By Herb Denenberg,
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Reprinted in full (emphasis mine)
My last column focused on the meltdown, unraveling and disintegration of President Barack Obama’s administration. But there was so much evidence of that in its handling of the economy, we didn’t have time to talk about another meltdown that is just as serious — how the administration is handling our national defense and national security. He’s bankrupted the economy and now he’s moving forward on plans that will destroy our national defense and national security.
During the campaign, Sen. Obama gave us every indication he would be weak on national defense, weak in fighting the war on terror and weak in defending our borders. As with the economy, he has proven to be worst than predicted.
I think I can make my case with three examples that show weakness and wrongheadedness that is truly beyond belief. You be the judge:
• First, there is Speaker of the House Nancy “San Francisco Values” Pelosi, a key mover in the Obama administration, who announced it is un-American to enforce the immigration laws. She asked, “What value system is that?”
So from Ms. Pelosi’s perspective if anyone wants to enforce the immigration laws, they are not only un-American but have the wrong value system. This woman is not only calling the shots on some of Mr. Obama’s key legislative moves, but she is also third in line to the presidency.
But in a way the Democrats in the House did us a favor by electing her speaker of the House — they showed us the Democratic Party has now become the party of the extreme left. She, and now the Democratic Party, truly represent “San Francisco Values,” which include what is in effect an open borders policy and an anti-military policy that will make us vulnerable to terrorism.
• Second, there is Attorney General Eric Holder, who distinguished himself by his early service in the Justice Department by his role in pardoning terrorists and a fugitive from justice. So we should not be surprised if he does some strange things. ABC News reported on March 18, “Some detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay could be released into the United States, while others might face criminal trials, Attorney General Eric Holder told reporters today.”
Mr. Holder chairs the panel appointed by President Obama to figure out what to do with the detainees after Guantanamo is closed. The Gitmo scenario shows how disorganized and ineffective the Obama administration is proving to be.
First, there is no good reason to close Guantanamo. Second, if it was to be closed, the Obama administration should have figured out what to do before announcing the closing, one year from the date of announcement. Third, it makes no sense to give enemy combatants trials in the U.S. anymore than it would make sense to give all World War II prisoners access to American courts. Fourth, it makes no sense to bring these people back to the U.S. Finally, it makes even less sense to release these people into the U.S.
Here’s what Ms. Pelosi said to a largely Hispanic audience at St. Anthony’s Church in San Francisco on March 14:“You are very special people. You’re here on a Saturday night to take responsibility for our country’s future. That makes you very, very patriotic. Who in our country would not want to change a policy of kicking in doors in the middle of the night and sending a parent away from their families? It must be stopped. What value system is that? I think it’s un-American. I think it’s un-American.”
Ms. Pelosi’s clear intent is to condemn and stop the enforcement of immigration laws because of some claimed abuses. If there is evidence that ICE agents routinely break down doors and take children away from parents, why doesn’t she take it up in Congress? It is our Congress that passed the immigration laws, and she acts as if she is just a random bystander to their existence and enforcement.
But these are just pieces of a much larger picture that show the Obama administration is pathetically weak and pathetically misguided in conducting the war against terror.
He appointed Homeland Security Secretary Janice Napolitano who, in her first congressional testimony, could not bring herself to use the word “terrorism” even once. Her department was created to prevent a terrorist attack on the U.S. Yet she can’t utter the word out of political correctness or some other perverted notion. Perhaps she is afraid to offend the people who are working to cut our heads off or blow us up.
Needless to say, other Homeland Security secretaries have used the word “terrorism” early and often in their pronouncements.
Why would Secretary Napolitano take such a ridiculous verbal stance and not use the word central to her purpose as secretary of Homeland Security?
In a Der Spiegel (the German magazine) interview, she was asked, “Madame Secretary, in your first testimony to the U.S. Congress as Homeland Security Secretary you never mentioned the word ‘terrorism.’ Does Islamist terrorism suddenly no longer pose a threat to your country?”She answered, “Of course, it does. I presume there is always a threat from terrorism. In my speech, although I did not use the word ‘terrorism,’ I referred to ‘man-caused’ disasters. That is perhaps only a nuance, but it demonstrates that we want to move away from the politics of fear toward a policy of being prepared for all risks that can occur.”
So, in this twisted view that sounds like pure lunacy to me, we don’t use the word ‘terrorism’ as it is part of the politics of fear. Is this derived from the Obama campaign of hope and change? We can’t describe what we’re talking about because it may cause some fear. We should fear terrorism and act accordingly. We should not try to perfume it or pretend it is not an existential threat.
Someone ought to give Ms. Napolitano this message: Saying man-caused disasters instead of terrorism is more than a nuance. It shows a departure from reality that is dangerous, especially for the head of the Department of Homeland Security.
This should shock everyone but surprise no one. As the blog Free Republic, reports, President Obama has avoided the use of “war on terror” and the Obama administration actually announced it was abandoning the phrase “war on terror.” Free Republic describes this whole development as suggesting the Obama administration is “permanently insane.” What they are doing certainly can’t be explained in rational terms.
In any event, Ms. Napolitano doesn’t seem to have the temperament for the job, and sounds like a candide that thinks everything is just fine. For example, CBS reported that she doesn’t think Mexico is in danger of becoming a failed narco-state. There is open war and major battles between drug lords and the Mexican Army. The violence is even spilling over in the U.S.
Ms. Napolitano admitted there has been an increase in the number of kidnappings in the Southwest United States, but she says is just drug gangs targeting other drug gangs. She seems to suggest it is tolerable and is not a threat to U.S. citizens who just might get in the middle of one of these drug shoot-outs.
After I had finished writing this column, the front-page of The New York Times (March 23, 2009) had a headline, “Drug Cartel Violence Spills Over From Mexico, Alarming U.S.: War Without Borders.” You could see this coming like a freight train 100 yards away, but Ms. Napolitano missed it.
Ms. Napolitano is the perfect Obama Homeland Security chief — she is weak and misdirected on all security matters. When asked about a border fence, she said, “Show me a 50-foot fence, and I’ll show you a 50-foot ladder.” Someone should tell Ms. Napolitano they have ladders in the Middle East, and yet the Israeli border fence, barrier, of whatever you choose to call it, dramatically cut the amount of infiltrating terrorists. If someone suggested that Ms. Napolitano get a lock for her front door, would she say, “Show me a lock, and I’ll show you a key to open it?”
Perhaps the most dramatic show of weakness is President Obama’s campaign promise to negotiate without precondition with terrorist regimes such as Iran and North Korea, and his beginning to implement that process as president. He sounds like he is more into groveling before Iran’s leaders rather than having any negotiation that might be productive. Mr. Obama makes Arthur Neville Chamberlain look like a super-hawk.
In connection with the Persian New Year, Norwuz, he reached out to ask for a new chapter in U.S.-Iranian relations and suggested that negotiations try to resolve differences. The Iranians are probably laughing up their sleeves, as they immediately rebuffed Mr. Obama’s gesture. The real leader of Iran, Ayatollah Khomenei, in a speech, sent this message to Mr. Obama: “He insulted the Islamic Republic of Iran from the first day. If you are right that change has come, where is that change? What is the sign of that change? Make it clear for us what has changed?”
In other words, the Iranians want concessions from us even before negotiations. And it is obvious they will be glad to negotiate forever. Such negotiations will just give them more time to go into production of nuclear weapons. John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said, “Time is on their side, and the Obama administration is playing right into their hands.”
He also pointed out Mr. Obama is doing the exact opposite of the right thing. He is negotiating out of a position of weakness, not strength. It should also be obvious that negotiations will be unproductive. The Europeans have been talking to the Iranians without results for six years.
The Iranians already have missiles to deliver nuclear weapons to countries in the Middle East, to Europe, and even beyond. They are on the brink on nuclear weapons, which will upset the balance of power in the Middle East, threaten all of our allies, endanger world oil supplies and place the ultimate destructive power in the hands of genocidal maniacs. When dealing with genocidal maniacs, we cannot rely on the doctrine of mutually insured destruction. So we are about to let genocidal maniacs, partners of terrorists worldwide and suppliers of terrorists, get a hold of nuclear weapons.
Confronted with this threat of an Armageddon on the way, Mr. Obama doesn’t seem to have a policy on Iran, other than sweet talk, negotiations that have already failed, and sanctions, which have been weak and ineffective. The clock is at five minutes to midnight, so the Obama administration better stop talking and start moving toward sanctions tough enough to work or toward the military option.
This is only a few of Mr. Obama’s signals of weakness, incompetence and appeasement in matters of national security and national defense.
For example, there are top Obama advisors pressuring him to recognize Hamas, the terrorist organization. Then there is the Washington Times report (March 17, 2009) that President Obama is quietly ending the federal firearms program that put guns in the hands of the crews of commercial planes. Whether we like it or not, we’re in a war against international forces of terror, yet almost all of Mr. Obama’s moves are in the direction of immaturity, weakness, retreat, appeasement and surrender
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