Perhaps all of the criticism from Dick Cheney and others about a law-enforcement approach to terrorism has had a positive effect. In his weekly address today, President Obama reprises one of the better lines from his Inaugural Address:
It’s been nearly a year since I stood on the steps of the U.S. Capitol and took the oath of office as your President. And with that oath came the solemn responsibility that I carry with me every moment of every day-the responsibility to protect the safety and security of the American people. On that day I also made it very clear — our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred, and that we will do whatever it takes to defeat them and defend our country, even as we uphold the values that have always distinguished America among nations.
I give the weekly address about a B+, with points deducted for a gratuitous and misleading swipe at his predecessor:
I refocused the fight — bringing to a responsible end the war in Iraq, which had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks, and dramatically increasing our resources in the region where al Qaeda is actually based, in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
By continuing to talk like a candidate, President Obama diminishes himself and diminishes America — a country that went to war in Iraq with strong bipartisan support. And of course it’s both premature and ludicrous for him to claim credit for “bringing to a responsible end the war in Iraq.” Obama deserves some credit for staying the course, but when that war does come to a responsible end, it will be because Mr. Bush found a path to victory.
But I’m glad to hear the Commander-in-Chief talking like a warrior. Actions speak louder than words, of course, but words are important. Presidential words are particularly important. By acknowledging that we are at war, Obama may help stiffen the spines of elements within his administration that are serious about national security. With enough such spine-stiffening, we may see a transition away from the law-enforcement approach to asymmetric warfare, an approach that led to the indefensible decision to bring the mastermind of 9/11 to the media capital of the world and provide him a platform for inspiring jihadists everywhere.
Update: Once again, as in the post I link to just above, Andy McCarthy has posted his own similar take in The Corner at around the same time (emphasis added):
Finally, behold, yet again, the folly of President Obama’s law-enforcement approach to terrorism. Not only has the assignment of counsel in the criminal case denied us whatever intelligence Mutallab could be giving us about Yemen. The criminal case is complicating the President’s ability to do his jobs as president and commander-in-chief. This morning, Obama declared flatly that Mutallab conspired with al Qaeda in a heinous attempted terrorist attack. It was refreshing to hear the president not hedge with “alleged” this and “alleged” that. FDR never suggested that the “fear itself” we needed to fear was “alleged.” But, of course, defense counsel will now claim the president is hopelessly prejudicing Mutallab’s ability to get a fair trial — in Detroit or anyplace else — by smearing him in the press and eviscerating the presumption of innocence.
No, I don’t suffer from any delusion that McCarthy is aware of my existence — let alone that he is following my lead. In fact, the intellectual debt flows in the opposite direction, so much so that I’ve finally created a McCarthy tag for my blog. I just think the timing is cool. And here I’ll belatedly tip my hat to one of McCarthy’s fellow Cornerites, Daniel Foster, whose post informed me of the President’s remarks this morning (although my take is more generous to Obama).