Immediately after Cheney said, “As I’ve watched the events of the last few days it is clear once again that President Obama is trying to pretend we are not at war,” Politifact — the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact checkers at the St. Petersburg Times — looked through Obama’s speeches:
The fifth paragraph of his inaugural address: “Our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred.”
In a February 2009 CNN interview: “I think it is very important for us to recognize that we have a battle or a war against some terrorist organizations.”
In a March 2009 speech: He said that people might ask why the United States is at war and said, “Al-Qaida and its allies, the terrorists who planned and supported the 9/11 attacks, are in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that al-Qaida is actively planning attacks on the United States homeland from its safe haven in Pakistan.”
In his December 2009 speech at West Point on his decision to send more troops to Afghanistan: He repeatedly called it a war and said, “I make this decision because I am convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is the epicenter of violent extremism practiced by al-Qaida.”
In his speech accepting the Nobel Peace Prize: He said that “we are at war” and noted that “the world rallied around America after the 9/11 attacks, and continues to support our efforts in Afghanistan, because of the horror of those senseless attacks and the recognized principle of self-defense.”
So nearly a week after Cheney’s rant was declared an out-and-out lie, Charles Krauthammer carried it forward and wondered what absolutely no reasonable person in the world was wondering:
This is the same president who, after the Ford Hood shooting, warned us “against jumping to conclusions” — code for daring to associate Nidal Hasan’s mass murder with his Islamist ideology. Yet, with Abdulmutallab, Obama jumped immediately to the conclusion, against all existing evidence, that the bomber acted alone.
More jarring still were Obama’s references to the terrorist as a “suspect” who “allegedly tried to ignite an explosive device.” You can hear the echo of FDR: “Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — Japanese naval and air force suspects allegedly bombed Pearl Harbor.”
Yes, apparently to Charles Krauthammer, some douchebag trying to light his crotch on fire is analogous to a massive coordinated attack from a foreign army. These guys are worked up that Obama changed “Global War on Terror” into “War on al Qaeda” and other focused wars; they interpret that change as meaning he doesn’t believe there’s a war on terror. It’s silly and it’s disingenuous. And if it’s not those two things, then it’s just flat-out stupid. Refining and focusing a strategy (which includes sending a massive influx of military troops to Afghanistan) doesn’t at all mean that strategy has been abandoned. Quite the opposite, in fact.
Two can play at this game, though. Let’s get back to Krauthammer’s analogy, shall we. Imagine if FDR had said this instead:
“Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan. Now watch this drive.”
No problem there, right? Nothing wrong with being flip about foreign policy. Nothing wrong with ignoring terrorism until it happens.
From “death panels” to “Obama doesn’t believe we’re at war,” these attacks would be laughable if there weren’t a huge chunk of the populace eating them up. Of course, the fact that people eat them up (not surprising, considering there’s nothing people in this country don’t eat — except vegetables) doesn’t make them fair, doesn’t make them news, and doesn’t make them fact. These attacks are dangerous, and at this point, printing the insane rantings of Dick Cheney and the facebook posts of Sarah Palin makes little sense in the reality-based world.