The al-Awlaki Killing Crossed a Line. Bravo, Mr. President.

As a frequent critic of President Obama, I feel duty-bound to have his back when he gets something right.  Obama has been criticized from both the left and the right over the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a treasonous American citizen killed by a drone-fired missile in Yemen.  But in addition to being a tactical victory, that operation is a welcome reminder that the President understands we are at war.

Or at least, on some days he understands it.  Occasionally his “I’m-not-Bush” compulsions overwhelm his commander-in-chiefness, as when he pre-announces a retreat while announcing a surge, or when he floats the indefensible idea of trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed a few hundred yards away from Ground Zero.  But eventually he backed off both of those bad ideas, as well as his grand-standing promise to close Guantanamo.  On a more positive note, the take-down of Osama bin Laden was a gutsy call and a genuine triumph for the Obama presidency.

Writing in the Washington Post, Richard Cohen is troubled by the legal ramifications of killing an American citizen, although he admits that “a little ‘yippee’ emitted from me when I heard the news.”

Something big and possibly dangerous has happened . . . in secret. Government’s most awesome power — to take a life — has been exercised on one of its own citizens without benefit of trial. A guy named Barron and another named Lederman apparently said it was okay. Maybe it was. But I’d sure like to hear the attorney general or the president explain why.

Two thoughts:  I’d like to hear that explanation as well, but I’m not holding my breath during an election campaign.  And, somehow I’m pretty confident that these two “guys” in  the Justice Department, who apparently drafted a legal memo supporting the legality of  killing al-Awlaki, will not end up demonized in anything like the manner of John Yoo.

I voted against Mr. Obama, and intend to do so again, but from the start I’ve been looking for silver linings in his presidency.  Here’s one: Taken as a whole, the Obama presidency is tugging America in the direction of bipartisan support for the war against Islamic fascism.  America may become safer as a result.

After a Fair Trial, the Prisoner Will Be Executed

Journalist Michael Kinsley once said that “a gaffe is when a politician tells the truth.”  I could quibble with the precision of that — some gaffes are untrue — but it’s a great line.  And by that definition, hapless presidential spokesman Robert Gibbs committed a gaffe this morning (hat tip for my  headline to  Tigerhawk):

Where he gets tried is still up for debate, but the White House thinks it knows what will happen when alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is convicted.

“Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is going to meet justice and he’s going to meet his maker,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told John King on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday morning.

“He’s likely to be executed for the heinous crimes he committed,” he added.

Cue Mr. Rogers, the noted defense attorney: “Can you say ‘tainted jury pool’? Sure you can!”

I don’t know whether KSM will actually get executed or not, and I don’t much care — I have ambivalent feelings about the death penalty.  Here’s what I do know: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will never draw another free breath. In the highly unlikely event that a federal judge can be found who will dismiss the charges because of the waterboarding or an inability to seat an impartial jury, the administration will immediately rediscover the concept of “enemy combatant,” and will use that to keep the 9/11 mastermind on ice until his dying day.

The notion that KSM has all the rights of a civilian murder suspect is farcical, and in
homage to that farce the administration is willing to endanger Americans. This same desire to pretend we are not at war was behind the decision to give the FBI only 50 minutes with Captain Underpants before letting him lawyer up and hide behind the rights of a common criminal.

How is the KSM Trial Like a Garbage Barge?

Remember the Mobro 4000?  I didn’t recall it by that name, but I certainly remember the garbage barge that in 1987 traveled up and down the Atlantic seaboard, from Long Island to Belize and back, looking for a place to unload 3,100 tons of garbage.

The bizarre 16-week journey started with local outcry in North Carolina over plans to burn the New York garbage in a pilot methane-production program, and the story quickly became a running joke.   [Hi Mom!  I seem to remember you were tickled by it at the time.]

After the initial rejection, no state or country on the East Coast would let the barge unload.  I don’t recall ever hearing that there was anything particularly toxic about the contents, but the barge had become so notorious that nobody wanted to take any chances.  Eventually the garbage went back to Long Island for disposal there.

This came to mind when I heard that New York City officials had come to their senses and begun lobbying the federal government to abandon plans to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and others in civilian court in lower Manhattan.  Certain adjectives seem to connect with certain blog topics in my mind, and I find that I’ve referred to this as an “indefensible decision” not once, not twice, but three times.

My first and longest post on the topic said it was intended as another Bush-bashing ploy, and that it could not be understood as a principled decision because the administration still plans to try other terrorists as enemy combatants.  I’m glad that it looks like the trial won’t be held in lower Manhattan, but the point is that there should not be a civilian trial at all

A grandstanding mayor in upstate New York promptly suggested holding the trial at the air force base in Newburgh.  (Other local officials fell all over each other denouncing the idea.)  I can’t find a link, but I heard on the radio that some other politician said it should be held in Obama’s home town of Chicago.

I envision the planned KSM trial now traipsing from one venue to another, turned away at every stop.  It would be poetic justice if KSM and his fellow terrorists, like the wandering garbage barge, end up right back where they started — in this case, Guantanamo.  The Gitmo option is still available, now that the president has abandoned his self-imposed deadline to close the facility in his first year.

Obama: “Our Nation is at War Against a Far-Reaching Network of Violence and Hatred”


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).

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Gitmo, Politics and Unintended Consequences

gitmo resized

The good people of Thomson, Illinois, are eager for the jobs that would be created if the Obama administration moves some of the prisoners held at Guantanamo to the Thomson Correctional Center.

To pre-empt security concerns, the feds say the underutilized facility “will be enhanced to exceed perimeter security standards at the nation’s only ’supermax’ prison in Florence, Colorado, where there has never been an escape or external attack.”

But the detainees themselves seem to want to stay put in Gitmo.  And who can blame them?

The 221 remaining inmates [at Gitmo] receive between four and 20 hours outdoor recreation in the Caribbean sun and anything from weekly to almost unlimited access to DVDs and receive three newspapers (USA Today, plus one Egyptian and one Saudi Arabian title) twice a week. Every bed has an arrow pointing towards Mecca and every cell a prayer rug. …

The detainees’ diet is exclusively Middle Eastern and halal, in observance of regional and religious sensitivities. Dates, olive oil and honey are provided daily and pita bread is baked on the premises. They drink the same bottled water as the prison’s staff and have the same access as other prisoners to 16,000 books and 1,600 magazines held at the library. …

At the low security Camp 4, detainees could be seen sitting in the yard chatting and hanging up their laundry. A new gravel football field was recently completed.[If they were moved to the supermax facility in] Florence, Colorado, prisoners would also spend 22 ½ hours a day in a 9ft by 9ft cell with the only natural light coming from a skylight outside.

Exercise would be limited to an hour and a half indoors five days a week and they would have minimal contact with others.

gitmo-Camp4rec copySo in pursuit of the political and diplomatic benefits of closing the hated Guantanamo — albeit more slowly than promised — the administration appears prepared to subject the detainees to much harsher conditions.

While I savor the irony, I’m not particularly opposed to transferring the detainees to Illinois.  I’m sure they can be housed securely there, and realistically, the closure of Gitmo is inevitable.  A much more serious security concern is the administration’s indefensible plan to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and some (but not all) of the other detainees in criminal court.

(Gitmo photos from the Defense Department)

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The Folly of KSM’s Civilian Trial

Krauthammer:

What happens if KSM (and his co-defendants) “do not get convicted,” asked Senate Judiciary Committee member Herb Kohl. “Failure is not an option,” replied Holder. Not an option? Doesn’t the presumption of innocence, er, presume that prosecutorial failure — acquittal, hung jury — is an option? By undermining that presumption, Holder is undermining the fairness of the trial, the demonstration of which is the alleged rationale for putting on this show in the first place.

Senator Graham vs. Senator Clueless, on Trials for Jihadists

This clip of Senator Lindsey Graham questioning Attorney General Eric Holder on the decision to try KSM in civilian court is well worth 4:40 of your time.  The South Carolina Republican eloquently and passionately illustrates the folly of treating jihadists like common criminals.

“If you’re going to prosecute anybody in civilian court, our law is clear that the moment custodial interrorgation occurs, the defendant — the criminal defendant — is entitled to a lawyer, and to be informed of their right to remain silent.  The big problem I have is that you’re criminalizing the war. That if we caught bin Laden tomorrow, we have mixed theories and we couldn’t turn him over to the CIA, the FBI or military intelligence for an interrogation on the battlefield, because now we’re saying that he is subject to criminal court in the United States, and you’re confusing the people fighting this war.

What would you tell the military commander who captured him?  Would you tell him that he must read him his rights and give him a lawyer? And if you didn’t tell him that, would you jeopardize the prosecution in a criminal court?”

Graham’s masterful performance struck me when I first saw it last night, but I was moved to post about it today after another senator, Democrat Patrick Leahy of Vermont, took issue with his colleague and said no interrogation would be necessary.  “For one thing, capturing Osama bin Laden — we’ve had enough on him, we don’t need to interrogate him,” Leahy said.

Yes, we doubtless could convict Osama bin Laden based on evidence already in our hands.  But Senator Leahy, don’t you think there are a few questions we might want to ask a captured bin Laden? Such as: “Dude, where you been hanging out all these years?”  Or: “Hey, any of your peeps have any plans we might wanna know about?”

I don’t want to make too much out of a statement that Leahy must already regret.  I sure wouldn’t want to be held accountable for the dumbest things I ever said.  But it’s hard to imagine a starker demonstration of the difference between a war mentality and a crime-fighting mentality.

Update: Andy McCarthy, who has been all over the the civilian trial debacle since the news first broke last Friday, made very similar points about Senator Leahy in The Corner — posting at almost exactly the same time.

“If you’re going to prosecute anybody in civilian

court, our law is clear that the moment custodial

interrorgation occurs, the defendant — the criminal

defendant — is entitled to a lawyer, and to be

informed of their right to remain silent.  The big

problem I have is that you’re criminalizing the war.

That if we caught bin Ladin tomorrow, we have mixed

theories and we couldn’t turn him over to the CIA, the

FBI or military intelligence for an interrogation on

the battlefield, because now we’re saying that he is

subject to criminal court in the United States, and

you’re confusing the people fighting this war.  What

would you tell the military commander who captured

him?  Would you tell him that he must read him his

rights and give him a lawyer? And if you didn’t tell

him that, would you jeopardize the prosecution in a

criminal court??

Politics Outweighs Principle in Ordering a Civilian Trial for KSM

Wanted: Impartial Jurors

Wanted: Impartial Jurors

The Obama administration’s announcement that it would transfer the 9/11 mastermind and four of his accomplices to New York City for a criminal trial can only be understood as yet another cynical ploy to mollify the Left by focusing on the alleged misdeeds of the Bush administration.

It certainly can’t be understood as a principled decision.  The administration intends to continue on the path of holding military commissions for other captured jihadists.  I know of no way to articulate a principled reason for bringing some but not all terrorists into the criminal justice system.

Much has been written about the folly of giving all of the rights of an accused American citizen to a captured enemy combatant.  Andrew C. McCarthy, who prosecuted the first World Trade Center bombers, sums it up as well as anyone today in an article posted on National Review.  Excerpts:

As experienced defense lawyers well know, when there is no mystery about whether the defendants have committed the charged offenses, and when there is controversy attendant to the government’s investigative tactics, the standard defense strategy is to put the government on trial.

That is, Pres. Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, experienced litigators, fully realize that in civilian court, the Qaeda quintet can and will demand discovery of mountains of government intelligence. They will demand disclosures about investigative tactics; the methods and sources by which intelligence has been obtained; the witnesses from the intelligence community, the military, and law enforcement who interrogated witnesses, conducted searches, secretly intercepted enemy communications, and employed other investigative techniques. They will attempt to compel testimony from officials who formulated U.S. counterterrorism strategy, in addition to U.S. and foreign intelligence officers. As civilian “defendants,” these war criminals will put Bush-era counterterrorism tactics under the brightest public spotlight in American legal history.

This is exactly what President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder know will happen. And because it is unnecessary to have this civilian trial at all, one must conclude that this is exactly what Obama and Holder want to see happen.

From indictment to trial, the civilian case against the 9/11 terrorists will be a years-long seminar, enabling al-Qaeda and its jihadist allies to learn much of what we know and, more important, the methods and sources by which we come to know it. But that is not the half of it. By moving the case to civilian court, the president and his attorney general have laid the groundwork for an unprecedented surrender of our national-defense secrets directly to our most committed enemies.

Waging war is not like fighting crime.  If you are a civilian police officer and you see an unidentified person lurking where nobody should be, you ask to see ID.  If you are a soldier in a battle zone, you shoot.  The rules are different because they have to be different.

Several months ago, author Robert Wright declared that if we cannot convict terrorists in court — for example, if evidence is tainted because of the way it was gathered — we should set them free.  He specifically included Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.  Wright is a principled liberal whom I met as an undergraduate, and whose intellect I respect.  But this is folly.

What is the government going to do if the case against KSM is thrown out of court?  Tell him, “here’s 100 bucks for cab fare out of the city — good luck”?

Torture, Euthanasia, and Decision-Making Without A Bright Line

Khalid_Shaikh_MohammedLawyers often talk about “bright-line rules.”  Example:  If you are at least 21 years old, you can legally buy liquor in the U.S.  If you will turn 21 when the clock strikes midnight tonight, you cannot. Never mind that certain 20-year-olds would be able to drink more responsibly than certain older people — there’s a bright-line rule.

Bright-line rules provide the comfort of easy decision-making. But many times there is no bright line, leaving people of good will to agonize about the lesser evil, often under intense pressure.

  • When does a ticking-time-bomb interrogation cross the line from harsh to torturous?
  • When does giving morphine to a dying patient cross the line from providing comfort to homicide?

The first question, of course, has been hotly debated for the past few years, with new information emerging this week. The second is cast in stark relief by an extraordinary 13,000-word cover story in the New York Times Magazine, about allegations of euthanasia in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

First things first: On Saturday, the Washington Post published a front-page article describing how valuable intelligence was gathered from Khalid Sheik Mohammed:

These scenes provide previously unpublicized details about the transformation of the man known to U.S. officials as KSM from an avowed and truculent enemy of the United States into what the CIA called its “preeminent source” on al-Qaeda. This reversal occurred after Mohammed was subjected to simulated drowning and prolonged sleep deprivation, among other harsh interrogation techniques.

KSM, an accomplished resistor, provided only a few intelligence reports prior to the use of the waterboard, and analysis of that information revealed that much of it was outdated, inaccurate or incomplete,” according to newly unclassified portions of a 2004 report by the CIA’s then-inspector general released Monday by the Justice Department.

The debate over the effectiveness of subjecting detainees to psychological and physical pressure is in some ways irresolvable, because it is impossible to know whether less coercive methods would have achieved the same result. But for defenders of waterboarding, the evidence is clear: Mohammed cooperated, and to an extraordinary extent, only when his spirit was broken in the month after his capture March 1, 2003, as the inspector general’s report and other documents released this week indicate.

This was as close to a ticking-time-bomb scenario as you are likely to get in the real world:  The mastermind of 9/11 was replying “soon you will know” in response to questions about additional terror attacks.  It seems clear that specific terrorists were apprehended and actual American lives were saved based on the information KSM oh-so-reluctantly provided. The argument is over whether that justifies torturing him.

It’s hard to feel sympathy for KSM, but I’m troubled by the fact that techniques that arguably are torture seem to have been used on numerous prisoners.  However, at least in  the case of KSM, waterboarding was authorized and conducted in the belief, supported by legal counsel, that it fell short of torture.  We as a society seem to be deciding that waterboarding should not be permissible — but the desire by some on the Left to prosecute Bush Administration officials relies too much on the benefit of hindsight.

I’m struck by the parallels between this debate and the dying-patient issue, after reading Sheri Fink’s NYT Magazine cover story, the product of two and a half years of research.  After the Katrina floodwaters receded and 45 patients were found dead at Memorial Medical Center, an investigation was launched, focusing on patients who received morphine injections.

You really should read the whole thing, but because you probably won’t, here’s the key passage for this purpose:

Morphine, a powerful narcotic, is frequently used to control severe pain or discomfort. But the drug can also slow breathing, and suddenly introducing much higher doses can lead to death.

Doctors, nurses and clinical researchers who specialize in treating patients near the ends of their lives say that this “double effect” poses little danger when drugs are administered properly. [Dr. Ewing] Cook [of New Orleans' Memorial Medical Center] says it’s not so simple. “If you don’t think that by giving a person a lot of morphine you’re not prematurely sending them to their grave, then you’re a very naïve doctor,” Cook told me when we spoke for the first time, in December 2007. “We kill ’em.”

In fact, the distinction between murder and medical care often comes down to the intent of the person administering the drug. Cook walked this line often as a pulmonologist, he told me, and he prided himself as the go-to man for difficult end-of-life situations. When a very sick patient or the patient’s family made the decision to disconnect a ventilator, for example, Cook would prescribe morphine to make sure the patient wasn’t gasping for breath as the machine was withdrawn.

Often Cook found that achieving this level of comfort required enough morphine that the drug markedly suppressed the patient’s breathing. The intent was to provide comfort, but the result was to hasten death, and Cook knew it. To Cook, the difference between something ethical and something illegal “is so fine as to be imperceivable.

The article does a masterful job of taking the reader through the thought processes and decisions involved in triaging patients as the floodwaters rose, knowing some of them will die either because of the conditions or from the stress of evacuation.  Faced with an evacuation order and a shortage of helicopters, medical personnel had to decide whether to leave dying patients alive but unattended, or to hasten the inevitable with a large dose of morphine.

Although a grandstanding attorney general called some of the deaths “simple homicide” and staged SWAT-team arrests, a grand jury ultimately refused to issue any indictments against medical personnel at the hospital.

I think declining to indict was the right call in New Orleans — and I think it would be the right call regarding the Bush Administration’s use of harsh interrogation techniques, or torture if you prefer.  People in unique situations and under incredible life-and-death pressure have to have some latitude in choosing the lesser evil.

(I told the Web Goddess what I was writing about, and she said she thought the analogy between the two situations was “tortured.”  What do you think?)

These scenes provide previously unpublicized details about the transformation of the man known to U.S. officials as KSM from an avowed and truculent enemy of the United States into what the CIA called its “preeminent source” on al-Qaeda.

This reversal occurred after Mohammed was subjected to simulated drowning and prolonged sleep deprivation, among other harsh interrogation techniques.

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“KSM, an accomplished resistor, provided only a few intelligence reports prior to the use of the waterboard, and analysis of that information revealed that much of it was outdated, inaccurate or incomplete,” according to newly unclassified portions of a 2004 report by the CIA’s then-inspector general released Monday by the Justice Department.

The debate over the effectiveness of subjecting detainees to psychological and physical pressure is in some ways irresolvable, because it is impossible to know whether less coercive methods would have achieved the same result. But for defenders of waterboarding, the evidence is clear: Mohammed cooperated, and to an extraordinary extent, only when his spirit was broken in the month after his capture March 1, 2003, as the inspector general’s report and other documents released this week indicate.

Obama’s National Security Policy Looks Like Bush’s Third Term. Thank Goodness.

George W. Obama at the National Archives yesterday (AP)

George W. Obama at the National Archives yesterday (AP)

Krauthammer today:

The genius of democracy is that the rotation of power forces the opposition to come to its senses when it takes over. When the new guys, brought to power by popular will, then adopt the policies of the old guys, a national consensus is forged and a new legitimacy established.

Exactly right.  I fear that Obama is busily making a mess of the economy — or rather, more of a mess.  But on national security, it becomes clearer every day that despite Obama’s persistent sniping at his predecessor, we’ve essentially re-elected George Bush, and I for one am grateful.

After starting by retaining Bush’s Secretary of Defense, Obama has begun a surge in Afghanistan, adopted Bush’s timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, authorized repeated Predator drone strikes on al Qaeda targets in Pakistan, affirmed the use of military commissions, and yesterday acknowledged that some terrorists will have to be held indefinitely even though it will not be possible to prosecute them successfully.

Ponnuru:

President Obama and former Vice President Cheney weren’t so much a study in contrast today as a portrait of harmony. Both men agree that the Bush administration’s anti-terrorist policies were largely correct. Cheney signaled his acceptance of this view by vigorously defending those policies. Obama signaled it by largely adopting those same policies and emitting a fog of words to cover up the fact. (See this defense of Obama for a run-down of all the continuities.)

Obama’s fellow Democrats are helping to save him from his ill-advised promise to close Guantanamo within a year — the Senate vote eliminating funding for the closure was 90-6.  On the torture issue, Obama is trying to reclaim the moral high ground for America, and as long as he continues aggressively prosecuting the war, I largely wish him well.  It will give him a means of staking out a genuine policy difference, it may gain us some goodwill abroad, and if a time comes when we once again have a Khalid Sheikh Mohammad in custody smirking that “soon you will know” about imminent terror attacks, I strongly suspect that somebody will find a technique and a justification for doing what needs to be done.

I caught snatches of Obama’s speech yesterday on the radio, and I remember thinking that if I closed my eyes, I could imagine these words coming out of Bush’s mouth:

In the midst of all these challenges, however, my single most important responsibility as President is to keep the American people safe. That is the first thing that I think about when I wake up in the morning. It is the last thing that I think about when I go to sleep at night.

This responsibility is only magnified in an era when an extremist ideology threatens our people, and technology gives a handful of terrorists the potential to do us great harm. We are less than eight years removed from the deadliest attack on American soil in our history. We know that al Qaeda is actively planning to attack us again. We know that this threat will be with us for a long time, and that we must use all elements of our power to defeat it.

Of course he quickly slipped back into campaign mode and blamed every problem on the Bush Administration.  But that will get old quickly, even among his supporters.  Meanwhile, look to his deeds, not just his words.