported national security team have belittled the very idea that we are at war with Islamist terrorists, it was no great leap in logic to conclude from their actions and language that this team just doesn't feel at war. Not in their bones.

I understand errors, mistakes, blunders, and simple bad luck in war. If I think our president is fighting, I'll cut him slack for mistakes. What I don't understand is failing to know we are at war. And there are people out there waging war against us!

A man tried to board a commercial airliner in Mogadishu last month carrying powdered chemicals, liquid and a syringe that could have caused an explosion in a case bearing chilling similarities to the terrorist plot to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner, officials told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

I won't speak for others, but this is what has prompted my astounded anger at the adminsitration in the face of an enemy attack on us. I am mad that they just don't seem to get that we are at war.

UPDATE: Robinson is outraged over Cheney's comments that he doubts the president really thinks we're at war. Robinson quotes the president on a number of occasions to defend the president and damn Cheney for that "flat-out lie" and for failing to "put country first."

Nice try, Mr. Robinson. Once again, do people forget how the Left and even liberals treated President Bush's war policies? Where was the "country-first" attitude among our loyal opposition?

Look, I didn't reflexively condemn President Obama over the Christmas Day attack. Read my posts from Christmas day to the present on the attack. You won't find any eagerness to blame the president for the attack or score political points. I was mad at our jihadi enemies.And I still am.

But what finally roused my anger against the administration was their apparent failure to see the attack as an act of war--which fits in with their actions this year despite escalation in Afghanistan and the words that Robinson cites. And the very anger of the Left over the president's war policies in Afghanistan that Robinson uses to defend the president's sincerity in fighting highlights why war supporters have cause to want more than words from the president--the Left was the president's most fanatical base of support during the campaign despite Obama's declaration that he'd devote more resources to fight the good war in Afghanistan and even go into Pakistan if necessary.

Got that? The Left heard those campaign words vowing to fight in Afghanistan yet assumed that candidate Obama was not telling the truth--just saying what the rubes wanted to hear in order to get elected. So that's why the Left is angry with President Obama over the escalation in Afghanistan--they never believed the president was telling the truth about fighting the "good" war. So war supporters are supposed to take his words at face value?

As for the words about the attack that the president first said, I wasn't upset about the three-day delay. That wasn't even on my radar screen. What upset me about the president was that his first statement did not seem to reflect any basic feeling that we are at war. And yes, during the Bush presidency I periodically hammered the president and his top people for not speaking out constantly on the need to wage war in Iraq to bolster public support for victory. It was a constant frustration of mine. But at least I knew that the president knew deep down that we were at war and I trusted he wanted to win.

And if you want me to believe that the past words of the administration are enough to show where his heart is, explain why the White House responded so much faster to Cheney's remarks than to the attack. I guess it depends on who you hate more and who you think the real threat to America is. And face it, the threat they fear more doesn't hide out in Pakistan, and the people they really hate show up at tea party protests.

I'll continue to support the president's policies when he wages war, because I do put country first. As I stated after Obama won the election, I sincerely hoped that our country would be so well off and secure that the people would happily reelect him. I still feel that way (although that hope rests on him not governing as I always suspected he would). Just because our anti-war side was willing to lose a war to win the White House doesn't mean I can justify the same outlook in myself or others who support victory.

And I believe I do try to honestly evaluate what the president does without letting my bias warp my processing of information. But I'll always have cause to worry about whether the president's words and actions really reflect any conviction that we are at war with jihadis and their ideology, and that he believes it is his job to lead us to victory over that enemy.

UPDATE: Oh, and I forgot to address Robinson's excuse in defense of President Obama that some of the apparent plotters were released from Guantanamo Bay by President Bush. Yes, they were released by Bush. And plenty of people--including me--favor keeping those unlawful combatants imprisoned for the duration of the war. I was not happy that we released prisoners from Gitmo. Is Eugene Robinson joining the "hold them for the duration" crowd? I doubt that.

If you want to examine the history of Guantanamo Bay jihadi releases, let's look at the reason Bush let any go at all--the relentless and dishonest criticism of the global Left over the supposed inhumanity of the prison and the supposed injustice of holding that scum. Under that kind of pressure, I'm relieved we didn't release more under pressure from the ACLU and the so-called human rights industry.

But I welcome Robinson's new determination to hold the murdering thugs until they die of old age.