12.31.2009 0

American Leadership: M.I.A.

  • On: 01/06/2010 09:29:01
  • In: Barack Obama
  • by David Bozeman

    The president’s responses to the recent bombing attempt on the Detroit-bound airliner and the Ft. Hood massacre have been tardy, generic and uninspiring, unworthy of his renowned oratorical finesse. In fact, only after months of indecisiveness did he finally give General McChrystal most of the troops he requested for the Afghan War.

    Certainly the phrase ‘war on terror’ is vague and unstirring, but at least it implies an objective and sets some parameters. Current administration officials, however, seldom, if ever, mention the words, conveying a threat level that, while real, requires the dispassionate machinations of buckling down for bad weather. Even blaming Al Qaeda fails to name the festering strain of radical Islam that seeks to murder American and European civilians down to the last man, woman and child.

    The latest salvo in the modern containment-over-engagement strategy is embracing whole-body imaging technology as a screening method at airports. Nicknamed ’strip search imaging’ by detractors, its effect is self-explanatory, and pending legislation allows its use only on those who have set off metal detectors. The practice has drawn criticism from both right and left, including the ACLU, but some liberal pundits think promoting its use will make them sound tough on terror. Columnist Froma Harrop’s recent column entitled ‘Happy to do this Striptease’ chides members of both parties critical of its implementation, mostly blasting Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and his “voyeuristic” obsession with whole-body imaging. For good measure, she mocks Republican concern over TSA unionization, an issue settled early in the Bush years.

    Such is the agenda of national security Obama-style, consisting largely of locking the doors and boarding up the windows. At least President Bush prioritized a policy of hunting down the enemy and fighting them on their turf. Even conceding the need for whole-body imaging, it is a poor substitute for the leadership so lacking in the western world. In early ‘09, Janet Napolitano named pro-lifers, returning veterans and other Americans as potential threats to our security, so why are we now so coy about mentioning radical Islam? The civilized world should call out and pursue our enemies by name, and the next terror recruiter who plots to blow up an airliner should be consumed with gut-wrenching fear of our national resolve to protect not only our lives but our way of life.

    Today, any dread is certainly tempered by the prospects of Constitutional protections, civilian trials and the national hand wringing over ‘torture.’ Meanwhile, three Navy SEALs are facing court martial for their roles in the alleged beating of an Iraqi terror suspect, supposedly the mastermind of the 2004 murders of four civilian contractors whose bodies were mutilated and hung from a bridge. If convicted, they face imprisonment, dishonorable discharges and fines, all disproportionate to offenses that warrant, at most, a severe reprimand. Are we not shooting ourselves in the foot here?

    Modern appeasers gleefully promote equality by ensuring that air travel is miserable and dehumanizing for everyone, but real leadership discerns and isolates looming threats. Real leadership inspires hope and resolve — We the People are not cattle to be shuffled complacently from one security checkpoint to the next. We are citizen defenders of our own liberty — kudos to the crew and passengers for subduing the would-be bomber — and future conspirators should tremble in fear that we, military and civilians, are as passionately intent on defending our 2000-year old civilization as they are on defending their bloodthirsty conspiracy of terror. Performing a virtual striptease should be the least of their worries.

    David Bozeman is a Liberty Features Syndicated writer.

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