Friday, January 23, 2009

President Obama Alights Upon The Landscape With A Forward Moving Direction

And so it begins...

Language and phraseology are now as important as ever, especially when it is meant to indicate a distinctive change in the war against terrorism. Obama's first order of business is to let us--and the world--know that there is no war.

Instead, in his news conference Obama talks about "prosecuting the ongoing struggle against violence and terrorism"--

it is not a war, it is a struggle;
it is not fought, it is prosecuted;
and if it is indeed against terrorism, it is no less against violence.

Obama also makes a point of emphasizing the 'values and ideals' of the US. That is also significant to the outlook that Obama is pursuing. War is a messy business where innocents get hurt and though there is an attempt to impose rules and guidelines, they do not always get followed because of the chaos of war. That is not so in a matter of law, where there is a stronger adherence to the rules. In a struggle between police and violent criminals it is unthinkable for the law to put innocents in harm's way. When the law encounters crime, it cannot countenance collateral damage.

To put it simply, we are back to the mindset that in encountering Al Qaeda and their like, the United States is dealing with criminals in a situation that can be addressed by the law. That is all well and good Mr. Obama, but just keep in mind that the law is not a tool that terrorists and their enablers fear--just witness the growing cottage industry of libel tourism.

Remember that this is also the mindset that made possible the bifurcation of information between the FBI and the CIA that prevented the access to information that may have prevented 9-11.

One practical implication of Obama's words is that fact that his first phone call was to Abbas, whose Al-Aksa brigade claimed they participated in fighting against Israel in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead.

Obama never acknowledged his error on withdrawing quickly from Iraq; nothing is going to make him waver from the direction he is headed in now--nothing short of a major incident...and even then.

Bottom line: Obama lost no time in giving us reason for concern.

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