Political Judgment

During the entire 2008 Presidential campaign, the supporters of President Obama said that he should be elected, in large part, because of his judgment. They claimed that his opposition to the war in Iraq proved that he possessed judgment superior to that of any of the other candidates. I, of course, took exception with that analysis, but that was the mantra from his supporters and paymasters (Moveon.org, George Soros and the like).

What kind of judgment does it show to reflexively close the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay just to satisfy his left wing supporters? I will tell you - very poor judgment. Not only are there questions about where to house the detainees and how to try them, but it raises questions about what to do if we capture a high value target today or tomorrow.

The President should have had answers to all of these questions before he announced the closure of Camp Delta. These are not minor details, but rather these are questions that are central to our successful prosecution of the War on Terror. John McCain made this point in an interview on Sunday.

As someone who prides himself on his judgment, it seems odd that the President would feel compelled to issue an Executive Order that left so many unanswered questions. If this action was for repayment of a political debt, as I suspect, then our new Commander-in-Chief lacks the judgment that his supports claim that he has. Surely, someone with all of that superior judgment would not purposely endanger the American people just to make George Soros and the girls at Code Pink happy, would he? Therefore, the only logical conclusion is that the new President does not have the kind of judgment that he claimed. At least not on issues that are of major import to the country. Apparently, however, he does have extraordinary political judgment.

My greatest fear is that, like President Clinton, President Obama will view the War on Terror as a law enforcement matter as opposed to a war. His comments as a candidate and his actions in the short time in which he has occupied the Oval Office lead me to believe that this is the case.
Treating the terrorist problem as a law enforcement matter resulted in the deaths of 3,000 American civilians in the streets of New York and Washington. Since President Clinton did not have the advantage of hindsight, it is easier to understand why he viewed the problem in the manner in which he did. President Obama has seen the results of this approach and is, therefore, on notice that it does not work. Unless his administration begins to understand that we are engaged in a war, the consequences will be dire and the President's supporters will no longer be able to rave about his superior judgment.


Anonymous said...

Treating the terrorist problem as a law enforcement matter resulted in the deaths of 3,000 American civilians in the streets of New York and Washington.

This is a false and silly allegation. In 2001, Richard Clarke briefed incoming National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice about the threats posed by Al-Qaeda (there is an actual declassified memo on this that you can read). He was ignored. Bush also did nothing after receiving the Presidential Daily Briefing on August 6, 2001 which specifically said that Al-Qaeda is "determined to strike in the US". All that time, Dick Cheney was in charge of the Counter-terrorism task force, but decided having secret oil policy meetings was more important.

Ignoring the known threat of terrorism led to the deaths of 3,000 American civilians in the streets of New York and Washington.

In 1993, the first attack on the WTC took place just one month after Clinton took office. Police work lead to the arrest, trial and conviction of the 4 perpetrators. No further terrorist attacks in the US took place during the rest of Clinton's presidency.

The WTC attack of 9/11/2001 took place more than 8 months after Bush took office. He was warned, he had time to act and nothing was done to try to prevent it.


Steven L. Baerson said...

No futher terrorist attacks took place except for the attacks on the US Embassies in East Africa, the attack on the USS Cole, etc. And, you are correct in that both the Clinton Administration and the early part of the Bush Administration should have done more and realized that we were in a war. But, as I said, neither Clinton nor Bush had the benefit of hindsight. Bringing terrorists into US Federal District Courts is exactly what I said - treating the problem as a law enforcement matter. Based upon that paradigm, sufficient action was not taken to prevent 9/11.