There's nothing quite like a tragedy such as Boston to bring out the political opportunists. Mix in Muslim perpetrators with looming crises in Iran, Syria, and Lebanon and the uber patriots are reaching Glenn Beck levels of hyperventilation in their race to the bottom.
Our friends on the right who have made careers out of expressing their love for the Constitution (State's Rights, Limited Government, Right To Bear Arms!) are hell-bent to trash the privilege against self-incrimination (5th Amend.) and the right to a speedy public trial with effective assistance of counsel (6th Amend.) if that's what it takes to get face time on Fox so they can say something stupid enough to continue the babblethon on Meet The Press on the weekend.
If a check from Sheldon Adelson shows up in the mail, so much the better. It beats working for a living.
Obama Record. If we look at the Obama record in terms of protecting the country and its installations abroad, it is exemplary when compared with Presidents from Ronald Reagan to the present. Four people were killed in Boston. Four were killed at a consulate in Benghazi, and 13 people were killed at Fort Hood, Texas by an American soldier of Muslim background. These were attacks against the nation for which the President bears responsibility.
Under Reagan, approximately 300 Americans … civilian and military … were killed in separate attacks on our Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon, and six months later at the Marine Corps Barracks, also in Beirut. The attacks of September 11, 2001, happened on George Bush's watch. Bush vowed to get Bin Laden dead or alive. He didn't. Obama did.
Obama's record of protecting the country and its citizens is clearly superior to that of his recent predecessors.
Our friends on the right. The real problem our friends on the right have with Obama on National Security issues is that he doesn't use the kind of language they like. He doesn't speak in hushed tones of grave threats (Cheney: "Make no mistake, Saddam Hussein has weapons of mass destruction."). He doesn't bluster (W: "Dead or alive. Bring it on.").
Obama uses words cautiously, recognizing that a word like "terrorism" has a specific legal definition. To qualify as "terrorism" under our law, an act must be premeditated, politically motivated, and committed by a "sub-national group."
In other words, if Boston had been an operation conducted by Country X, it would have been an act of war, rather than an act of terrorism. They're different, and the powers of the President to respond are different … depending upon the facts.
That's Obama. Words matter. The law matters. Facts matter. Strange dude.
The right wants to shout "terrorism … Islamic Jihad … enemy combatant." Some would hold a suspect indefinitely, denying rights against self-incrimination and a speedy trial with effective assistance of counsel.
The Obama way is to prevent the bad stuff in the first place (at which he's been mostly successful). Get the perpetrators fast when bad stuff happens. Find out as much as you can in the limited window of time allowed by the "public safety" exception to Miranda, and try the case in a civil court set up under the Constitution. Just like we've been doing for over 200 years.
The deep thinkers and long ball hitters of the right that reside at Billy Kristol's (not the funny guy) Weekly Standard, the editorial pages of Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal, and at Sheldon Adelson's Israel Hayom like to interpret Obama's lack of bombast and bluster as a sure sign that he lacks "moral clarity" and is "feckless" … their all-time favorite word.
I have no trouble assuming that a fairly large number of our friends on the right are full of feck … I didn't say dreck, but I thought it.
Remember, these are the clowns whose incompetence brought us 9/11, and whose deceit brought us the war in Iraq.
End of story.
I will post again on Wednesday, June 5, 2013 (or before, if the news flow dictates) and, for the time being, I will post on the first Wednesday of each month.
Comments are welcome at tomc[at]wednesdayswars[dot]com. Name and town if you wish to opine. Comments will be addressed in subsequent posts.