Remembering all the SOBs (real SOBs) that our military and intelligence professionals have captured or killed in the ten years hence....
Agreeing there are still a lot of bad guys, but acknowledging there are fewer than on this day in 2001. Thanking all who served and protected, and remembering those who paid the ultimate price by fighting back.
From the NY Times coverage:
Unlike Mr. Obama, Mr. Bush drew a cheer from those who remembered him shouting through a bullhorn atop the smoldering rubble.And if that were the entirety of the article the reader might conclude that Rupert Murdoch had secretly executed a hostile takeover of America's newspaper. But the rest of the article exists, including more than enough cookies for the new terminator:
He is a Democratic leader who opposed the Iraq war and is pulling troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan but has notched up a record as a lethal, relentless hunter of terrorists.It's hardly arguable that the terminator has terminated more terrorists than his predecessor...("we have taken the fight to Al Qaeda like never before,” Mr. Obama said in his weekly address) but does termination define success in this kind of conflict? The Times went on to explain a possible Charlie Sheen endgame:
“Our strength is not measured in our ability to stay in these places,” Mr. Obama declared. “It comes from our commitment to leave those lands to free people and sovereign states, and our desire to move from a decade of war to a future of peace.”Which sounds a bit like the Bush doctrine. The difference is whether we leave those lands to "free people" or just leave. Was Obama setting a timeline by mentioning only one decade of war, which is now officially over, or was he just using politico-speech? He said we have a 'commitment' to leave them to free people but only a 'desire' to move out of the decade of war, so there's no real specificity.
But most are aware of Obama's desire to leave, if for no other reason than the fact we're out of money and he needs the remaining cash flow to find legacy-building social initiatives. He knows that politically speaking we can't just leave and watch the jihadist celebrations, so the United States must first leave an impression of shock and awe on the way out lest the impression be left that we got our asses handed to us by a bunch of mountain men. We may not have much other choice left.
To get there Obama changed the Bush doctrine from "kill or capture" to "kill". It plays well with the public and besides, captured terrorists have to be placed somewhere for interrogation where they have a tendency to encourage their liberal interlocutors to demand habeas rights and visits by the Red Cross and stories in the NY Times about Gitmo hypocrisy.
Captured terrorists also need costly lingering trials usually having the flavor of kangaroo courts, whether in federal or military venues, so it's simply much easier to blow them away with robotic toys from a control room in Florida. Even the anti-war doves rarely make noise when we blast a bad guy; they were fairly quiet on that front even during the evil Bush years.
Meanwhile, does anyone remember the last important terrorist captured by NATO or American forces? Anyone remember the HIG? Most of the captures have occurred in Pakistan, whom we can't trust, so it's questionable as to whether we're getting the kind of intelligence needed to stop future attacks. But few seem to care at this point. We're all tired of fighting. Which was bin Laden's early calculus.
The Times story ends by mentioning the capture of Abdulmuttalob (underwear bomber) and Faisal Shazad, the Times Square bomber, as examples of how 'rightly proud' Obama is of his domestic counterterrorism record. Yet for some reason there was no mention of Fort Hood or Little Rock. In the former case the president went out of his way to downplay the Hasan's jihadist ways, and in the latter the federal government didn't even prosecute Abdulhakim on terrorism charges. Or anything (state murder charge). And the public has heard very little about what if any useable intelligence was ever gleaned from any of these suspects. So it seems part of Obama's successful counterterror strategy involves depending on friendly papers like the NY Times to play ball on certain issues. Winning.