President Dude has been working hard to take the terrorists’ war against us off the national political radar. But as much as he doesn’t want to talk about it to anyone other than Bob Woodward, war poses an inconvenient truth and pops up at inconvenient times. The truth is that it ain’t over until one side wins and the other loses.
Unfortunately for Mr. Dude, neither the terrorists nor the usually-compliant media are cooperating with him on the eve of tomorrow’s election. Their disputatious acts come in the form of bombs mailed to U.S. targets from al-Qaeda’s franchise operation in Yemen and a column by the Washington Post’s David Broder.
In the latest episode of “The Real Housewives of Sanaa,” the Yemeni government has arrested a woman suspected in mailing explosive devices to American targets. The intelligence leading to the discovery of the bombs came from GCHQ, the British signals intelligence agency which closely resembles our NSA. The lady’s bombs were rigged in either or both of two ways. With timers to explode on the aircraft carrying them to the United States or with the now-common cell phone triggers to explode on command if there’s a suicidal jihadist aboard.
The arrested lady wasn’t the bomb maker, according to Obama’s anti-terror czar, John Brennan. And the bomb maker certainly wasn’t part of the al-Qaeda varsity. Once the Brit intel guys got the tip, the packages were discovered with relative ease because they were made from photocopier toner cartridges filled with PETN (the same powerful explosive stuffed in Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s Fruit of the Looms when Umar — also not one of the terrorists’ first team — tried to blow up a Northwest flight last Christmas Day) and wired to the external detonators.
There are several lessons for us in this incident, as well as some for al-Qaeda. One lesson is that over nine years, we have degraded al-Qaeda’s capabilities by capturing or killing many of their leaders and operators. But there is no reason for complacence: al-Qaeda will do its best to outpace our intelligence gathering and try to recruit and train jihadis with higher IQs.
The principle lesson is that we cannot allow Yemen to continue its harboring of al-Qaeda cells. For the record, the USS Cole was in Aden harbor when it was attacked in October 2000, killing 17 sailors and injuring 39. Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen and al-Qaeda imam involved in several terrorist attacks including the Fort Hood massacre, is based in Yemen. The only action Obama’s team has taken on Yemen is to list citizen Awlaki for capture or assassination, without due process or even a declaration from Keith Olbermann that Awlaki was the worst person in the world. (More on that another day.)
Bloodthirsty liberals such as David Broder have begun agitating for Barry to display his brilliance on the battlefield. Does that mean we attack Yemen? No, Broder wants Obama to wag the dog.
Worshipping at Obama’s altar yesterday, Broder wrote that Obama is “much smarter than his challengers in either party, better able to read the evidence and come to the right conclusions.” Broder’s right conclusion for Barry and our economy, requires reading a couple of times to believe your eyes.
Broder begins by weasel-wording his idea — “I am not suggesting, of course, that the president incite a war to get reelected.” And he continues to do just that.
Broder’s cure for our economic ills is based on the end of the Great Depression: “Look back at FDR and the Great Depression. What finally resolved that economic crisis? World War II.”
From that, Broder deduces, Obama could rally the nation around him because Iran “…is the greatest threat to the world in the young century.” Broder proposes that Obama use 2011 and 2012 to orchestrate a showdown with the Iranian regime. The showdown, he believes, would revive the arsenal of democracy and result in millions of Americans getting jobs to build the tools of war.
It takes a liberal’s cognitive dissonance, along with his characteristic ignorance of history and of the art of war, to come to that conclusion.
Mind you, it’s high time the Iranian kakistocracy was removed. It should be the price for making their country the global epicenter of Islamic terrorism. There is no prospect other than war for resolution of Iran’s nuclear ambitions and terror sponsorship. There’s no reason to concoct a crisis: the mullahs have been at war with us since the seizure of the Tehran embassy in 1979. The Iranians have been taking American lives in Iraq and Afghanistan — directly and indirectly — since at least 2005.
But in the amusing event Obama suddenly nominated Broder to replace retiring Defense Secretary Bob Gates, any war with Iran would have to be short and highly sanguinary to succeed. No one in their right mind — i.e., no one who isn’t a liberal — would go about removing the Iranian regime by mounting a massive years-long conventional war.
What is necessary is a two or three-week campaign against Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ military assets and the mullahs themselves using already-existing stealth weapons. The Air Force and Navy could do this with assets on hand.
But the fatal flaw in Broder’s idea obstructs its progress long before we reach the question of when and how to conduct such a war. It is in President Dude’s character.
Barack Obama’s performance as president has proved beyond reasonable doubt that he is not a leader, far less one who could unify the nation to support such a war. His brand of leadership is to announce grand plans and then leave it to Congress to come up with the way to translate them into concrete policies and plans. He creates legislative chaos — as we’ve seen from the stimulus bill to Obamacare to the conduct of the war — by remaining aloof from the process.
Obama exerts leadership by speechmaking, not debating. Or, as Bob Woodward’s book Obama’s Wars showed, by ignoring his military advisors and imposing a strategy that cannot possibly achieve his announced goal. He is the president of timetables and withdrawals. He is a president who disdains talk of victory, preferring to ignore the consequences of failure to achieving it.
And he has so divided the nation with his conduct of his office that unifying it on any terms is beyond his reach.
War with Iran? Taking out al-Qaeda’s safe havens in Yemen? Ending Pakistan’s comfortable relationship with the Taliban? No, not on Barry’s watch.
War isn’t a jobs program, Mr. Broder. War means killing. And war leadership requires character and skill that are beyond Obama’s supposed brilliance.