Patterico's Pontifications

9/22/2010

Outrage of the Day: Obama Says We Can Absorb Another Terrorist Attack

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:29 pm

Is he wrong?

Woodward’s book portrays Obama and the White House as barraged by warnings about the threat of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil and confronted with the difficulty in preventing them. During an interview with Woodward in July, the president said, “We can absorb a terrorist attack. We’ll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever . . . we absorbed it and we are stronger.”

Conservatives who demand context for every Christine O’Donnell gaffequote are outraged!!!!1!, even though you just saw all the context provided for Obama’s statement.

Then again, is the context likely to provide what conservatives want to hear: a strong declaration that, while we can rise above any terrorist attack, it’s unacceptable and we would retaliate with overwhelming force?

Doubtful.

I grade my reaction as “ready to be outraged” — but not quite there until I hear the context.

Your mileage may vary and probably does.

P.S. If you are interested in the administration’s anonymous and self-serving spin on what the context allegedly was, it is set forth here.

UPDATE: The anonymous spin was accurate.

83 Responses to “Outrage of the Day: Obama Says We Can Absorb Another Terrorist Attack”

  1. I really don’t get the big fuss. I mean, the war on terror is just about the only thing he is doing right……

    gahrie (ed7a50)

  2. Tempest in a tea pot.

    Not worthy of attention.

    I take it to mean as a glittering generality “We are a strong nation.”

    I don’t know if he really means it. But I take it as his attempt to compliment America.

    steve miller (9c2294)

  3. We also know that whatever he does, he doesn’t want to lose the whole Democrat party over his Afghanistan policy, nevermind what is right for the country.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  4. What Obambi is saying is that terrorists are no threat to the political power of politicians, and all they can do is kill thousands of individual Americans…therefore, terror attacks are nothing to get excited about.

    Dave Surls (9adbdf)

  5. I think the biggest agitation, which I think you share, is the intellectual dishonesty and double-standard that is employed.

    The Dems pushed the idea that Bush didn’t heed warnings and wasn’t interested in the advice of others, for Obama it is made into a virtue of being above the influence of fearmongers and mortals.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  6. I admit that initially I was not too concerned about the “absorbing’ remarks, except for the part about losing the Democrap party. Then I noticed John Bolton was not best pleased which caused me to re-evaluate as he is obviously a v. smart man. It made me realise that Barry’s remarks were not very Presidenty (so what’s new?)
    The loss of 3000 lives was not a big deal to him, (hell we abort more babies on a daily basis-I looked it up, around 3700 per day and we know how he feels about them)
    Problem is, as Prez, you are supposed to remind the world that those losses are unacceptable at all levels, not that they are “absorbable.” It is almost the professorial equivalent of GWB’s “Bring it on…” (for which he apologized) which Barry thinks will inspire confidence in his handling of the WOT. Sadly, for a large portion of Americans we have zero confidence in his ability to find his own ass with both hands, so this incident will be used against him. And why not? He deserves it!

    Gazzer (c062b1)

  7. Insofar as he’s saying we are a strong nation, good for him. But thousands of Americans found 9/11 to be beyond their absorption capacity. It is something we cannot find acceptable, and if this is a hidden argument that we overreacted, it is dead wrong.

    Gahrie claims Obama is handling the war on terror correctly. I strongly disagree. A nuclear Iran is another thing we should find unacceptable enough to stop. Afghanistan has been handled dreadfully. Iraq is worse, too, with combat missions for the Air Force ramping up considerably.

    He’s handling it better than I expected, and every now and then, it’s clear he sees this as a smart political calculation. Gone is the type of leader who would prioritize these matters in reverse.

    But that’s all old news.

    The part that actually bugs me is this idea that we’re stronger. We aren’t. We lost a lot of freedom on 9/11. We lost valuable people and a wonderful pair of iconic structures. We lost some wealth. We’ve lost lives.

    They did a lot of damage.

    Just as with WWII, the USA that actually can overcome these challenges would be a great nation, stronger than what we were in 2001. We aren’t that yet.

    I’m overthinking something that was loaded onto a teleprompter because it sounded cool, aren’t I?

    Dustin (b54cdc)

  8. MD is correct, the double standard stinks.

    He is right, after all, we can absorb another attack. The poor victims will suffer, but the nation will go on. What we do at that point is anyone’s guess. However, as one of those potential victims, I wish he was trying harder to get an American victory in this war. I know it’s hard, and he can’t just vote “present”, but we would really like to not be victims of Muslim terrorism.

    tyree (cf6f25)

  9. I think this is just another example of his inability to “feel” an issue. I had a commander who was a very smart academic but not very inspiring. We had to go over a 30 minute powerpoint presentation on net warfare being made for his boss.
    the review took 3 hours and somewhere in the first three slides my commander said something along the lines of “you need to understand the taxonomy of learning when putting these together”.
    Font color and size, exact wording, etc. were the focus.
    Obama reminds me of his style. Detached and too clinical on some subjects that require a little more emotional engagement.

    OT but interesting links re powerpoint
    http://infowarrior.org/powerpointless.html

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/27/world/27powerpoint.html

    VOR2 (c1dcc4)

  10. From the Star Trek episode “The Return of the Archons”:
    “You will be absorbed…your individuality will merge into the unity of good.”

    — Any resemblance to the agenda of our current POTUS is, of course, completely coincidental.

    Icy Texan (a8053b)

  11. I don’t see the big deal here.

    Terrye (84455a)

  12. I agree it was a clumsy attempt to say America as a nation is strong. I just wish he’d at least try to sound like he was taking the loss of individual life that would occur as seriously as if it would first kill Sasha and Malia, then Michelle and himself.

    Bush had no problem sounding like that BTW, the derisive hoots of “cowboy” by the intelligentsia notwithstanding.

    no one you know (72db9b)

  13. His attitude is defeatist, his first consideration on Afghanistan, was pulling out, his attitude to ward Ft. Hood, was nonchalance and blame shifting,
    he denounces Gitmo and the settlements in a lowerregister than Ahmadinejad, but the template is the same,

    ian cormac (6709ab)

  14. I take it as an attempt to compliment America, BUT doing so in such a way that it calls into question just how seriously he takes the terrorist threat.

    Its one thing to say something along these lines immediately after a terrorist attack as a way of comforting the American people (and I would hardly be shocked if Obama’s people find a roughly similar quote from Rudy during the September 01 timeframe). But making such a comment at this point — 9 years away from 9/11 but possibly mere months before Iran acquires a nuke — is kind of akin to a kid asking his mom whether the vase on the living room table is an antique and when she says no, answering “oh, good.”

    Sean P (a82c1f)

  15. “Outrage of the Day” is a great headline for this bit.

    imdw (c982ed)

  16. If he had not previously denounced air strikes, as ‘air raiding villages’ if he hadn’t denounced Gitmo,
    using the same language, that the Levick Grp has employed in the past, then there would be a point
    to it. But he clearly regards the military as bitterclingers, which get in his way of the real work of community organization

    ian cormac (6709ab)

  17. imdb: It depends on how you look at it. If anything, its hard to limit the outrages to just one.

    After all, to call this the outrage of the day, Patterico had to promote it over Loretta Sanchez announcing that the Vietnamese are trying to take her seat (source -http://doubleplusundead.mee.nu/democrat_rep._loretta_sanchez_race-baiting_vietnamese_immigrants_on_univision

    Sean P (a82c1f)

  18. Given this administration’s incredibly lame comments regarding failed terrorist attacks in NYC and on airlines recently, his credibility on this issue will always be open to interpretation, no matter his true intent. Remember the infamous Nappy’s comments about how “the system worked?”

    Dmac (d61c0d)

  19. Well, of course the nation can absorb another terrorist attack. Just like we absorbed the Civil War, Pearl Harbor, and all the other stuff anyone can mention.

    But the idea of successfully coping with a terrorist attack also minimizes the need, or the desirability, of responding in a forceful fashion, and gives credence to the notion of terrorism being a matter for law enforcement as opposed to a matter that requires a military response.

    This is problematic on several levels, the least of which is granting terrorists civil rights and access to our court systems.

    As long as it is merely citizens who bear the brunt of terrorist attacks, our Democratic politicians and liberal useful idiots will be happy to treat them as a criminal problem. You can bet that until Hollywood suffers an attack, our brave artistic community will continue to be Che and Hugo Chavez supporters.

    It is for those reasons that Obama’s remarks are so disturbing, for it ignores the actual deaths of U.S. citizens and, metaphorically speaking, treats the U.S. population as a sponge.

    The current administration probably has discussions about whether it would make sense to sacrifice one potato to save 10, or one hundred. The problem is that most of them fail to understand the moral bankruptcy of that approach: men aren’t potatoes. Think of the comments by Obama science Czar John Holdren on de-developing the United States, and his position on energy development in the Third World.

    Jack (e383ed)

  20. “…we absorbed it and we are stronger.”–The Dolt in Chief

    Obambi is saying things that he doesn’t realize he’s saying.

    Who’s stronger?

    The people that were killed on 9/11?

    Their family members?

    Me?

    Nah.

    The only people that are stronger are the liberal Democrats, because they were able to use all this to regain control of the government, and all they care about is getting power for themselves.

    Dave Surls (9adbdf)

  21. Please stop the snarky references to O’Donnell and what certain conservatives may or may not do. The two situations are totally different in their world/national impact.

    You are comparing the concern of some about the untenable expansion of the importance and relevance of past utterances of a nominee to a minor elective office in a small state with unknown impact on the National level to the behind the scenes revelation of the perspective of a crypto-marxist, Islamic apologist narcissist who has NO clue of how to lead, govern or influence those that do. A perspective that turns out to be just as weak, anti-american and dangerous in thought as he has shown in deed since being elected.

    While O’Donnell is just a slap in the face to all who hold dear to the idea of pragmatic nominations in the interest of a narrow margin of control in the inner workings of the Congress (but which has led us to the point where conservatives don’t get the nominations and conservative principles are discarded in the interest of maintaining a nominal majority).

    jakee308 (e1996a)

  22. “President Obama urgently looked for a way out of the war in Afghanistan last year, repeatedly pressing his top military advisers for an exit plan that they never gave him, according to secret meeting notes and documents cited in a new book by journalist Bob Woodward.”

    Yeah, I think that’s probably true.

    I was saying for years before this halfwit was ever elected that he never had any intention of fighting terrorists and that everything that he and his pals were saying about going after Al Qaida was a big fat lie designed ONLY to get him into power…and a lot of other people were saying the same thing.

    Too bad not enough people listened.

    Dave Surls (9adbdf)

  23. One can’t be surprised in many speeches, notably that pledge to that Iowa peace group, in his books, in the words of his preacher, all these sentiments diminishing the importance of America’s loss on that day ring quite true, to what his actions would be today.

    And someone did warn you of these consequences, but it was more important to listen to the stentorian voices of ‘the Victorian Gents’ who
    had a certain tingle,

    ian cormac (6709ab)

  24. Ah, well, i laid out my objections here.

    http://allergic2bull.blogspot.com/2010/09/obamas-september-10th-mentality-on.html

    I acknowledged in the post, maybe there is context missing.

    But my objection isn’t so much to complacency, because I didn’t necessarily see that he would be cool with it. My objection was that he thought 9-11 was as bad as it gets.

    Now this is what the “spin” Patterico linked to says on that point:

    > Objectively, the president said, you would want to be able to stop every attack, but a president has to prioritize. So what does the president put at the top of the danger list? A nuclear weapon or a weapon of mass destruction. Why? Because—and here’s where the quote in question comes in—as bad as 9/11 was, the United States was not crippled. A nuclear attack or weapon of mass destruction, however, would be a “game changer,” to use a popular cliché.

    Which is well and good and kind of addresses my point, except for one thing. These are the words: “We can absorb a terrorist attack.”

    Not a “conventional weapons attack” or anything else to indicate he meant a non-WMD attack. No just a terrorist attack. And if AQ sets off a nuclear bomb in downtown NYC, that would be as much a “terrorist attack” as 9-11. So frankly the spin doesn’t quite fit the words.

    And let’s not forget the president is a lawyer. He knows, or should know, the value of precision.

    So I pretty skeptical of that explanation. But I do want to hear more.

    So I make the call to Bob Woodward. Reveal the whole passage. Don’t make us buy your book, just reveal it. you are rich enough already.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  25. It was callous. Can you imagine the response of a widow or child of a NY firefighter? Can you imagine Roosevelt saying we “absorbed” the attack on Pearl Harbor?

    I’m not outraged, I’m disgusted. It was not a Presidential statement. It’s as if he thinks he is speaking to college students in a survey course.

    Someone needs to tell him that he was elected President of the United States.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  26. “Well, of course the nation can absorb another terrorist attack. Just like we absorbed the Civil War, Pearl Harbor, and all the other stuff anyone can mention.”

    And like we absorb all the traffic fatalities we face. But our response to that is not like our response to terrorism.

    imdw (53b665)

  27. “The only people that are stronger are the liberal Democrats, because they were able to use all this to regain control of the government, and all they care about is getting power for themselves.”

    If you simply look at politics, shortly after 9/11 it was the GOP and dubya that looked stronger. But it appears that the president was referring to our nation.

    imdw (53b665)

  28. And let’s not forget the president is a lawyer. He knows, or should know, the value of precision.

    Jeez. He wasn’t speaking to a court of law, and he wasn’t speaking to a child.

    Nobody speaks with polished and precise remarks unless they have prepared polished and precise remarks.

    Kman (d25c82)

  29. “And like we absorb all the traffic fatalities we face.”

    imdw – ZOMG! Don’t more people die from cancer in the U.S. than terrorist attacks too? Why worry? The Democrat party line.

    daleyrocks (940075)

  30. “But it appears that the president was referring to our nation.”

    LOL.

    Our nation is stronger?

    Only the liberal Democrats are stronger.

    Dave Surls (9adbdf)

  31. “imdw – ZOMG! Don’t more people die from cancer in the U.S. than terrorist attacks too? Why worry? The Democrat party line.”

    Why worry is not really the response I would expect people to have.

    “Only the liberal Democrats are stronger.”

    It seems as if it will not be possible to disabuse you of this notion.

    imdw (043f60)

  32. It would also be good to remember that he is a long time associate of Bill Ayers, who thought little of the loss of 20 million Americans or so in the revolution to “make America right”.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  33. The first Muslim President means we deserve another terrorist attack.

    Arizona Bob (e8af2b)

  34. “It seems as if it will not be possible to disabuse you of this notion.”

    Yeah, I reckon you would have a pretty hard time arguing with me about it all right.

    Dave Surls (9adbdf)

  35. Obama seems to think 9/11 is the worst a terrorist attack could possibly be. He doesn’t take the threat seriously enough.

    zmdavid (bd4537)

  36. Terrorism and motor vehicle accidents are perfectly analogous.

    JD (a5fca8)

  37. JD

    i think oliver wendel holmes once encapsulated the difference pretty well.

    He said something to the effect of “even a dog knows the difference between being stumbled over and being kicked.”

    but i love the idea that we should respond to the issue of traffic fatalities like terrorism. okay, so are we supposed to bomb japan for making those allegedly faulty hybrids or something? are we supposed to destroy the drivers training camps? Or perhaps they would like to repeal the repeal of the 18th amendment (prohibition, so you don’t have to look it up)?

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  38. Saying we “absorbed” 9/11 sounds cold, regardless of the context.

    Of course anything that doesn’t bring down the government could be said to have been “absorbed”. We absorbed the civil war. Japan absorbed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Cold cold cold.

    MayBee (1127e0)

  39. Racist

    JD (a5fca8)

  40. In Obama’s America, just surviving is good enough. We, too, can become like one of those Baltic states where daily life goes on amid bomb craters and shell-pocked buildings. Yes, we can!

    Socratease (9f2763)

  41. Objectively, the president said, you would want to be able to stop every attack, but a president has to prioritize. So what does the president put at the top of the danger list? A nuclear weapon or a weapon of mass destruction. Why? Because—and here’s where the quote in question comes in—as bad as 9/11 was, the United States was not crippled. A nuclear attack or weapon of mass destruction, however, would be a “game changer,” to use a popular cliché.

    The President does have to prioritize, but how has he fared? And did his view – the “gamechanger” view- blind him to some threats?

    In Arkansas, two were shot- one killed- outside a military recruiting office by a man who had trained in Yemen. President Obama never mentioned this, and indeed the WH only made a statement to the local Arkansas press.
    At about the same time, Tiller was shot and killed. The President made a public comment condemning the killing.

    “We” absorbed both murders.

    Then the Fort Hood shooting happened, by a man who had been in contact with the same group in Yemen as the Arkansas shooter. After a shout-out, President Obama spoke solemnly about the shooting. We were urged not to jump to any conclusions.

    “We” absorbed the murders.

    On Christmas day, a man attempted to blow up a plane as it landed in Detroit. This man had also been in contact with people in Yemen. The President was seen to go golfing approximately 10 minutes after he was reportedly briefed about it.

    The system worked.

    Was the idea that these Yemen-related attacks were completely absorbable, therefore not worthy of attention- as the threat is building?

    Yes, I am grateful no atomic bomb has gone off in my city. But even then, it wouldn’t bring the government down. I suspect it would be absorbed.
    There would be talk about what a strong nation we are, and the people that survived would pull together behind the President.

    MayBee (1127e0)

  42. Does surviving a crime makes you stronger? Being a victim of a crime sort of makes you more suspicious of your fellow man and your circumstances, don’t it?

    pk (68ed4b)

  43. Racist.

    JD (a5fca8)

  44. What America will not survive is a second term of BHO and a Democratic Senate confirming liberals and socialists to the federal judiciary. I am not engaging in hyperbole. America is done if BHO wins and the Senate does not flip in 2012.

    Ed from SFV (44a863)

  45. Not a “conventional weapons attack” or anything else to indicate he meant a non-WMD attack. No just a terrorist attack. And if AQ sets off a nuclear bomb in downtown NYC, that would be as much a “terrorist attack” as 9-11. So frankly the spin doesn’t quite fit the words.

    If you parse it that way (and I think you are expecting too much precision in what was, after all, a conversation with a journalist, not a formal speech or statement)–if the jihadis do manage a WMD attack, successful or not, then they will probably be able to do so with help from the Iranian or Pakistani governments, or at least individuals therein (in the latter case especially). So our response would be aimed at Iran or Pakistan at least as much as the actual terrorists.

    But you are correct: without the full text, discussion can’t be very worthwhile.

    BTW, anyone know if Woodard was connected to Journolist?

    kishnevi (2c3adb)

  46. Yeah, we can “absorb” a terrorist attack. That doesn’t mean it’s Plan A, however.

    mojo (8096f2)

  47. i am not as critical about the absorb language as alot of you.

    But i absolutely believe if obama said anything like this during a debate, in 2008, he would not be president today. it would be a dukakis moment.

    kish

    i would be very surprised if woodward was a member of journolist.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  48. ah, they just gave more context, here:

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/09/full_context_of_obamas_absorb.html

    will analyze soon. god bless google.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  49. Thanks Aaron.

    . And so right away, coming in, we said, how are we going to start ramping up and putting that at the center of a lot of our national security discussion? Making sure that that occurence, even if remote, never happens.”

    That hasn’t been the center of his public national security discussion.
    Most of his public discussion has been to dissuade Americans from “jumping to conclusions” about perpetrators.

    I don’t think it makes the “we absorbed 9/11″ language better. Obviously, a government has to prioritize. But that was the worst attack we had experienced. If we absorbed that, why would we assume we can’t absorb anything? Again, as long as the government stands (and they have the little tunnels to hide in while the rest of us absorb the brunt of any attack)

    MayBee (1127e0)

  50. I don’t really understand the problem. If Obama had said we, as a nation, couldn’t absorb another terrorist attack, then I think you’ve got a legitimate criticism. But he didn’t say that — he said the opposite.

    Being able to absorb a blow isn’t a bad thing; in fact, just the opposite. Nor does Obama’s statement mean that we’re not going to strike back in the future. Muhammad Ali (another Muslin) was able to absorb blows AND deal a few out. Problem?

    Kman (d25c82)

  51. Sorry, I’m very ranty.

    I know governments (and companies) have to cruelly calculate estimates for the number of people who would die under different scenarios — a kind of cost/benefit analysis. It’s always awful to hear that X infants will have a deadly allergic reaction to a vaccine, but having a vaccination program will save millions of lives. Or that Y people will die while evacuating for a hurricane, but it may be worth ordering anyway.

    But saying we absorbed 9/11 is just awful, especially when he’s talking about his future priorities. Did we absorb it, or did we fight to deal with the pain from it? Would we feel relief if there were another, identical attack, because it’s not a dirty bomb? Would he?

    MayBee (1127e0)

  52. Comment by Kman — 9/23/2010 @ 6:20 am
    Jeez. He wasn’t speaking to a court of law, and he wasn’t speaking to a child.
    — Right. He was just chewing the fat with the reporter that broke the Watergate story, totally unaware that anything he said might appear as a quote in a book.

    Nobody speaks with polished and precise remarks unless they have prepared polished and precise remarks.
    — What, no TOTUS in the room?

    Icy Texan (a8053b)

  53. FYI:

    “Over the past seven years, this system has absorbed shocks — recession, corporate scandals, terrorist attacks, global war. Yet the genius of our system is that it can absorb such shocks and emerge even stronger.”

    – President George Bush, February 13, 2008, in prepared remarks [Source] (Emphasis mine)

    The context was the signing of the Economic Stimulus Act, and the system he was referring to was the economic one.

    Kman (d25c82)

  54. I don’t really understand the problem. If Obama had said we, as a nation, couldn’t absorb another terrorist attack, then I think you’ve got a legitimate criticism.

    He didn’t have to say either thing. Our nation continued after 9/11, just as it continued after the civil war, the first world war, the influenza pandemic, the dust bowl, the great depression, world war II, OKC bombing, 9/11, Katrina, the BP oil spill. We are a great nation and we learn to deal with our losses.
    But we didn’t absorb them. As if they didn’t happen. We persevered.

    MayBee (1127e0)

  55. Kman- he was specifically speaking of the economic system. The economic system had, in fact, absorbed economic shocks.

    But yes, thanks for pointing to George W Bush, known wordsmith.

    MayBee (1127e0)

  56. Maybee:

    But we didn’t absorb them. As if they didn’t happen.

    I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

    Kman (d25c82)

  57. I don’t think that word means what you think it means.

    No, you’re right. The concept is too complex for me.
    Me no unnerstand.

    MayBee (1127e0)

  58. Maybee:

    Kman- he was specifically speaking of the economic system. The economic system had, in fact, absorbed economic shocks.

    Yes — and one of those economic shocks came as the result of a terrorist attack. And Bush’s point is that we persevered in spite of it. Which is the same as your point, which is the same as Obama’s point.

    Kman (d25c82)

  59. Nor does Obama’s statement mean that we’re not going to strike back in the future.

    — The problem with that, Kman, is that he didn’t say it; you said it for him.

    Obama is like a poor defensive line coach in football: one that says “hold the line” and “don’t let them get a first down”, but never encourages his guys to push the other team back or (God forbid!) sack the quarterback.

    Icy Texan (a8053b)

  60. Maybee:

    The concept is too complex for me.
    Me no unnerstand.

    No, I think you DO understand. But you’re willing to play a little dim simply because it allows you take (yet another) potshot at Obama.

    I have no problem with you taking shots at Obama (I’ll join you depending on what it is), but do you have to disgrace yourself to do it?

    Kman (d25c82)

  61. Yes — and one of those economic shocks came as the result of a terrorist attack. And Bush’s point is that we persevered in spite of it. Which is the same as your point, which is the same as Obama’s point.

    Bush’s point is that the economic system recovered from it. Absorbed it.
    Obama’s point is that the nation absorbed it. And we could absorb another, but a nuke would be a potential game changer. Although I’m willing to bet our economic system could absorb a dirty bomb in say, Miami. Does that mean we could?

    Sorry, Kman, he’s a cold fish.

    MayBee (1127e0)

  62. Okay so I read through the larger quote and analyzed it and frankly I am relieved. I even wrote a post on it, here:

    http://allergic2bull.blogspot.com/2010/09/fuller-context-of-absorb-comment.html

    I say toward the end. “Anyway, as for my commentary yesterday, I happily take it back. Really, seriously it is a major f–king relief to say he is not that clueless on national security.”

    (censorship of naughty words added)

    If you found his comment about absorbing “cold” the first time, the larger context won’t help him. Myself I think there is a time to be cold and realistic. But you can disagree.

    I find it disturbing however he thinks that somehow we can fight WMD stuff harder than the regular stuff. First, I am not sure you can segregate your terror investigation that way. if the bad guys are planning NYC, are you not going to care unless you know for sure they have a WMD? And I believe we are capable of stopping both. We can walk and chew gum at the same time, as the cliché goes. But that isn’t half as clueless as what I thought he said.

    Plus, if you are going to have that as a policy, it is absolutely idiotic to tell that to a reporter. That should be a national secret. Why alert our enemies on how to avoid greater scrutiny?

    That being said, the president’s larger comments are also a mess. It isn’t hard to speak precisely and lawyer know how to do it. I wouldn’t make that mistake, and while us yalies joke about being much better than Harvard boys, we aren’t. (indeed, we are not really that much better than those who went to a much lower “ranked” school like SMU. The differences between law schools is a game of inches rather than miles.) so I expect more of Barrack but in context it is plain he was misspeaking and in the broader context his actual meaning becomes clear and, it matches the spin Patterico linked to before in substance.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  63. Disgrace myself?

    I admitted I am ranty about this. I am far from disgracing myself. What an odd charge.

    MayBee (1127e0)

  64. Obama is like a poor defensive line coach in football: one that says “hold the line” and “don’t let them get a first down”, but never encourages his guys to push the other team back or (God forbid!) sack the quarterback.

    You don’t think that sacking the quarterback, if possible, is inferred when a defense coach urges his time to “hold the line”? I mean, you think the team is going to refrain from sacking the quarterback in that circumstance?

    Or aren’t some things a “given”?

    I get your point though — you want Obama to engage in more offensive rhetoric and here’s one time when he didn’t. It just seems that your point is awfully nitpicky.

    Kman (d25c82)

  65. If you found his comment about absorbing “cold” the first time, the larger context won’t help him. Myself I think there is a time to be cold and realistic. But you can disagree.

    I find it disturbing however he thinks that somehow we can fight WMD stuff harder than the regular stuff. First, I am not sure you can segregate your terror investigation that way.

    Thank you, Aaron.
    In my rants, this is very much what I was trying to say.
    Yes, sometimes the government has to be very cold and realistic, and threat assessment is one of those areas. Talking to a book author about it is not one of those times (thus, the cold fish comment).

    And the second paragraph is what I was trying to say with my long, disjointed commentary about the attackers with Yemen ties. Brennan said publicly that Yemen took them by surprise because they hadn’t put the pieces together, even though we’d had several small attacks all pointing that way. They were looking for the forest, forgetting that trees can be an indicator that you’re getting close.

    MayBee (1127e0)

  66. maybee

    ignore Kman. he is a deeply dishonest man.

    and he is apparently my stalker, too (seriously, he has followed me onto four different sites). i have him on permanent ignore.

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  67. “Does surviving a crime makes you stronger?”

    Maybe now wingers will call obama a Nietzscheite as well as an Alinskyite.

    imdw (14df54)

  68. I get your point though — you want Obama to engage in more offensive rhetoric and here’s one time when he didn’t. It just seems that your point is awfully nitpicky.

    — Bush41 kept the other team out of the end zone; Bush43 knocked the quarterback out of the game. Perceptions of weakness embolden our enemies. Sending the message that we can take whatever they dish out does little to discourage them from trying to hurt us.

    Icy Texan (a8053b)

  69. Immediately afterward, President Obama met with Democratic party leaders: “Look, I know you want to win elections, but you have to take into account that by suffering huge losses at the polls the party will be stronger for the suffering.”

    The Obama presidency: Intentionally making America economically “stronger”

    Californio (2a345b)

  70. Cali

    Ha! i like it. “we can absorb an electoral clusterf–k.”

    Aaron Worthing (e7d72e)

  71. “The context was the signing of the Economic Stimulus Act…”

    No, actually the context is that George Bush went after two state sponsors of terrorism, and destroyed one state sponsor of terrorism and pushed the other up into the mountains of Afghanistan while killing thousands of terrorists, Baathists and Talibaners, in spite of the constant attempts of people like Barack Obama to undercut the war efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan for purely partisan reasons.

    Now that the fools in America have elected this scurvy dog, Obambi, POTUS, it becomes more and more obvious that he never had any intention of going after Al Qaida terrorists, and that all he wants to do is pull out of Afghanistan without being made to look bad in the process.

    Obambi will stay on in Afghanistan ONLY if he thinks it will cost him the presidency, and he’ll pull out if he thinks he can get away with it.

    Americans getting killed by terrorists isn’t an issue, going after Al Qaida isn’t an issue. The only issue is Barack Obama (and people like him) getting power…and then keeping power.

    That’s what the context is.

    Dave Surls (b8f912)

  72. I am heartened by Obama’s cold-blooded statement of the obvious that America can absorb a terrorist attack but that he views a WMD attack as a game changer. Perhaps that is why he has had so much success in halting Iran’s nuclear weapons program by sitting down with Imadamnutjob as he promised during the election campaign and avoiding meddling in Iran’s internal affairs, all while he acts to reverse a lawful change in government in a peaceful Central American nation sympathetic to the U.S.

    Curious foreign policy, no?

    daleyrocks (940075)

  73. Show some respect, daley – the man won the Nobel Peace Prize, for goodness sakes. And we all know that past Nobel Peace Prize winners have done awesomely wonderful things in the name of keeping the world safer because of their Herculean and selfless efforts.

    (crickets chirping)

    Dmac (d61c0d)

  74. You all are racists.
    You just hating on Obama cos his black…
    Racists!!

    Anti-Racist (6e616b)

  75. INTENTIONALISM PEOPLE!!!!!

    Seriously though, this is a good example of the truth that if you already hate someone then you will see something hateful in anything they do or say. The sad fact is that, for most people, if the person they hated ran into a burning building to save orphans, they would just say he did it to disrespect firemen.

    I remember when conservatives thought that letting the terrorists know that all they can do is kill innocent people but they can never destroy us, was an expression of strength. Of course, that was when the CIC was someone they have already decided was strong. When they have a CIC whom they already see a weak they see the same sentiments as an expression of …. weakness. Surprise, surprise.

    libarbarian (90bd00)

  76. ” “we can absorb an electoral clusterf–k.””

    Well, the part I don’t like is the “we” part. He (and this is true of most , ok – ALL of the political class) means YOU – i.e. NOT HIM and his family and friends. YOU will bear any burden, PAY any price, so HE can claim to defend freedom, serve the poor, make faux sacrifices because he is just so darn saintly about “public service”. And yes – this covers Republicans too. So try try try to not immediately respond to an Obama criticism with “Yeah, but…..[insert Bush retort here..].”

    Remember that fundamental point (the difference between you and THEM) when they blather about who is paying their “fair share” – what they mean is YOU should be compelled to support THEIR favorite charity, er I mean “Program to help… the poor, the underclass, etc etc.” Remember, it is for the children, you greedy bastards! Er, I mean fellow citizens.

    Californio (2a345b)

  77. Remember that fundamental point (the difference between you and THEM) when they blather about who is paying their “fair share” – what they mean is YOU should be compelled to support THEIR favorite charity, er I mean “Program to help… the poor, the underclass, etc etc.”

    Ok. But, frankly, the same can be made about a whole lot of the people who talk about “fiscal responsibility” and getting rid of “entitlements” and government “handouts”. What THEY mean is that they want OTHER PEOPLE to be fiscally responsible and want to stop handouts to OTHER PEOPLE. They damn well intend to continue their own debt fueled lifestyle and to defend every $ of gov’t spending that goes to help them and their kind. Of course, they think they deserve this money and therefore do not consider any of it a “handout” – which is a label only given to money given to other, undeserving, people.

    libarbarian (90bd00)

  78. The real problem is the disproportionality of it all.

    Woodward writes a book and the quotes are out of context.

    Why the hell can’t Conservative media stop running interference for Obama? Let him answer some questions about it.

    Instead there seems to be a rush to be fair.

    I get that, but we have two wars going on and would you even know that if you were simply watching campaign commercials-or reading Conservative media? On that front they are unusually quite-how about just maintaining that radio silence? Instead we have both The Weekly Standard and NRO helping Obama by playing defense for him against Woodward.

    Seems to me both parties want it off the table. Now why is that?

    Add to-Woodward’s book-the actions of Stan McChrystal and today the rumor that Jones wants the hell out-and I wish we could have Obama face as tough a line of questions about just what in the hell is going on as Bush did.

    But, nope! for some curious reason “Conservative Media” seems all to ready to help him sweep it under the rug.

    I suspect one side wants the issue to fade because the Tea Party is really groups from the past that have always plagued the Republican Party-reorganized. Isolationism dove tails pretty well with-“no more taxes!” particularly when not too many are represented in the volunteer military these days.

    Add to that the BRAC and there aren’t too many politicians representing the military.

    If I read Obama correctly looks like he is trivializing what might be the worse case scenario of his pulling out the troops by 2011 or earlier.

    2011. Anyone else getting the significance of that date? It’s based on the Obama Campaign Calender not anything else like the future conditions on the ground or the professional opinion of generals with more military experience…

    I think America deserves some answers evenif most of the media is bored covering ‘the wars”.

    btw-Woodward did somethiing kind of brilliant with just two”s”s and an apostrophe.

    Obama‘s Wars

    madawskan (565543)

  79. This is where the problem is:

    The president is quoted as telling Mullen, Petraeus and Gates: “In 2010, we will not be having a conversation about how to do more. I will not want to hear, ‘We’re doing fine, Mr. President, but we’d be better if we just do more.’ We’re not going to be having a conversation about how to change [the mission] . . . unless we’re talking about how to draw down faster than anticipated in 2011.”

    What’s the context for that?

    madawskan (565543)

  80. Shorter librarian – greedy actual taxpayers. Ungrateful wenches.

    JD (f83e4c)

  81. Xenophobic Racists

    daleyrocks (940075)

  82. The question is not whether or not we can absorb another attack. We obviously can. It is rather can the Islamists absorb what we will do in response.

    I seem to remember 2 Islamist supporting governments that no longer exist due to our post 9-11 response. I figure there are at least 5 more that will be removed and replaced next time around – starting with Saudi Arabia (Wahabbis), Iran and Syria, extending to Pakistan and Yemen shortly thereafter.

    They want to play? OK. We can play. But you won’t like it when we go full Roman on them. Ask the next Carthage resident you come across what that means – oh yeah, there aren’t any of those guys left ….

    agimarc (324b03)

  83. Of course the United States can absorb a terrorist attack. For that matter, it can absorb thousands. We might be out of infrastructure if they did. We might be out of infrastructure with all our neglect of its upkeep anyhow.

    But at our rate of reproduction, I can’t see how terrorists can bring down the whole nation just by bombing us once in a while and shouting, “Allahu akhbar,” to a God who is supposed to be “compassionate.”

    It should stand as an exercise in futility for any terrorist group, just like our wars have been an exercise in futility for those who joined up for the purpose of bringing down Islam (and let’s not pretend that there aren’t nut cakes like that in our blessed military). We were supposed to go in for different reasons than this, weren’t we?

    So make love. Raise kids. Plant fruit trees and grain. Garden clandestinely if local governments want to deny you the right. Save the world. Sooner or later we can say, “Nyah-nya-nya-nya-nyah!” to the religio-political nutbrains who want to hold the planet hostage at the point of a sword.

    Lynnea Urania Stuart (72e337)


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