In a recent comment George Will threw down the gauntlet to conservatives to explain how the White House hasn’t stolen their traditional claim championing a strong national defense. His challenge was no more stark than in rehashing the president’s line on counterterrorism.
Will wrote, “Osama bin Laden and many other “high-value targets” are dead, the drone war is being waged more vigorously than ever, and Guantanamo is still open, so Republicans can hardly say that Obama has implemented dramatic and dangerous discontinuities regarding counterterrorism.” This pronouncement comes on the heels of a Washington Post–ABC News poll that finds “the sharpest edges of President Obama’s counterterrorism policy, including the use of drone aircraft to kill suspected terrorists abroad and keeping open the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have broad public support….”
Will is right. If there is something wrong with what the White House is doing it ought to be explained to the American people.
There is something dead wrong with his counterterrorism strategy…and the Post poll inadvertently makes the point. “These findings come as no surprise. For well over a year now, there have been disturbing signs that the Administration’s counterterrorism seemed more structured to win popular support for his reelection bid than it did with defeating transnational terrorist groups aimed at attacking the United States. While the President’s policies might be intended to give a boost to his campaign for a second term, they are bound to make us less safe.”
What has sharply reduced the threat of global terrorism over the last decade were the counterterrorism strategies that were put in place before Obama came into office. (FYI, the number of successful attacks against the US has been dropping since long before Obama became president.) Article continued beneath chart.
From cutting and running in Iraq and Afghanistan to relying on drones as a substitute for counterinsurgency and counterterrorism strategy from continuing to both interrogation and detainment policies, Obama has been aggressively running away from a winning formula.
If we stay on Obama’s course global terrorism could come roaring back to bit us. Will asks the right questions—conservative leaders need to start delivering hard hitting answers.