Nevertheless, it’s fair to criticize a mind set – the idea that somehow terrorists will go away if we stop thinking about them, announce early withdrawals or promise to close GITMO. This mind set has not made us stronger, safer or more respected, whatever “more respected” means.
The Washington Post makes this point today:
“From the beginning of his tenure, the president has been reluctant to build a legal framework that would assume that the fight against al-Qaeda and like-minded groups might go on for a long time. He not only proposed closing the prison at Guantanamo, rightly given its poisonous effect on the United States’ image, but he also opposed options to hold prisoners taken in future operations. That may be one reason so many alleged terrorists have been killed during his time in office and so few captured. It also helps explain the quandary the United States faces with its non-Afghan prisoners when it transfers control of the Bagram prison to Afghanistan. The United States is holding prisoners of war without fully acknowledging the war.
The president also has sought to minimize U.S. involvement in dangerous countries as much and as quickly as possible. He failed to negotiate a follow-on force in Iraq, where violence is again spiraling out of control. He has resisted engagement in Syria, where vicious brigades associated with al-Qaeda are establishing beachheads. He has provided little assistance to Tunisia or Libya, where emerging democracies are struggling to contain Islamist militias. He surged troops to Afghanistan but simultaneously announced a timetable for their withdrawal, which is underway.”
Add to this fine editorial that President Obama has not addressed the American people about any of these events.
We have a president who went out of his way to talk to the press about the Martin/Zimmerman verdict. He is now on an economic speaking tour as well. He will speak to Jay Leno again.
Do you recall the last time that a modern US president was so silent about issues of national security? I can’t.