January 23, 2009

Obama's War on Terror "Surrender" May Mean Another Lincoln Moment in His Future

Over at Wizbang today, Kim Priestap notes the Washington Post article that seems to be a tacit admission that the War on Terror that the United States has waged with a good deal of success in the wake of 9/11 has not survived the first 100 hours of the Obama Presidency:

While Obama says he has no plans to diminish counterterrorism operations abroad, the notion that a president can circumvent long-standing U.S. laws simply by declaring war was halted by executive order in the Oval Office.

Key components of the secret structure developed under Bush are being swept away: The military's Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, facility, where the rights of habeas corpus and due process had been denied detainees, will close, and the CIA is now prohibited from maintaining its own overseas prisons. And in a broad swipe at the Bush administration's lawyers, Obama nullified every legal order and opinion on interrogations issued by any lawyer in the executive branch after Sept. 11, 2001.

It was a swift and sudden end to an era that was slowly drawing to a close anyway, as public sentiment grew against perceived abuses of government power. The feisty debate over the tactics employed against al-Qaeda began more than six years ago as whispers among confidants with access to the nation's most tightly held secrets. At the time, there was consensus in Congress and among the public that the United States would be attacked again and that government should do what was necessary to thwart the threat.

The lapdog liberals that support Obama are cheering the immediate return to the law enforcement model of counter-terrorism, somehow able to view that as a victory, even though that flawed model led us to void in the Manhattan skyline, a smoking crater in Shanksville, and a gaping wound in the hide of the Pentagon.

That failure also led the United States to engage in wars we are still fighting, with hundreds of thousands of Americans and foreigners killed and wounded in a struggle that first started in this nation's infancy.

Thomas Jefferson was the first American President to deal with this ideology, and dealt with it decisively with naval cannon and Marine Corps bayonets. To this day, Marine officers carry the Mameluke sword as a tribute to the honor they won in that conflict. Since the beginning of this nation we have understood that dealing with terrorism sometimes means terrorists must be put to the sword.

Our new President prefers to think that subpoenas are more effective, despite the fact every American President who has avoided conflict with modern terrorists—Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Clinton—has only served to encourage its growth. Only our most recent President sought to put terrorists and terrorist states on the defensive through military means, and as a result, we did not see another successful terror attack in the final seven years of his Presidency. Say what you will about his his domestic programs, his expansion of government, his expansive view of executive authority, and the loss—God forbid—of popularity among the world's lesser nations.

He kept us safe.

Barack Obama, less than a week into the first executive leadership role of his entire life, dispensed with all that has succeeded these past seven years without review.

He disarmed America with the arrogant stroke of a pen, secure in his belief that his idealism and ideology will keep us safe.

Instead, as North Korean continues it's nuclear program, Iran draws ever closer towards nuclear warheads of their own, and Pakistan's arsenal wavers in unsteady hands as it squares off against India without and Islamists within, Barack Obama faces the possibility of carrying out yet another parallel with Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln's Past. Obama's future?
Cold Harbor, 1865. Picking up the pieces.

A Presidency that sees the death of hundreds of thousands on American soil.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at January 23, 2009 02:02 PM

Looks like someone is the Decider here. Well, we had that election and anyone who didn't know they were voting for this change is an idiot but I wax redundant. Hey, maybe the peacemongers are right. Maybe hugs and fluffy pillows are the answer to global radical jihad. In any event, we shall see. Will it take 911 Jr. to get half the country on board? After all, for the first time in their lives they are truly proud of their country. It is an unsettling feeling, I'll wager.

Posted by: megapotamus at January 23, 2009 04:17 PM

9/11 junior? The next one will make 9/11 seem like a minor tickling sensation.

Think AQ bioterror attack, using bubonic plague or some other nasty bug against major population centers.
Can you say a hundred thousand dead?

And Obama will not acknowledge even then that he was wrong, instead trying to sweep any evidence under the table that it was not a natural event.

Posted by: J.T. Wenting at January 23, 2009 04:56 PM

I get the feeling it isn't really ideology - but arrogance and a sense of self-righteousness.

I have a feeling Obama will take the Kennedy path in dealing with the contemporary global threat that laughs at our (democracy's) laws and methods.

Kennedy was a big fan of the CIA and black ops and whatnot.

I think a man like Obama --- judging by his rising from the Chicago machine, and doings like knocking his opponents off ballots, and hanging out with the likes of Ayers and his wife and the likes of Wright, and things like wiping away 7 years of legal work on opinions and executive orders with the stroke of a pen --- is the kind of person who will think HE is the right man to be able to decide when tough interrogation methods are to be used and assassinations take place and people held without being disclosed to the public.

I would bet money right now that if we wait around 25 to 50 years ---- and get a chance to see government documents from Obama's reign that become declassified ----- we'll see Obama's people doing very similar things as Bush's....

....I really have little doubt about that...

Posted by: usinkorea at January 23, 2009 05:16 PM

I should have added an "of course" ---

Of course, Obama's move to using the Kennedy method of dealing with such a global menace will likely not come until at least a mid-level strike happens and he is forced to "react" - something like any one of the string of attacks that happened under Clinton's watch.

That is what I mean: I believe Obama will not be a Clinton but a Kennedy. He'll end up viewing the CIA as his own private army to use as he sees best, because he, not Bush, is righteous enough to understand what is good for America (while obviously Bush's badness made his own opinions wrongheaded from the start.)

Posted by: usinkorea at January 23, 2009 05:22 PM

"secure in his belief that his idealism and ideology will keep us safe'. He is secure in 'his idealism' since he was reared in Islam. Millions like to deny or overlook that but it appears he in now in full bore protection of radical murdering Islamist.
One of his friends will give him his Lincoln/Kennedy moment.

Posted by: Scrapiron at January 23, 2009 09:06 PM

Obama is no JFK.

Posted by: PA at January 23, 2009 10:44 PM

Iran will develop nuclear weapons. Obama will do nothing, other than send Hilary to engage in smart diplomacy. They will nuc Israel and America. Other terrorist organizations will attack America. Obama will not come to the aid of Israel. Obama will urge all Americans not to jump to conclusions and will call for calm and restraint from all parties. Obama will reduce American industrial capacity to a tiny fraction of current levels through environmental regulations and massive gas taxes, which will make the inevitable Arab oil embargo (they'll smell blood in the water and develop a more overt appreciation for jihad) against America somewhat less of a pain. We'll have universal health care, but there will be no doctors to provide it. Obama's respect for the Second Amendment will extend to taking all firearms into government safekeeping. By then, most Americans will be too morally feeble to object and the permanent class of government employees, dependent on the taxes of the few still productive, will go out to collect them, and will use deadly force against their fellow citizens to ensure their own favored place at the public trough.

Today, Obama reminded Republicans that he won. When a "leader" does that, there is no surer sign of their fecklessness and utter lack of morality. We're in for a rough ride.

Posted by: Mike at January 23, 2009 11:53 PM

"I would bet money right now that if we wait around 25 to 50 years ---- and get a chance to see government documents from Obama's reign that become declassified ----- we'll see Obama's people doing very similar things as Bush's...."

With the difference that he will use them against US citizens rather than terrorists.
You're talking about a person who loathes his own country and loves radical Islamists.

Posted by: J.T. Wenting at January 24, 2009 12:57 AM

For those who think JFK's foreign policy was laudable, remember what happened on his watch.

The Bay of Pigs was botched by him changing the plan and refusing to provide air support to troops we put on the beach facing 140:1. Brothers Jorge and Mario de Sylvia and Tito Reyes were cadets at Culver with me. Jorge was killed. The others ransomed for tractors.

As a plebe at Annapolis in October 1962, our Marine and aviator company officers went somewhere. The landing craft we were going to use in an amphibious landing were suddenly unavailable. Kennedy nearly started WWIII. The deal he made gave up our missiles in Turkey and guaranteed a Communist Cuba, enslaving millions for a half century.

Against Eisenhower's advice about a land war in Asia, Kennedy began our involvement in Vietnam, a war that killed 58,249 Americans and wounded 302,000 others.

Camelot it was not.

Posted by: arch at January 24, 2009 08:05 AM

There are a couple of issues once the Gitmo prisoners are taken to the US Mainland. Because they were on foreign soil, the sordid prisoner caselaw that developed since the Warren Court was not applicable to them. Once they touch US soil all that abominable pack of legalisms will be at their beck and call (and their ACLU lawyers') to daily harass the federal courts until they find a Carter or Clinton or Obama appointee to free them.
Also, Mr. Obama represents the Executive Branch, which means if he repudiates the legal basis for holding the prisoners, as he has done with the issuance of his ill advised Executive Orders, the Courts will be hard pressed to find such continued detention lawful especially if the terrorists are on US soil. Moreover, as the countries of origins of these terrorists will either facilitate their continued terrorism or imprison them under worse conditions, the lily livered liberals in federal courts, will not allow them to be deported. Can you say Khalid Mohammad guilty as sin free as a bird? Again, the self righteous hypocrisy of liberals will once again endanger this Republic.

Posted by: eaglewingz08 at January 24, 2009 09:34 AM

Eaglewingz208 points out the real problem here. That heretofore much of the court system has been hesitant to address the detainees as they were not on US soil (which is a major reason Gitmo was chosen in the first place).

That argument will go away. And you can bet there are thousands of lawyers and judges eager to set new precedent and get their names in the law school texts.

And I do understand the desire on the Left to minimize the awesome power of the state and to protect civil liberties. I am, after all, a conservative, and these are issues at the heart of conservativism.

But the fact is, the attempt to endow our enemies with the civil liberties of our citizens is unprecedented in human history. And quite obviously ill advised. I'm reminded that Tom Clancy wrote Patriot Games in 1987 and referenced that one goal of a terrorist was to use its civilized institutions against itself to lead to its own destruction. The man is prescient in more ways than most recognize when it comes to terrorism.

Posted by: XBradTC at January 24, 2009 12:53 PM

XBradTC's last point is the key one:

They are not trying to protect our civil liberties - they are not even trying to protect the Geneva Conventions --- they are trying to extend the rights of American citizens and those spelled out clearly for bona fide soldiers fighting in a conflict to every single person on earth. Every person involved in global terrorism is either supposed to be treated as a POW or as a John Gotti. It is absurd, and it empowers the terrorist organizations greatly.

Posted by: usinkorea at January 24, 2009 06:13 PM

I remember that episode, where they shut down CTU and all sorts of bad crap happened. Oh wait, that was TV? Is this where Obama is getting his ideas, and if so, what does that say about which side he's really on?

Posted by: HatlessHessian at January 24, 2009 11:50 PM

When Dubya first arrived in office, he pretty much negated many of Clinton's policies. Thus, he made it clear that Kyoto was dead (not that Clinton had submitted it to Congress for ratification), reversed some of the last EPA rulings, made it clear he would review the 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea, etc.

This was characterized as throwing out the baby with the bathwater, b/c it was mindlessly rejecting Clinton initiatives, simply b/c they were Clinton's.

The AP, by contrast, views Obama's comparable broad rejection of Dubya's policies as "ending divisiveness and partisanship."

Heh. Fortunately, we have an unbiased press.

Posted by: Lurking Observer at January 25, 2009 12:57 PM

"He who defends everything, defends nothing." -Frederick II

Posted by: SPW at January 25, 2009 09:07 PM

I hate to shatter Lurking Observer's illusions with reality, but the Senate killed Kyoto, not Bush - the Senate, controlled by Democrats killed it with a 99-0 vote.

Posted by: Da Possum at January 26, 2009 11:54 AM

"...the notion that a president can circumvent long-standing U.S. laws simply by declaring war..."

I guess none of the editors at the WaPo could be bothered to check who is authorized to declare war?
(hint: it ain't the President.)

Posted by: Larry at January 28, 2009 12:37 AM