John Bolton

John Bolton

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Monday, January 04, 2010

How Obama's Politicization of the War on Terror Is Getting Americans Killed

Obama puts politics above national security!

Time Magazine ran a story on December 23rd reporting a record record number of terrorism incidents occurring in the U.S. since Obama was inaugurated. That story ran two days before the Nigerian underwear bomber tried to take down a plane as it approached Detroit. So much for all that "hope and change," so much for all those apologies to the Muslim world and promises to close Gitmo which were supposed to make us safer. As I wrote a few days ago, Obama's weak approach to this problem actually invites terrorism.

But there's another dimension to this as well. Looking back on the first year of the Obama Administration it's striking how often Obama puts political considerations ahead of national security.

From the first day of the Obama Administration, when he announced he would close the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay without any kind of plan on what to do with the terrorists he sent a signal that pleasing his radical left wing base took precedence over common sense policies that protect Americans.

Then of course there was the mini war Obama's Justice Dept. launched against the CIA with renewed investigations of the enhanced interrogation techniques which were key to foiling plots which could have killed thousands of Americans. The consequence of Obama trying to put the actions of George Bush and Dick Cheney on trial meant that many in the CIA were no longer confident they could do the job necessary to keep America safe and avoid the legal entanglements headed their way.

More recently, the decision to permit Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and some of the most senior Al Queda terrorists to be put on trial in New York leaves people specializing in national security scratching their heads. There is simply no good reason to do such a thing and a dozen very good reasons not to. Again, it was a political decision by the Obama Administration which overrode national security concerns.

Abdulmutallab No Right to Constitution's Protections

Then there was the underwear bomber. Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian who attempted to blow an airliner out of the sky over Detroit on Christmas day is now sitting comfortably in jail. Once his lawyers arrived, it's reported he stopped talking.

Our ability to get information which might prevent other plots was severely compromised by treating him as a criminal, rather than an enemy combatant which the law allows:

Abdulmutallab could have been detained without charge and interrogated outside of the constraints of federal rules to give the administration an opportunity to gather information in hopes of thwarting a future attack. The Supreme Court has acknowledged this authority, and the Obama administration has gone so far as to argue that Congress, through the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force, gave the president the right to hold combatants indefinitely as long as a court rules the initial detention was justified.
Leaders from both political parties have argued against treating Abdulmutallab as a common criminal. Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said: He's a terrorist, and I don't think he deserves the full range of protections of our criminal justice system embodied in the Constitution of the United States." Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) summed it up this way:
“He should be questioned now and ever since he was apprehended for intelligence that could help us stop the next attack or get the people in Yemen who directed him to do what he did,” he said. “We should follow the rule of law, but the rule of law that is relevant here is the rule of the law of war.”
Columnist Thomas Sowell argued in November: "Terrorists are not even entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention, much less the Constitution of the United States."

Obama Administration is full speed ahead with plans to send more terrorists back to Yemen

In the wake of the underwear bomber plot we learned that former Gitmo detainees who were returned to Yemen were the masterminds of the attack. Yemen has shown to be incapable of imprisoning or rehabilitating terrorists returned to it's care. Earlier this year that country released 170 terrorists who signed a pledge not to engage in further terrorism. Let's not forget the 2006 escape from a Yemeni prison in which the bombers of the USS Cole in which 17 Americans died.

So why, oh why, oh why is the Obama Administration so hell bent on returning dozens more of the worst of the worst terrorists still at Gitmo to Yemen? John Brennan, the White House counter-terrorism advisor insisted that the Obama Administration would "do this the right way at the right time."

Again, a bipartisan chorus of voices expresses less than full confidence in the Obama Administration to "do this the right way." Speaking for most, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) said on "This Week," "I think it is a bad time to send the 90 or so Yemenis back to Yemen."

Politics Trumps National Security in Obama White House

The Obama Administration has taken one political decision after another trumping national security concerns. You'd almost think they didn't believe there was a war on.

That's how former Vice President Dick Cheney sees it:
"As I’ve watched the events of the last few days it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war. He seems to think if he has a low-key response to an attempt to blow up an airliner and kill hundreds of people, we won’t be at war. He seems to think if he gives terrorists the rights of Americans, lets them lawyer up and reads them their Miranda rights, we won’t be at war. He seems to think if we bring the mastermind of Sept. 11 to New York, give him a lawyer and trial in civilian court, we won’t be at war.

“He seems to think if he closes Guantanamo and releases the hard-core Al Qaeda-trained terrorists still there, we won’t be at war. He seems to think if he gets rid of the words, ‘war on terror,’ we won’t be at war. But we are at war and when President Obama pretends we aren’t, it makes us less safe. Why doesn’t he want to admit we’re at war? It doesn’t fit with the view of the world he brought with him to the Oval Office. It doesn’t fit with what seems to be the goal of his presidency — social transformation — the restructuring of American society. President Obama’s first object and his highest responsibility must be to defend us against an enemy that knows we are at war."

The Obama Administration is clearly taking risks with national security. When the next attack is successful with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Americans dead will we find out that the political decisions taken by the Obama Administration were responsible for the loss of information which could have prevented the attack or for the release of the terrorists who perpetrated it?

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