October 02, 2011

Barack Obama: Anti-Terror Warrior?

I was discussing the recent death of Jihadist Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born Al-Qaeda honcho, in a CIA directed Predator drone attack, with an acquaintance. My acquaintance is a fellow I've known for several years who, while not a flaming Marxist, still thinks Barack Obama is slicker than sliced bread, though he is beginning to admit that perhaps a bit of mold is starting to form on the loaf (or is that the loafer?) He's obviously seeking reasons to maintain that old, tingle-up-the-leg, glistening pecs, Obama is a god fervor, and was going on about Mr. Obama's manly mojo in authorizing the strike on Osama Bin Laden and now, the vile and deranged al-Awlaki. To his way of thinking, this—and the fact that Guantanamo Bay is still open for business—is proof positive that Mr. Obama is a genuine, fire-breathing anti-terrorist all-American warrior for truth, justice and the American way. Oh yes: he was also exercised that al-Awlaki, an American citizen, was not given a proper civilian trial before being executed. Irony challenged, my acquaintance.

As to Awlaki's citizenship, the facts are clear. Awlaki was an American citizen, but a citizen who took up arms against America. We know this because he explicitly told us, many times, that he was at war with America. We know that he was a top enemy commander and that he was directly involved in the planning and execution of attacks against America, American interests and Americans, attacks resulting in American deaths, the Fort Hood attack being only a single example.
Arguably, this would make Awlaki guilty of treason, and if captured, he could be tried for that offense. However, capture and trial were not required for one very powerful and well understood—legally speaking—reason: we are at war.

It is hard for most Americans to understand this simple fact: we are at war and have been since at least the first attack on the World Trade Center on Feb. 26, 1993 and probably since the Islamic takeover of Iran in late 1979. Because most Americans have to make no sacrifice, because the ongoing war does not disrupt or directly affect their lives in any way, the very concept of war seems a matter of semantics, a debating topic, not a deadly, personal or national reality. We will almost certainly be at war for a generation or more. We may not consider ourselves to be at war with our Islamist enemy, but he does not share our peaceful convictions.

In war, our declared enemies may be killed whenever and wherever they are found. This simple fact does not change because of the nationality of the enemy. This too is a well-settled fact of law. There are no clear demarcation lines on a worldwide battlefield. Americans have, in past wars, gone over to the side of America's enemies and have as a result become indistinguishable from any other enemy soldier or leader. We have killed them when necessary and captured them when possible. When captured they were tried by military commissions.

Some allude to the Geneva Conventions, but they fail to understand that any declared combatants that do not wear the clearly distinguishable uniform of their nation, that target civilians, that use civilians as shields, or who are non-state actors—all characteristics that describe our Islamist enemy—may be summarily shot when and where they are captured without trial. Such people have none of the protections the Geneva Accords provide to legitimate soldiers acting on behalf of their nation, nor do they deserve them. Even if Awlaki was captured, my acquaintance would doubtless demand that he be tried in a civilian court, a trial for which there is no legal requirement or historical precedence.

Some have suggested that due to the unique nature of our current world wide conflict, the Congress should enact standards for stripping Americans of citizenship so that they may be killed without trial when acting as an enemy of America, but this is unnecessary and likely designed to impede rather than assist America in her war fighting efforts. American and international laws and standards are quite clear on all of the issues involved and have been since the early 1900s.

Mr. Obama and his anti-terror bona fides are quite another matter. He has shown himself, long before his inauguration, to be a man who recognizes no Constitutional restraints, no legal obstacles to his policies and goals. Recall his pseudo-presidential great seal of Obama trotted out during the campaign. Recall his extra-constitutional "Office Of The President-Elect." One might assert that this simply reveals extraordinary arrogance and narcissism—and it does—but it goes much deeper.

There is more than sufficient evidence to acknowledge that Mr. Obama is at the least a Socialist, and likely, a Marxist. Socialism is essentially Marxism-lite. His background is steeped in Marxism, he actively supports Marxist goals, does all he can to damage our capitalist economy, reflexively supports Marxists and Islamists in international relations, and hires avowed Communists (Van Jones) and admirers of Communist murderers (Anita Dunn).

He came into office swearing to close Guantanamo within a year and searched desperately for an alternative, even planning to use an unused prison in Illinois. Fortunately, even in Illinois most people are smart enough to know that the last thing they want is to paint an enormous "come get us, terrorists" target on their community and that suggestion died, even among Democrats. He quickly discovered that no other nation—other than absolute terrorist regimes—want any of the psychotics inhabiting Gitmo, and was certainly told by his more rational advisors of the consequences of turning any of them lose, the reality being that all of the least dangerous were released during the Bush years and more than a fair share of them have returned to Jihad.

He believes that military commissions are evil and that Islamist killers must be accorded civilian trials, trials to be conducted in New York City. Understanding that they have a large terrorist target painted on their collective backs, New Yorkers, and their Democrat representatives, nixed that idiotic idea and to date, only one lower level Jihadist has been tried. The case was a near-disaster. He nearly walked and was convicted on only a single count. Even so, AG Holder—and certainly Mr. Obama—would close Gitmo and begin civilian trials in a second if they thought they could get away with it.

Mr. Obama came into office attacking everything Mr. Bush did, and did away with waterboarding, which had actually been used on only three high value terrorists to great effect. There is no doubt that in those three cases, the technique saved untold lives. However, he not only kept drone attacks; he increased their frequency. This may seem to run counter to his values, but is their epitome.

What would happen to Mr. Obama if we captured a high value terrorist such as Osama Bin Laden or Awlaki and he steadfastly refused to authorize the techniques necessary to extract information from them claiming the moral high ground? Mr. Obama would be in a very difficult predicament. If he authorized anything he had previously taken away, his base and the international community—particularly the Muslims—would go berserk. His political viability would be severely—perhaps fatally--damaged. Yet if he did not authorize whatever was necessary and therefore did not intercept and prevent damaging attacks, particularly on American soil, impeachment and conviction might be the least of his worries.

Drone attacks are the perfect solution. They allow Mr. Obama to adopt the persona of the resolute, anti-terrorist leader while avoiding any real downside. Surely, the usual Leftist suspects complain and raise specious legal and Constitutional arguments, but those have no real political or legal consequence, and other Leftists won't let such minor issues get in the way of enacting their larger agenda through Mr. Obama. There are no high-value terrorists who would not be waterboarded by any rational president, and not waterboarding lesser terrorists represents a much lower attack and political risk and a much more easily defended policy. Mr. Obama would need only to trot out another teleprompter reading with high and moral-sounding rhetoric, claiming that those who oppose him have un-American values. Simply capture no terrorists, kill them instead. That way Mr. Obama doesn’t have to put anyone in Gitmo, and he doesn't have to make any potentially politically harmful decisions.

My acquaintance made much of Mr. Obama's authorization of the raid on Bin Laden. He forgets, or never knew, that Mr. Obama dithered for a full day before authorizing the raid. His dithering cost an additional day due to unfavorable weather. Consider that: Having been in the loop from the first day of the planning phase of the operation, knowing that he would have to decide on capturing or killing America's most wanted terrorist enemy, when the operation was ready to jump off, he took an additional day to make the decision. He was actually seriously considering not doing it! There is every indication that Leon Panetta—of all people—had to insist that he do it.

Imagine what would have happened had he not authorized the raid. Could any American President survive having refused to capture or kill Bin Laden? Imagine if another Bin Laden ordered or inspired 9-11-like attack succeeded. Even democrats couldn't save Obama in such a case, though I have little doubt that the Lamestream Media would labor mightily to save him. Yet knowing this—I have no doubt the more rational among his advisors would have warned him of the dire consequences—he actually considered leaving Bin Laden unmolested. Does such a man deserve congratulations? Does such a man deserve credit for doing the absolute minimum any President must do, particularly considering he took a full day to make that decision after many months to fully consider every ramification?

By the way, wouldn't it have been useful to have Bin Laden? Wouldn't it have been of great value to squeeze him for every drop of actionable intelligence? To use that information to save lives, to pressure hostile governments, and to capture or kill other high-value terrorists? But to preserve Mr. Obama's Leftist street cred, Bin Laden had to die by SEAL bullet or Predator Hellfire. Imagine the Leftist uproar to try Bin Laden in a civilian court, particularly in New York. That's what happens when we elect a President that imposes Marxist values on our abilities to defend ourselves, but not on our enemies.

Barack Obama: all-American anti-terror warrior? I think not.

Posted by MikeM at October 2, 2011 10:02 PM

Yes, but....

We now have a precedent: when a President declares someone to be 'an enemy' that President can summarily take them out.

Al-Awakkeee (whatever) was a clear-cut case.

But who's next?

Posted by: dad29 at October 3, 2011 12:03 PM

Which begs the question...
Is Bin Laden really dead? Or is he in his own personal hell somewhere being pumped for that info...
Of course he could then be buried at sea, preferably tied in a burlap sack with lots of pig entrails and dropped from about 30,000 feet...

Posted by: Dan Maloney at October 3, 2011 03:51 PM

Exactly what benefit is there to being an American citizen? You are compelled to pay income tax? In Texas, if you are not a citizen and not supposed to be in the country, then you get breads on schooling and college not available to an American citizen. Now we have a situation were the president can declare he does not like you and bang, you are dead. The problem that we have is this stupid "war on terror". What in the world does that mean? In this case we should have asked Yemen to produce the terrorist. If they didn't. Then take out the friggen country. I think people would get the message then and we would not have to go around the globe looking for every cockroach under every stone. That is the job of a country and a government, to police its borders or risk war.

Posted by: david7134 at October 4, 2011 01:53 PM

"we are at war and have been since at least the first attack on the World Trade Center on Feb. 26, 1993 and probably since the Islamic takeover of Iran in late 1979"

Not to pick nits, but I would place the first Islamic attack on America as, October 11, 1784, when Islamic pirates seized the brigantine Betsey.

Posted by: Mark E at October 4, 2011 05:58 PM

Dear Mark E:

Indeed. Oh, for a President like Thomas Jefferson! That was a man that knew how to "negotiate" with Islamic pirates. Arrrrrrrrr!

Posted by: Mike Mc at October 4, 2011 07:17 PM

Was thinking: back during WWII, weren't there people born here of German parents who returned to Germany to fight for the Reich? I don't believe there was any question about, since they were fighting for the enemy, their being killed; so, aside from all the yelling, what's the difference between them and this?

I realize the 'specifically find him and kill him' is different, but aside from that?

Posted by: Firehand at October 5, 2011 07:10 PM


Good point indeed. The issue, in WWII and now, is simple: Are we at war? Check. Are they enemy combatants? Check. They can be killed whenever and wherever they are found? Check.

Whether some people think we're being mean to people that would gladly saw off the heads of our children for posting on YouTube with a dull, rusty knife is another matter entirely.

Thanks for your comment!

Posted by: Mike Mc at October 5, 2011 09:26 PM