January 4th, 2010
Victor Davis Hanson, National Review
Does Obama even know?
I don’t think anyone knows quite what this administration’s anti-terrorism policy is. Last August, Obama’s counterterrorism chief, John Brennan, lambasted the Bush administration, citing “the inflammatory rhetoric, hyperbole and intellectual narrowness that has often characterized the debate over the president’s national security policies” and criticizing the conduct of counterterrorism during the eight years following 9/11.
But more than one-third of all terrorist plots since 9/11 transpired in 2009 — despite loud chest-thumping about rejecting the idea of a war on terror, reaching out to the Muslim world, and apologizing for purported American sins. A non-impoverished Major Hasan or Mr. Mutallab (or Mr. Atta or KSM) does not fit with the notion that our enemies act out of poverty or oppression or want.
In fact, what we are witnessing is a strange mishmash. On the one hand, after repeatedly trashing the Bush protocols in 2007–08, Obama has quietly adopted most of them — keeping the Patriot Act, intercepts, wiretaps, renditions, the concept of tribunals, Predator attacks, forward offensive strategies in Afghanistan, and the Bush-Petraeus timetable in Iraq.