Sitting here in sunny Vermont, I don’t have that sweet DC insiderish goodness to add to the dueling speeches. Others will dissect the nuances/untruths of President Obama and former Vice President Cheney’s orations.
I just have a rant.
Why do we need to have politicians continually tell us they’re going to “keep us safe” and “protect us.” Are we infants? Puppies? Terrorchondriacs? Obama and Cheney must have said some variation of that line a dozen times.
Who out there is so afraid? Where do these people live?
We know the debate. Obama is going to close Gitmo and promises to take the fight to the extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan etc. Cheney says this makes us less safe, and tells us how frightened he was in his “under ground bunker” on September 11th.
Not to be impolite, but are we a bunch of chickenshits or what?
I’m not denying the trauma of 9-11. I’m not saying terrorism isn’t a threat. I’m saying it’s time we get unstuck from Post-911 thinking. If we want to live in a free country, we have to assume a certain amount of risk. There’s always going to be the possibility of getting hit by a terrorist attack. That’s life, as they say.
As I’ve mentioned ad nauseum, I’ve spent time with soldiers who are actually getting shot at everyday–they often seem to have much cooler heads about the subject than politicians and pundits shrieking about our imminent demise back in the DC and New York and Peoria(Peoria always gets a bad rap, eh?)
So good for BHO for shutting this thing down, good for him wanting to stop torture, and anyone who freaks out about having terrorists locked up in our super max prisons should have their heads dunked in a vat of sugar-free Red Bull.
Now let’s put terrorism back into the proper perspective: a rare, devastating, and tragic occurence that we have to deal with by means of law enforcement, intelligence and diplomacy. Don’t believe me? Think I might be some kind of peace junkie? Read this RAND study from last year, a look at 648 terrorists groups spanning the years 1968 to 2006. This study shows that 43 percent of the groups ended by using political means and 40 percent ended from police and intel work. Only 7 percent of terrorists groups were ended through military means. This means that, according to the study, we’ve put the most emphasis and resources behind a strategy to fight Al Qaeda that historically has the least likely chance to succeed. Unfortunately, with the escalation in Afghanistan, Obama still seems to be pursuing the Bush administration’s low percentage approach.
The changes that Obama announced today are decent, but it’s not that big “of a new direction” from the past eight years, as he claims. They’re not “dramatic changes” as the president says, but they’re also more than cosmetic. Yet what’s really needed is a big glass of green tea and a reconsideration of what fighting terrorism means.