Obama’s false choice of false choices
posted at 3:15 pm on May 22, 2009 by Karl
“When America strays from our values, it not only undermines the rule of law, it alienates us from our allies, it energizes our adversaries and it endangers our national security and the lives of our troops,” Obama said. “So as Americans, we reject the false choice between our security and our ideals. We can and we must and we will protect both.”
The notion that our war policies have alienated the world is pathetic, given the track record of the rest of the world, especially our enemies. The notion that straying from Obama’s perception of American ideals energizes our enemies is belied by the history of increasingly brazen terror attacks during the Clinton administration and culminating in the 9/11 attack. Jihadis — and the Left — may use Guantanamo Bay and enhanced interrogation for propaganda purposes, but the jihadis will always have a grievance du jour — as evidenced by the fact that two of the 9/11 terrorists said on videotape that their actions were inspired by an urge to avenge the suffering of Muslims in Bosnia and Chechnya. Jihadis are energized when their attacks succeed, not when they are preempted. The Left is energized by photos of detainee abuse, but suppresses footage of jihadi beheadings or people plummeting from the World Trade Canter.
Those looking for false choices need look no further than Obama’s speech in defense of his national security policies:
We see that, above all, in the recent debate – how the recent debate has obscured the truth and sends people into opposite and absolutist ends. On the one side of the spectrum, there are those who make little allowance for the unique challenges posed by terrorism, and would almost never put national security over transparency. And on the other end of the spectrum, there are those who embrace a view that can be summarized in two words: “Anything goes.” Their arguments suggest that the ends of fighting terrorism can be used to justify any means, and that the president should have blanket authority to do whatever he wants – provided it is a president with whom they agree.
Obama cannot attach a name to any of “those” because he is flanking himself with straw men, as he did throughout the speech.
In reality, despite all of his rhetoric about “false choices” and “decisions based on fear rather than foresight,” Obama has largely embraced the Bush administration’s war policies (including the possible return of enhanced interrogation), with only minor tweaking. And Democrats are refusing to fund his decision to close Gitmo, because he has no plan for disposing of the detainees. His excuse is that the issue is “difficult and complex,” and that “no neat or easy answers here.”
Obama’s speech yesterday contained a passage suggesting that he is seriously considering going beyond the Bush administration to create a preventive detention regime, which he called “the toughest single issue that we will face.”
In short, on one hand, the president claims that the Bush administration and the post-9/11 Congress went “off course,” making hasty decisions motivated by fear. On the other hand, in dealing with the same issues himself years later, on the proverbial “sunny day in April,” Pres. Obama is making almost all of the same choices, correctly noting that they are difficult ones. Asking that we condemn the former while praising the latter is the real false choice Obama presents.
This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
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