Obama follows Buchanan on terrorism

Several years ago, in a piece at FrontPage Magazine entitled “Buchanan’s White Whale,” I tore Patrick Buchanan apart for saying that the U.S. could easily absorb the destruction of major cities by terrorist bombings:

Several such attacks could cripple several major metropolitan areas and kill hundreds of thousands of people. In the face of such possibilities, Buchanan gives a complacent shrug, noting that Germany and Japan had their cities flattened in the Second World War, yet both of those defeated countries “came back in a decade.” In other words, the prospect of horrible mass damage to the U.S.—even if it is not quite on the scale of the total devastation of Germany and Japan—should not alarm us, or at least not alarm us too much. The hint is that we should accept the prospect of large-scale terrorist destruction in the United States rather than try to defeat the terrorists.

And now guess who has followed in Buchanan’s unworthy footsteps? President Barack Obama. The Washington Post reports:

[Bob] Woodward’s book portrays Obama and the White House as barraged by warnings about the threat of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and confronted with the difficulty in preventing them. During an interview with Woodward in July, the president said, “We can absorb a terrorist attack. We’ll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever … we absorbed it and we are stronger.”

Now would the U.S. actually survive another 9/11? Yes. But for a commander in chief to put the issue as Obama has done, sends the message (just as Buchanan’s comment did) that he is not all that concerned about stopping another 9/11. Worse, it sends the message that he expects such an attack to occur and so is preparing the public for its eventuality. Whatever you think of George W. Bush, and I don’t think much, he surely never said anything like what Obama said. You knew that he was absolutely determined to prevent further terrorist assaults on the U.S. Which was the reason for the Patriot Act and the warrantless surveillance of e-mail and telephone calls to Afghanistan, for which the left and the paleocon right, to their utter disgrace, demonized him.

As Jennifer Rubin writes at the Commentary blog, Obama’s “We can absorb a terrorist attack” remark puts into a new and devastating light Obama’s previous dealings with the terrorism threat:

The slow-motion reaction to the Christmas Day bomber and the fetish for criminalizing the war on terror now seem to have stemmed from a rather lackadaisical stance toward another attack. If it’s coming anyway, why ruin a Hawaii vacation, no? This hardly helps Obama’s standing, either at home or internationally.

And finally, this revelation may potentially reignite the Ground Zero mosque controversy. If 9/11 is simply the first of many anticipated attacks to be “absorbed,” that location and the event itself fade into insignificance. For Obama, maybe the most searing experience in the last generation is just one of any number of spots where Americans can and will die.

All in all, it is yet another revealing moment, in which conservatives whisper to each other in horror, “I never expected him to be THIS bad,” Democrats shudder, and independents confess they were snowed by a candidate who appeared sober and serious at the time.

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Mark Jaws writes:

This comment by Obama that we could absorb a terrorist attack is fascinating. I have long maintained that a terrorist-inspired WMD attack on the U.S. population would unravel our society and destroy the country irrevocably by causing the right to shatter the PC mental glass ceiling and “go after Muslims,” and the left to counter the right, rather than the terrorists and their supporters.

Sophia A. writes:

You are being unfair to Obama.

With respect to his comment “we can absorb another terrorist attack,” this was made in the context of discussing the war in Afghanistan with his advisors. He was making the theoretical juxtaposition of worst case scenario of withdrawing from Afghanistan (a terrorist attack in the U.S.) with best case scenario of staying in Afghanistan (an endless enervating draining commitment that may, after trillions of dollars and thousands of U.S. lives) establish an illegitimate imitation democracy, only to temporarily appease the war party in the U.S. before imploding.

In other words, in Afghanistan, there is only bad and worst case scenarios. He was logically choosing the bad.

Unfortunately because our discourse is entirely dominated by belligerent maniacs in both parties, he can’t say this outright.

I don’t like Obama at all, but we should be fair to him. Because, if God willing, we get “one of our own” in the Oval Office, he’ll be faced with the same dilemmas.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 23, 2010 07:20 AM | Send

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