1 Jan

Obama Administration: Dithering response to foreign enemies, rabid response to domestic opposition


White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer writes on the White House blog in response to Cheney’s criticism:

I think we all agree that there should be honest debate about these issues, but it is telling that Vice President Cheney and others seem to be more focused on criticizing the Administration than condemning the attackers.

What is telling, is how it took 4 days for the Administration to figure out how to address the recent terror plot, and only hours to confront Cheney.

In the next paragraph, Pfeiffer does as all good Obamadsmen do: Blame the previous administration for where we are at today:

First, it’s important that the substantive context be clear: for seven years after 9/11, while our national security was overwhelmingly focused on Iraq – a country that had no al Qaeda presence before our invasion – Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda’s leadership was able to set up camp in the border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan, where they continued to plot attacks against the United States. Meanwhile, al Qaeda also regenerated in places like Yemen and Somalia, establishing new safe-havens that have grown over a period of years.

It is a lie that Iraq had “no al Qaeda presence” prior to invasion. It also misunderstands the nature of the war we find ourselves in, which is not limited to just al Qaeda, but a network of Islamic terror groups, many of which are affiliated with al Qaeda. (Interestingly, Pfeiffer’s post even mentions it’s not just al Qaeda who mean to do us harm, without seeing the contradiction he makes, here). Note that Osama bin Laden and his terror group wasn’t the only signatory to his 1998 fatwa, but was one of five. All can be said to fall under the umbrella moniker, “World Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders”. We are at war with an Islamic (Jihad) Terror Movement. Not just one terror group directly responsible for 9/11, but an entire network of religious nuts who cooperate and collaborate, and have shared ideology and goals.

It is why from the get-go, President Bush said our focus will not be limited to just al-Qaeda:

“Our war on terror begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated.”
-President Bush in an address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, United States Capitol, Washington D.C., September 20, 2001.

As far as Iraq, it became the central front of the GWoT from 2003-2008. Zawahiri regarded it with great importance. As Lawrence Wright, author of the definitive geneology on al Qaeda- The Looming Tower- said on national radio, it was al Qaeda that became bogged down by Iraq. Iraq became their Vietnam. And it is thanks to the war in Iraq that al Qaeda was exposed for the human aberration that they are, losing legitimacy in the eyes of many in the Islamic world- amongst both moderates and radicals, alike (they never had legitimacy in the eyes of peaceful Muslims- and yes, they do exist).

President Bush kept us safe since 9/11. And for the president who campaigned on reaching across the aisle, bipartisanship, and being a new kind of politician, he’d live up to that ideal if he would be gracious enough to acknowledge that and quit scapegoating the last administration for today’s current event difficulties. But president Obama can’t help but be who he is: A divisive, petty, all-about-me-and-my-legacy partisan, blame-handing, far-to-the-left politician. A divider, not a uniter.

Ah…but Pfeiffer’s distortions haven’t stopped spinning yet:

It was President Obama who finally implemented a strategy of winding down the war in Iraq, and actually focusing our resources on the war against al Qaeda – more than doubling our troops in Afghanistan, and building partnerships to target al Qaeda’s safe-havens in Yemen and Somalia. And in less than one year, we have already seen many al Qaeda leaders taken out, our alliances strengthened, and the pressure on al Qaeda increased worldwide.

President Obama is merely riding out the coattails of the decisions made before he ever came into office, including the signing of the SoFA. The war as it currently stands in Iraq today was “already winding down” with troop withdrawal planned before his watch even began. But he takes credit for success there, conveniently forgetting he opposed the decision that helped bring about that success.

It’s beyond humor to see that in September of ’08, presidential candidate Barack Obama was criticizing President Bush for lack of urgency, as 43 mounted a “quiet surge” into Afghanistan in response to dealing with ever-changing circumstances on the ground. The need for an increase of troop strength for a counterinsurgency strategy was part of a 2008 strategy review. Meanwhile 44, in his continued criticism, seems to have not only adopted “lack of urgency” in dealing with Afghanistan, but made “dithering” one of the memorable words/phrases of 2009 (along with “teachable moment”).

Let’s be clear: President Obama is an inheritor and beneficiary of many of the tools and policy-decisions he will need to continue keeping America safe. This includes the “partnership building”. The notion that Bush only engaged in cowboy diplomacy and did not build alliances and cooperation with other nations is ludicrous and false. A lot of the GWoT was waged “behind the scenes”. But somehow “shock and awe” military aggression has come to define the Bush approach. This ignores the truly multi-pronged effort President Bush did take in engaging the Islamic terror network. Not only were they decimated on the field of battle, but much of their financing choked off and bank assets frozen due to Bush being engaged on the diplomatic front, resulting in law enforcement and intelligence gathering and sharing. The constant usage of the phrase “military alone can’t solve this” is strawman nonsense to fuel the false premise that the Bush Administration only pursued military use of force in combating Islamic terror.

To put it simply: this President is not interested in bellicose rhetoric, he is focused on action.

Try “dithering”. Where was his action when it came to supporting the people of Iran? When it came to Afghanistan?

And he has used “bellicose rhetoric”. On the campaign trail in regards to how to handle Pakistan and Iran. And against political opposition (remember “get in their faces”?).

Seven years of bellicose rhetoric failed to reduce the threat from al Qaeda and succeeded in dividing this country.

The “bellicose rhetoric” did not happen for 7 years. It only happened on the heels of 9/11, then toned down (rather unfortunately in some cases, imo).

And it seems strangely off-key now, at a time when our country is under attack, for the architect of those policies to be attacking the President.

How about being “off-key” in spending so much time attacking what a former VP (who left office as deeply unpopular in opinion polls as the president, as noted by Mark Hemmingway) has to say, than in attacking those who wish to kill us:

the White House is still in campaign mode, worried about what a private citizen — who left office remarkably unpopular! — thinks of them.

What is laughable is the absurdity of the Administration to wax so indignant and Obama supporters and liberals to be so outraged that “How dare you! How dare former VP Cheney speak out against the sitting president!”

Well, maybe he wouldn’t feel so inclined to speak out if the current administration would have more class and dignity than to make political swipes at the previous administration in rationalizing their every decision in how they are dealing with the current state of affairs.

Maybe when you quit blaming Bush for your own inadequacies in how you’re handling today’s problems, then maybe Bush’s hatchet man will quit chopping you down a notch or two, Mr. President.

This entry was posted in 9/11, American Intelligence, Dick Cheney, Fanatical Islam, Iraq/Al-Qaeda Connection, The Iraqi War, War On Terror, Yemen. Bookmark the permalink. Friday, January 1st, 2010 at 9:05 am

6 Responses to Obama Administration: Dithering response to foreign enemies, rabid response to domestic opposition

  1. Inge says: 1

    As this clearly demonstrate, progressive react out of hypocracy, because they do not have any principles. Would they follow principles, they wouldn’t be telling so many lies, and believing them at the same time.
    These are the same people, who continously siding with enemies, rather then love for country. Pres. Bush never reacted, but acted, exactly because he loved this country, and cared for all, even those who hated him most. Now, that’s a leader, and not a pricky little p***y.
    They need to grow up, and grow a pair…!

  2. I’d yell “Liar Liar pants on fire” but then I might have Alan Greyson knocking on my door.

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  4. Missy says: 3

    Excellent Wordsmith, you don’t miss a thing, your memory is like a steel trap!

    I also remember Obama the candidate was sneaking around during his trip to Iraq, he tried to monkey around with the SOFA wanting it postponed until after the election.

    Try “dithering”. Where was his action when it came to supporting the people of Iran?

    Obama is just beginning to make supportive noises toward the Iranian protesters, perhaps he’s been shamed into it, naw, he ego knows no shame. Now Iran ignored the nuke deadline, what to do, what to do? As he piddles around everything is getting much worse, his answer? golf, tennis, movie? Not to worry, Rahm and Axelrod will take care of it for him, they’ve done so well so far, I think they keep him busy with this useful tool:


    Now China gets involved in the unrest in Iran, do you think they are going to be bothered by what Obama thinks? Wonder how they will blame Bush and I hope to heaven this isn’t true:

    China’s Army Sends Armoured Vehicles To Iran

    Finally, with the arrival of the first shipment of armoured vehicles, China has officially joined in to repress the Iranian people, most likely to prevent the downfall of the “Supreme Leadership” and its own illegitimate interests in the region.

    The armoured anti-riot vehicles have a capacity of 10,000 liters to shoot cold and hot water, and three 100 liter tanks to shoot burning chemical liquids. The water is mixed with paint or tear gas that cannot be washed away. Each vehicle has two guns for shooting liquid up to a distance of 70 meters- it is controlled from inside the cabin. The price tag for each unit is 650,000 dollars. Also, a lot of extra burning liquid, paint, and tear gas was purchased.

    It took four months for the delivery of the armoured vehicles,


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  6. Wordsmith says: 4

    Thanks Missy. Also, thank you for the following link to Stephen Hayes’ article on Pfeiffer’s spinning:

    Obama Pretends to Get Tough on Yemen
    …after a year of neglect.
    by Stephen F. Hayes
    01/02/2010 12:00:00 AM

    Dan Pfeiffer, White House Communications Director, took to the official White House blog Wednesday to post a response to critics of Barack Obama and his handling of counterterrorism. Pfeiffer believes that the intelligence failure that led to the failed bombing on Christmas day — nearly a year into Obama’s presidency — can be blamed on a war launched almost seven years ago in Iraq. The banality of his claim is surpassed only by its absurdity.

    What’s more interesting is Pfeiffer’s claim that his boss has finally refocused U.S. counterterrorism on its proper targets in places like Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen.

    Pfeiffer mentions Yemen twice. That’s not a surprise considering the rise to prominence of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki, both based in Yemen. Awlaki, a senior al Qaeda cleric and recruiter, has offered guidance (at least) to Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, and Omar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the failed Flight 253 bomber. And Abdulmutallab reportedly had extensive training and support from AQAP. As a result, Yemen — a nation unfamiliar to most Americans — has been on our front pages and leading our broadcasts in the past few weeks. So Pfeiffer wants everyone to know that Obama, in his “war against al Qaeda,” has been busy building “partnerships” to target terrorist safe-havens in, among other places, Yemen.

    To coin a phrase: What a difference a year makes.

    On January 22, 2009, Obama signed an executive order requiring the closure of the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay within twelve months. To near universal praise, Obama claimed his action would allow America once again to occupy the “moral high ground” and to “restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great even in the midst of war, even in dealing with terrorism.”

    On the same day that Obama made his announcement, the State Department website http://www.America.gov published an interview with US Ambassador to Yemen Stephen Seche. No other country would be as important to closing Guantanamo Bay as Yemen. Some 100 of the 248 detainees there at the end of the Bush administration were Yemenis. And, with only a few exceptions, those that remained at the facility remained there for a reason. They were seasoned jihadists and they were extremely dangerous.

    That fact made Seche’s comments notable. He said that it was the goal of the new administration to repatriate a “majority” of the Yemenis at Gitmo. And not just send them to their native country to be detained, but so that they could “make a future for themselves here.”

    “Certainly we would like to be able to bring them back to Yemen and have them integrate themselves back into their own society with their families,” said Seche. Although he acknowledged some “inherent risks” in returning the detainees to the general population, Seche suggested that only a few of the detainees present real problems. “Except in the case perhaps of some very hardcore elements, we believe that the majority of these detainees can be put productively into a reintegration program with the goal over time of enabling them to find a way back into Yemeni society without posing a security risk.”

    The statement was shocking. More than a dozen of the Yemenis held at Guantanamo Bay at the time were alleged by the US government to have been personal bodyguards for Osama bin Laden. Many of the other Yemenis at Gitmo had been trained at al Qaeda training camps (74 percent) or stayed at al Qaeda guesthouses (74 percent). Others had been captured fighting Americans or alongside senior al Qaeda figures — 15 of them captured in raids that netted top al Qaeda operatives Abu Zubaydah and Ramzi Binalshibh. Still others had admitted their terrorist involvement without coercion and in open hearings — sometimes accompanying their confessions with threats to one day kill again.

    And yet the Obama administration believed that a “majority” of these detainees could be freed in Yemen — a well-known hotbed of al Qaeda activity?

    When we first read Seche’s words nearly a year ago, we assumed he was off-message — that he had been stricken with a severe case of “clientitis,” in which the foreign service officer forgets that he represents the interests of the United States and not those of the country in which he is serving. So we sent his words to the spokesman for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, assuming, frankly, that we would get a reply distancing the new top diplomat from what seemed to be a radical policy.

    That did not happen:

    Ambassador Seche’s comments that you referred to lay out very well the U.S. government position on the situation of the Yemeni detainees at Guantánamo. As he noted, the U.S. government has made clear its decision to close the Guantánamo Bay facility as soon as practicable but no later than one year from January 22, 2009.

    Just last week, the Obama administration repatriated six Yemenis who had been held at Gitmo. Among them, Ayman Saeed Abdullah Batarfi, a graduate of al Qaeda’s famous Khalden training camp. Batarfi has been waging jihad since the late 1980s, when he fought the Soviets. Batarfi, an orthopedic surgeon, also stayed at al Qaeda guesthouses, worked for an al Qaeda front group, met with a “Malaysian microbiologist” who was almost certainly the head of al Qaeda’s anthrax program, and spent time with Osama bin Laden at Tora Bora. How do we know all of this? Batarfi told us — he chose to volunteer it in his administrative review board hearing.

    How can a White House spinmeister like Pfeiffer reconcile releases like this one–the result of the administration’s stated goal for the past year–with Obama’s new get-tough policy on Yemen?

    He can’t.


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