Obama's declaration that he has the right to kill American citizens suspected of terrorism without judicial review was a shock but not a surprise to many. It's a cliché by now to repeat that Obama's deeds in so many things did not match the high sounding positions he took as a candidate before the 2008 election. But it's worth a reminder of just how far Obama has gone from those days when he promised to restore America's moral standing in the world.
August 1, 2007 then Senator Obama delivered one of those carefully crafted teleprompter speeches with all the right sounding words. His address laid out a multi point plan to address what he said were America's weak points in foreign affairs and national security policy including the war on terrorism. It's worth reading just to see how little he has accomplished. But then, for Obama words mean more than deeds or accomplishments.
Obama was particularly harsh in criticizing Bush Administration policy in fighting the war on terror:
OBAMA: I will provide our intelligence and law enforcement agencies with the tools they need to track and take out the terrorists without undermining our Constitution and our freedom. That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are. And it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists. The FISA court works. The separation of powers works. Our Constitution works. We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers, and that justice is not arbitrary.Of course Obama continued with ALL of the Bush Administration policies he referenced above and added the new one recently authorizing killing American citizens. While I was reading the speech transcript I couldn't help noticing a few other areas:
OBAMA: And I won’t hesitate to use the power of American diplomacy to stop countries from obtaining these weapons or sponsoring terror. The lesson of the Bush years is that not talking does not work. Go down the list of countries we’ve ignored and see how successful that strategy has been. We haven’t talked to Iran, and they continue to build their nuclear program. We haven’t talked to Syria, and they continue support for terror. We tried not talking to North Korea, and they now have enough material for 6 to 8 more nuclear weapons.The problem is that Obama's talking, or at least trying to, to rogue states like Iran and North Korea hasn't worked any better. Iran is further along with a nuclear device than they were five years ago and continues to export arms and terrorism. The recent discovery of a massive Iranian arms shipment to radicals in Yemen is proof enough of that. And what a shame we don't have a White House press corps that could ask Obama how his policy of engagement has paid off in Syria with the death toll there rising over 60,000.
I will work with our friend and allies, but I won’t outsource our diplomacy in Tehran to the Europeans, or our diplomacy in Pyongyang to the Chinese. I will do the careful preparation needed, and let these countries know where America stands. They will no longer have the excuse of American intransigence.
As far as candidate Obama's complaint about "outsourcing our diplomacy" that's exactly what President Obama has done in critical situations like Libya where one White House aide described Administration policy as "leading from behind." We've all seen how that worked out.
Then there's this:
Al Qaeda’s new recruits come from Africa and Asia, the Middle East and Europe.Under Obama the anarchy that fuels Al Queda has spread to Libya, Algeria and our once stable ally Egypt. Also, states like Mali are currently under siege by Al Queda whose hand was strengthened by American provided training for local troops that then defected to the enemy.
We know where extremists thrive. In conflict zones that are incubators of resentment and anarchy. In weak states that cannot control their borders or territory, or meet the basic needs of their people. From Africa to central Asia to the Pacific Rim– nearly 60 countries stand on the brink of conflict or collapse. The extremists encourage the exploitation of these hopeless places on their hate-filled websites.
Finally, in Obama's 2007 speech he talked about viewing world trouble spots from a helicopter as a U.S. Senator and wondered "when those faces look up at an American helicopter, do they feel hope, or do they feel hate? " Do those faces now look up and fear the next American drone attack? So much for hope and change!