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By Hugh Hewitt
Posted June 17, 2008
Barack Obama wants to hike social security taxes, double the capital gains tax and restore the death tax to its highest levels.
Barack Obama opposes any expansion of exploration for oil even though the price you are paying at the pump is soaring and the only way to halt the rise is increased production.
Barack Obama wants to meet, without preconditions, with Ahmadinejad, Chavez and Kim Jung Il.
Barack Obama wants the U.S. to quit the field in Iraq, imperiling the victory there that is emerging with unmistakable clarity.
But perhaps worst of all his many terrible positions, Barack Obama wants to return to the anti-terrorism model of the 1990s --the criminal justice model.
That's what he told ABC News' Jake Tapper on June 16, 2008:
TAPPER: Speaking of the Supreme Court, you applauded the decision that the Supreme Court made last week. The Bush administration says, no matter what people think about other programs, other policies they've initiated, there has not been a terrorist attack within the U.S. since 9/11. And they say the reason that is, is because of the domestic programs, many of which you opposed, the NSA surveillance program, Guantanamo Bay, and other programs. How do you know that they're wrong? It's not possible that they're right?
OBAMA: Well, keep in mind I haven't opposed, for example, the national security surveillance program, the NSA program. What I've said that we can do it within the constraints of our civil liberties and our Constitution.
TAPPER: They disagree, though.
OBAMA: Well, but the fact that they disagree does not mean that they're right on this. What it means is, is that they have been willing to skirt basic protections that are in our Constitution, that our founders put in place.
And it is my firm belief that we can track terrorists, we can crack down on threats against the United States, but we can do so within the constraints of our Constitution. And there has been no evidence on their part that we can't.
And, you know, let's take the example of Guantanamo. What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks -- for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated.
And the fact that the administration has not tried to do that has created a situation where not only have we never actually put many of these folks on trial, but we have destroyed our credibility when it comes to rule of law all around the world, and given a huge boost to terrorist recruitment in countries that say, "Look, this is how the United States treats Muslims."
So that, I think, is an example of something that was unnecessary. We could have done the exact same thing, but done it in a way that was consistent with our laws.
Over the weekend, my C-SPAN "After Words" interview with Andrew McCarthy, lead prosecutor of killers behind the first attack on the World Trade Center aired. McCarthy's new book, Willful Blindess, details the terrible gaps in the approach to terror that the U.S. pursued in the '90s, gaps which led directly to 9/11.
Obama wants to return to those days, which means a certain countdown to another 9/11.
Obama's vacuous assertion that fecklessness in the face of terrorism allows us to say to the world "Look, this is how the United States treats Muslims," is astonishing. It reveals that at Obama's core there is a belief the operation of Gitmo somehow makes the U.S. anti-Muslim, and it buys into the most perverse of charges, that the U.S. has lost "credibility when it comes to the rule of law around the world."
The credibility of our attachment to the rule of law does not depend on the editorial board of Al Jazeera. Nor does it depend on the nod of a first term senator from Illinois with a huge e-mail list.
It depends on our actual, magnificent, centuries-old respect for the law and acknowledgement of its authority, a respect for law that is embodied in the military tribunals being used at Gitmo (which were not overthrown by last week's decision which instead supplemented them with additional habeas proceedings.)
Over the weekend Obama incoherently suggested that the example of the Nuremberg Trials somehow indicted our system of using military tribunals to try terrorists.
This is another display of historical ignorance by Obama, one that rivals his glowing assessment of the Kennedy-Khrushchev Vienna summit.
The Nuremberg Trials were conducted before an International Military Tribunal.
Our military tribunals at Gitmo are in fact certainly fairer than those used at Nuremberg because there are no successors to Major-General Iona Nikitchenko on our panels.
There were no habeas rights provided the Nuremberg defendants, as implied by Obama this weekend, just as there is no anti-Muslim prejudice in our system of military tribunals, an accusation endorsed by Obama yesterday.
It has become painfully obvious that Obama's platform embraces all of the anti-American twaddle of the past five years while ignoring all of the great good accomplished in that time, including the overthrow of Saddam and his mad-as-hatter sons, the disarmament of Libya of its WMD, some progress in Lebanon (now imperiled by an emboldened Iran and Syria) and of course no foreign-directed terrorist attack within the U.S. since 9/11. (We should not forget the many examples of Sudden Jihad Syndrome and their victims. In fact, for an example of the efficacy of the Obama model for fighting terrorism, look at the recent result in the trial of the Seattle mass killer: A mistrial.)
On issue after issue we have enormous clarity on the differences between John McCain and Barack Obama, but nowhere are these stark differences more important than on how the two men would conduct the war against jihadism.
John McCain will instruct the military to continue to wage it wherever necessary to prevent its return to our shores.
Barack Obama will attempt to prosecute terrorists after they kill who knows how many Americans even as he badmouths the American justice system.
Kudos to Tapper on focusing his interview on important issues. I will play the audio of my interview with Andrew McCarthy on today's show. If you want the riveting details on why our approach to terror-fighting in the '90s was so wrong and why Obama's declaration is so troubling, order a copy of Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad. Send one to Obama is you have his address.
By Ralph Peters
Posted June 19, 2008
NAME-BRAND journalists have let Barack Obama make any claim he chooses about Iraq, Afghanistan or coping with terrorism without pinning him down for details.
Yet many of his comments and positions seem stunningly naive about national security. Given that this man may become our next president, shouldn't he explain how he'd do the many impressive things he's promised?
This week, Obama claimed, again, that he'd promptly capture Osama bin Laden. OK, tell me how: Specifically, which concrete measures would he take that haven't been taken? How would he force our intelligence agencies to locate bin Laden? And he can't just respond, "That's classified."
He also claimed that fighting terrorism is a law-enforcement problem, not a military one (should we send the NYPD to Mosul and Kandahar?), and that the answer to terrorism is the approach taken after the 1993 World Trade Center attack, featuring conventional trials and prison terms.
That flaccid post-'93 response only encouraged terrorists - who are unfazed by the prospect of a US prison, where the quality of life's better than it was at home. The Clinton administration's hesitancy and softness gave us the subsequent attacks on the Khobar Towers housing complex in Saudi Arabia, on our embassies in East Africa, on the USS Cole and, ultimately, the events of 9/11.
The senator needs to tell us why it would be different now.
Obama has also said he'd send our troops into Pakistan, although he'll withdraw rapidly from Iraq. His unwillingness to discuss the consequences of a hasty retreat from Baghdad is one thing - but invading Pakistan would be an order of magnitude worse.
A substantial number of Iraq's 26 million citizens did welcome us. In Pakistan, with its 170 million Muslims and some of the most rugged terrain on earth, anti-Americanism prevails. Any US military incursion would be greeted with outrage and demands for a military response.
Nor does Obama appear to grasp that armies need fuel, ammunition, food, spare parts and other supplies. Nearly everything for our troops in landlocked Afghanistan, from bottled water to medical supplies, now comes via Pakistani ports, roads and railroads. If those long, difficult routes were cut, how would President Obama supply our troops? And no, it can't all be done by air.
Oh, Pakistan has nukes, too.
Also this week, Obama's advisers stated that, if apprehended, Osama bin Laden should be tried in a conventional US courtroom. My fellow Americans, do you believe that?
Do you believe that this arch-terrorist, publicly proud of his responsibility for 9/11, should be given all the rights of a US citizen and a public platform to engage in propaganda?
What the full-rights-for-terrorists advocates fail to comprehend is that our judicial processes - so dear to us - are viewed by terrorists as a means to advance their cause, to embarrass us, to reveal our intelligence methods and to perpetuate their martyr myth.
Harsh as it may sound, a dead terrorist is dead, but an imprisoned terrorist is a cause (and not just for his fellow radicals). Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is forgotten, but our Guantanamo prisoners are pop stars.
Obama appears out of his depth on all this, but the gushingly friendly media have given him a pass on every groundless claim or gaffe. It's time for journalists to start asking him tough questions - to press him when he doesn't give serious answers. Isn't that their job?
Those who knew Obama in his university days claim that he couldn't be persuaded to study history. It shows. And his lifelong lack of interest in the military is self-evident.
The response that "he has knowledgeable advisers" isn't enough. Obama's military and counterterror "experts" compose a unique collection of the dismissed, the discredited and the dysfunctional. Most appear to be out to settle personal grudges rather than to advance our nation's security.
Let's hope that just one high-profile journalist pushes Obama on the following questions:
If this highly talented candidate has glaring gaps in his understanding of the world, voters deserve to know. If his campaign promises have no substance, we deserve to know that, too.
- How would you find Osama bin Laden? What, specifically, would you do differently?
- What would be the rules for capturing or killing Osama?
- How would you manage the consequences of the military incursion into Pakistan you've threatened? Are you willing to go to war with Pakistan?
- What would be the specific results of a swift troop withdrawal from Iraq?
- Why would a judicial approach to defeating terrorists work this time when it failed to protect us in the past?
- Do you truly believe that self-admitted terrorists, when captured, deserve the full legal privileges of US citizens?
I support John McCain for president, but I live by the values that guided me as an Army officer: I will support my commander in chief as chosen by the American people, no matter who he (or, one day, she) may be. But until the people make their choice, both candidates should be held to the same tough standards of truth in advertising.
Sen. Obama, tell us how.
Ralph Peters' new book, "Looking for Trouble," will be published in July.