Saturday, September 12, 2009

Questions for President Obama

Yesterday, while listening to the President's remarks at the Pentagon, I was struck by the apathy, the flatness of the words he chose and the language he used to describe the 9/11 attacks.

The President remarked:
"Let us renew our resolve against those who perpetrated this barbaric act and who plot against us still. In defense of our nation we will never waver; in pursuit of al Qaeda and its extremist allies, we will never falter.

Most of all, on a day when others sought to sap our confidence, let us renew our common purpose.

This may be the greatest lesson of this day, the strongest rebuke to those who attacked us, the highest tribute to those taken from us -- that such sense of purpose need not be a fleeting moment. "


The strongest words he used in his entire speech were 'barbaric', 'extremist' and 'attack''. He didn't mention the words murder, terrorism or war in his speech. "On a day when others sought to sap our confidence," he said. To sap our confidence? Doesn't he mean on a day when innocent American lives were specifically targeted by terrorists? And that those terrorists wanted to make us tremble in fear to spread their suicidal message of Jihad? That is, to show the world that the American 'infidels' had hell to pay for our very way of life?

The President stayed away from using any such harsh language. But, "sap our confidence"? Surely, he could have chosen words better suited to show that on his first 9/11, he stood with the victims, the families of the victims and with the rest of America in opposition to these deathmongers who instigated the deadliest attack on our soil in history.

But, the excerpt above was the extent of his mentioning the 9/11 attackers. I could only shake my head reading and rereading the President's comments. Just a few days ago, he spoke about his health care proposals more passionately than he did about the attacks on 9/11.

This prompted me to write this tweet:
"Chilling, hard to listen to. http://bit.ly/11Mrf8 Yet a reminder of the evil, not barbaric Mr. Pres. ,but evil that killed so many innocent.


I wrote that on 9/11. And I tried to bite my tongue for the rest of that day. And, it's for that reason that I'm posting this on 9/12, because I believe 9/11 should be a day reserved for remembering and honoring those whose were brutally and suddenly taken from their loved ones. 9/11 is a day we should all strive to remember what unites us, not what divides us.

So today, I'd like to share some of my thoughts on our President. The truth is, I disagree with President Obama's policies almost across the board. My convictions and my vision for the country are fundamentally opposed to the big-government policies Obama espouses.

But, when I disagree with someone's politics, I try to remind myself that while the means may vary, our intentions, on the left and on the right, are the same -- to implement policies that we believe are right for our country. I have reminded myself of this often since the President's days on the campaign trail because even then, when his rhetoric was more centrist, I saw him as an extreme leftist that would push our country in a totally new direction if elected, as he promised -- or threatened depending on your view of him.

But, I'm not so sure I can give our President this benefit of the doubt anymore. I don't know if his decisions are based on what's best for the country, what's best for the politicians in Washington or what's best for certain groups of people he backs, like unions for example. From his decision to appoint Eric Holder, who orchestrated the pardoning of Puerto Rican nationalist terrorists by going so far as to write their apologies when they refused to, to his decision to close Guantanamo and strip the CIA of the power to question suspects who are deemed national security threats (without undertaking any examination of the strategies and reasoning behind the former administration's decisions), I don't know that he sees the world as I do. That he sees America as many of us do. That he takes threats to our national security as seriously as he should. Or really, when it comes down to it, that he loves and respects America.

It seems that he exploits every opportunity he has to centralize power, even stripping the CIA and the military of their authority where he can.

While our President opted out of visiting New York City on the anniversary of 9/11, he penned an op-ed in the New York Post. He stated:

"And in the policies and principles that guide our efforts, we are reaffirming a simple truth: that our strength as a nation comes not only from the might of our military, but also the power of our fundamental values."


I recognize that this President is seen as a supreme communicator, and maybe this is just too far above my pragmatic head, but what does this mean? His op-ed must be understood within the context of 9/11, in which he remembers what began our current struggle against the "real and present danger posed by violent extremists who would use terrorism against Americans." And so, he continues reassuring the reader that his administration is "providing the necessary resources and strategies to take the fight to the extremists." And, he goes down the list of measures: investing in intelligence and military capabilities, increasing the Army and Marine Corps, making efforts toward securing non-proliferation, building partnerships with allies and then he concludes by talking about these "fundamental values" and our "common sense of purpose" that he says provide us strength to defend ourselves alongside our military's might.

So I have to ask, how does pitting the Attorney General against the CIA strengthen us? How does creating a new interrogation task force to be overseen by the FBI, instead of the CIA, strengthen us? How does spending more than all of the Presidents in our history combined strengthen us? How does backing legislation that deprives workers of the right to vote on unionizing via secret ballot strengthen us? What fundamental values do these policies suggest, and how do they strengthen our nation in our ongoing wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and the larger war on terror throughout the world? How do they strengthen us in fighting against violent, Jihadist terrorists that seek our demise?

President Obama has been hailed as one of the greatest communicators of our time. As you can probably tell by now, I don't find this to be true. I think the utopian speech he uses, with its grand gestures, leaves much to be desired, particularly in the way of specifics. And I believe that this vague manner of speaking has started working against him -- first when it came to spending and the stimulus, then with regard to the debate over health care this summer and yesterday, on 9/11.

These questions, about the President's intentions, about his view of America, the Constitution, individual liberty and economic freedom -- these are questions every American needs to ask themselves. And on 9/11, I found myself wondering if President Obama believes, like his spiritual mentor of twenty years, Rev. Wright, that America had it coming? Does he believe that those terrorists that murdered so many in cold blood on that day were pure evil, not just barbaric and uncivilized as he stated, but cold and calculating evildoers? Had he not found himself in the middle of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, how would he have responded on 9/11? Does he believe in the Afghanistan war as he says he does, or is he just an opportunist who knew that the 'war of necessity' in Afghanistan would read better to those answering the polls?

I don't know the answers to all of these questions. But, I do know that when you stack them up side by side, the facts start to paint a picture of a President whose intentions for the country are to take it in a direction so different from our deep-rooted traditions. That is why all those people marched in Washington and throughout the country today, because they believe, like I do, that this country, this great melting pot that was built on freedom is the greatest country in the world. And I don't believe anymore that this President agrees.

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