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On terrorism, Barack Obama is no George W. Bush

Ruth Marcus scores me, John Bolton, and other conservatives who criticized President Obama's declaration to Bob Woodward that "we can absorb another terrorist attack." She writes, "Put the same words in George W. Bush's mouth -- that the country absorbed [the shock of 9/11] and was stronger -- and these same folks would be cheering him on."

There is a big difference here. No one could argue that George W. Bush failed to do everything possible to prevent another terrorist attack -- indeed, he came under criticism for doing too much and "compromising our values" in the process (criticism with which I strongly disagree). President Obama scaled back those efforts, taking on added risk of a terrorist attack in order to restore what he believes was lost by the Bush administration’s efforts. He took the CIA out of the interrogation business and eliminated a program that was responsible for dismantling terrorist cells that were planning follow-on attacks. His replacement, the so-called High-Value Interrogation Group (HIG) has been a joke. The Post noted earlier this year that there have been "no reports of high-value detentions" since Obama took office. Obama is killing, rather than capturing, terrorists -- but dead terrorists can’t tell you their plans for new attacks. And when a terrorist such as the Christmas Day bomber accidentally fell into U.S. hands, like manna from heaven, the Obama administration gave him a lawyer and told him he had the right to remain silent -- a right he promptly exercised. These decisions, and countless others, have put our country in greater danger of another attack.

Marcus and other Obama defenders want to have it both ways -- they want to praise Obama's actions in scaling back these counterterrorism efforts but don't want to admit they have resulted in added risk. You know who disagrees? Barack Obama. As I pointed out in my post (and which Marcus conveniently ignores) Obama himself admitted when he want to CIA headquarters in April 2009 that he was forcing the agency to protect us with one hand tied behind its back. He told the audience "that’s okay." That is an incredibly candid, and stunningly complacent, admission on the president's part. So when Obama says "we can absorb another terrorist attack" after taking actions that put us at greater risk of such an attack, he's going to come in for criticism.

By Marc Thiessen  | September 23, 2010; 8:40 AM ET
Categories:  Thiessen  | Tags:  Marc Thiessen  
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I feel like President Obama could follow every policy that President Bush put in place and Mr. Theissen would still find fault and claim we are all at risk.

That's what makes comments like Mr. Theissen's so empty to me.

Posted by: mustangs79 | September 23, 2010 10:05 AM | Report abuse

He's not Bush, thank God. If the price of defending us against another attack is willfully discarding the constitutional protections of the citizens of the United States and our longstanding commitment to human rights, we are no longer worth defending. I know the unreasoning, blind xenophobic fear of the modern conservative movement leads people to trumpet safety at any cost, but that is not how an adult lives their life.

Posted by: brendaarchimboldi | September 23, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

And Thank God President Obama is no "Fearmonger" Bush.

Posted by: jaltman1 | September 23, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

And Thank God President Obama is no "Fearmonger" Bush.

Posted by: jaltman1 | September 23, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Obama lovers will still have a thrill running up their legs regardless of what this idiot does to endanger USA's security. 2012 cannot come soon enough. Just keep you eye on Hilary and see what see does next year.

Posted by: rustynailx | September 23, 2010 10:40 AM | Report abuse

Right, we've been "absorbing" these deliberate agroterror attacks on our food supply since 2006 quite well....
Multiple lawsuits, people getting sick, some dying. Oh, now there's larvae in baby formula. What's next for us to "absorb"??

Posted by: maggieschai | September 23, 2010 10:59 AM | Report abuse

If he were another George Bush by now he would have invaded a country with no terrorists to fight terror. All I can say is thank the good Lord we have better leadership and more effective leadership.

Posted by: withersb | September 23, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Barack Obama is basking in the results achieved by George Bush.

Bush left the Islamo-psychos a tattered ruin after they had grown and prospered under eight years of Clinton do-nothingness.

Right now, the mad mullahs are re-organizing and planning their counter attacks. If Obama is lucky, he will be out of office before they can go on the offensive again.

Then he will not have to deal with it.

It will probably be another Republican that takes the hit.

Posted by: battleground51 | September 23, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

well i said to miss marcus, what i found the most objectionable is the apparently belief that 9-11 is the worst it could get.

but the quote is obviously not 100% in context. there are ellipses, and it just seems short for an obama statement.

i will repeat as i did in marcus's thread the call for woodward to give us a much more extensive quote so we can see it in fullest context.

But right now it comes off like he has no idea that our enemies want to do things like shoot off wmds in our cities.

Posted by: awalker1972 | September 23, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Barack Hussein Obama is doing more damage to America than Osama bin Laden in his wildest dreams.

Maybe that's why there has been no more terrorist attacks.

It's not necessary with B.O. at the helm.

Posted by: battleground51 | September 23, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

Thank God. That's why I voted for Barack Obama!

Posted by: rebeccajm | September 23, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Who was president on September 11th? So we didn't have another terrorist attack like September 11th - thank goodness. Perhaps there will be one in the future and it will Pres. Obama's fault – what nonsense. If you can’t argue facts let’s gaze into our crystal ball and say "be afraid be really afraid" of what – who knows but something might happen.

So Pres. Obama follows American jurisprudence by allowing people to have lawyers - the horror!

I can’t believe anyone would write such nonsense. I know this is a partisan opinion but...

Posted by: rlj1 | September 23, 2010 2:10 PM | Report abuse

obama promised to END the WARS!

let's talk about that LIE!

Posted by: simonsays1 | September 23, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

THANKFULLY, Obama isn't like Bush or we'd have another 3,000 dead Americans in NY and DC and two skyscrapers flatten and the Pentagon in flames.
Thank the lord Jebus we don't have George W. Bush as president anymore. Amen

Posted by: B-rod | September 23, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

"No one could argue that George W. Bush failed to do everything possible to prevent another terrorist attack -- indeed, he came under criticism for doing too much and "compromising our values" in the process (criticism with which I strongly disagree)."

Permit me to disagree! By invading the wrong country, Bush & Co. allowed AlQaeeda to fester and the Taliban to return in force in Afghanistan. Further, he created 5 million refugees in Iraq, who will get revenge. The icing on the cake of course are the casualties we have had in Iraq, that were totally and absolutely unnecessary. As a matter of fact, it would have been more effective to have simply ignored the whole 9/11 incident than do what Bush & Co did.

The worse part is that we are now one of those 2-bit countries that supports torture! And the likes of Thiessen still supports this!

Posted by: AMviennaVA | September 24, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

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