(Read Part II of this post here.) First things first. All of the Guantanamo detainees that our intelligence community is monitoring right now that have gone to Yemen were released during the Bush Administration. Secondly, Cheney is not so subtly inferring that Obama desires nothing more than to literally open the doors of prison and let a bunch of terrorists go, perhaps with a gentle rap on the behind (with the paddle with the cloth on it, not the hard one). Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. The President has said, on many occasions, that closing Guantanamo means deciding what to do with people we cannot legally hold and cannot securely let free. So I think that saying the President wants to release “the hard-core Al Qaeda-trained terrorists” in Guantanamo is a little bit of a giant lie.
I really like the fact that the Obama Administration doesn’t use the phrase “war on terror,” because it sounds incredibly stupid. It worked for a while, when all of us wanted blood, red blood for the September 11th attacks. And that was okay with me for a while, because sometimes blood is good. But, and I really can’t say this better than senior Obama Administration official John O. Brennan (whom I’ll quote in a moment): being at war with an emotion can only work for some time. Brennan said, “There are numerous other such public statements that explicitly state we are at war. The difference from the last administration is that we are at war with that which is tangible — Al Qaeda, violent extremists, and terrorists — rather than at war with a tactic, ‘terrorism’.” And he’s entirely right.
The wording of this war has been problematic from the beginning. How many times did you hear things like, “We’re not fighting a conventional army,” or “Our enemy will stop at nothing to ensure victory,” or the most obtuse of them all, “If you are not with us, then you are with the terrorists.” These vague, yet paradoxically specific statements and threats used in coupling with the term “war on terror,” gave the previous administration the public support necessary to push senators and house members to support the war…on terror. We’ve needed to make our targets specific for years now, instead of making totalitarian statements about how that just the way things are, doggonnit! The first step in getting rid of something is defining its perimeter, its boundaries, what it is. (One could take the extra step and make the assumption that the very reason why such vague language was used was so that the government could act without reserve and without boundary. I’ll leave that one up to you.)
I’ve actually gotten a little tired of how much of a realist President Obama can actually be much of the time. In spite of the charge of employing “lofty rhetoric,” almost every speech he gives contains the inevitable, “Make no mistake. We are at war with…” or something to that effect. In every speech that I’ve listened too concerning our foreign policy or national security, President Obama acknowledges that we are at war. He has committed more troops to Afghanistan, something that the American Military had been requesting since that last guy was in office, with his war demon. While Obama took several months to commit to actually fighting Al Qaeda, the last guys didn’t really do it directly but for a few months at the beginning, before Saddam tried to kill the Easter Bunny on Veterans Day, with nukes and anthrax.
Barry promised us immediate prosperity. After he got elected all wars were going to end and Kim Jong Il was going to invite the Dali Lama over for dinner, to see if there’s “backsies.” Instead, things look pretty much the same as they do every year, except for no one has any money anymore, except for the people who continue to pretend that they do (“Wall Street”) and somehow get away with it, because they have so much pretend money. The only difference is that I tend not to worry as much about things, because at least my president can speak in complete sentences and doesn’t make statements that are so hyperbolic they border on the legitimately crazy. Case in point: Dick Cheney. He could have said, “I think that everything that the President is doing is wrong. I think his methods for fighting terrorism are ineffective and that they only serve to lengthen an already costly and deadly war.” Instead, he said that President Obama wanted you to gay marry a terrorist, because he’s afraid to admit that there’s a war on.
But whatever. It’s almost the New Year. In less than four hours it will be 2010. I think I’m going to stop writing, and start preparing for Armageddon.