August 01, 2012

Are We Safer Since Obama Got Elected?

I actually don't buy much of what these guys are selling. Overall Obama has been the worst President of the last 50 years (have you checked out those national debt numbers lately?), but the one area where I think Obama gets at least a C and has surprised me the most is his handling of terrorism.

Could he have done better? Sure. And most of his achievements really come from the fact that he's allowed Bush era policies to continue. Which, to be honest, I thought he was going to pull the plug on from day one.

Call it grading a President on the curve of extremely low expectations.

Over the past few years I've changed positions on closing Guantanamo and civilian trials for terrorists. The track record at Justice in locking up terrorists with long sentences is actually better than the military tribunals -- both under Bush and Obama.

We have dozens of convicted potential terrorists rotting in super-max prisons thanks to the FBI and DOJ. People convicted based only on intention. At the same time we have dozens of actual terrorists who had actually taken up arms and participated in violent jihad, but who the military decided to let go. Many of these have returned to jihad, including al Qaeda.

So, the empirical evidence just doesn't mesh with my expectations about what I thought would happen in civilian courts vs. military courts. I expected that Constitutional rights, lawyers and juries would mean lesser sentences and jihadis getting off on technicalities. I expected that the military would be more gung ho in executing swift and harsh justice.

It turns out, our civilian judges and juries are much harsher and swifter than military commissions. This is true both under the Bush era commissions and the reconstituted ones presently used.

So, I was wrong on that point and those still belaboring it seem to have be ignoring what is actually happening in our courts.

However, the points about closing black sites and ending harsh interrogation are well made. On this Obama was wrong, and he and the Left continue to be in a state of denial over the value of these two programs.

And yes, I do think ending these programs have made us less safe. But only marginally so.

I think this is balanced by the fact that Obama didn't stop drone strikes and, in fact, allowed the CIA to expand the Bush-era program.

So, not an A or a "B+", but a solid back row just getting by by the skin of his teeth C on terrorism.

I've also pointed out more than once the odd hypocrisy that Obama thinks its wrong to hurt someone suspected of being a terrorist or of detaining them, but he has no problem killing them. A dead terrorist gives us no intel, that is true, but a dead terrorist is also a good terrorist.

There's something cathartic about that. In the ideal world you'd first gather intel from a terrorist and then kill them. Win-win as far as I'm concerned. But we don't live in an ideal world and sometimes just knowing that they're dead is good enough.

Anyway, here's the ad. Judge for yourself.

PS -- I think that foreign policy and handling of the war in Afghanistan are related but separate issues brought up by the ad. So, don't take the above post to imply that I think he's doing an adequate job on either of those. Especially on his handling of Afghanistan, Obama has been abysmal.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 05:09 PM | Comments |