September 20, 2001; Leadership on display

September 20, 2001; Leadership on display


America was still in a state of shock
when President George W. Bush addressed our nation before a joint session of
Congress on the night of September 20, 2011.  As the President spoke I felt a
deep sense of pride in his leadership and for the first time since the terrorist
attack nine days earlier my faith in America was restored.  Looking back on that
evening and our President’s speech a number of powerful images stand out in my
President Bush began by addressing
the state of our union:
have seen it in the courage of passengers, who rushed terrorists to save others
on the ground–passengers like an exceptional man named Todd Beamer.  And would you please help me to welcome his wife,
Lisa Beamer, here tonight.  We have seen
the state of our Union in the endurance of rescuers, working past exhaustion.
We’ve seen the unfurling of flags, the
light of candles, the giving of blood, the saying of prayers–in English,
Hebrew, and Arabic.  We have seen the decency of a loving and giving people who
have made the grief of strangers their own.  My fellow citizens, for the last
nine days, the entire world has seen for itself the state of our Union–and it
is strong.
President gave voice to our need to understand why the terrorists attacked us
and in assessing the state of mind that drives our enemies he made statements
which have turned out to be prophetic in the light of more recent
Americans are asking, why do they
hate us?  They hate what they see right here in this chamber–a democratically
elected government.  Their leaders are self-appointed.  They hate our
freedoms–our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote
and assemble and disagree with each other.  They want to overthrow existing
governments in many Muslim countries, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan.
They want to drive Israel out of the Middle East.  They want to drive Christians
and Jews out of vast regions of Asia and Africa.  These terrorists kill not
merely to end lives, but to disrupt and end a way of life.  With every atrocity,
they hope that America grows fearful, retreating from the world and forsaking
our friends.  They stand against us, because we stand in their
President Bush neared the end of his speech he held up a police
And I
will carry this:  It is the police shield of a man named George Howard, who died
at the World Trade Center trying to save others.  It was given to me by his mom,
Arlene, as a proud memorial to her son.  This is my reminder of lives that
ended, and a task that does not end.  I will not forget this wound to our
country or those who inflicted it.  I will not yield; I will not rest; I will
not relent in waging this struggle for freedom and security for the American
people.  The course of this conflict is not known, yet its outcome is certain.
Freedom and fear, justice and cruelty, have always been at war, and we know that
God is not neutral between them.
September evening ten years ago our nation witnessed poised and considerate
leadership from our President in the face of incalculable tragedy.  Most of us
who watched President Bush’s thoughtful and moving speech will never forget the
strength of character and steady resolve which he gave to our beleaguered
September 20,

Golfing While the Constitution Burns

Golfing While the Constitution Burns

Ben Johnson, The White House Watch


When Barack Obama and John Boehner played golf this weekend, they played
on the same team
. How appropriate.

Barack Obama has violated the Constitution’s war-making power – reserved by
Article I, Section 8,
to Congress – from the moment he sent American troops into harm’s way without
Congressional approval. He has been violating the War Powers Resolution since at
least the 60th day of that campaign. And he has violated the most
liberal reading of that act – the one Boehner has adopted as his own – since
this weekend. Yet despite the letter
Boehner authored last week, which the media presented as an “ultimatum,”
Obama has neither obtained Congressional authorization nor removed our troops.
letter weakly supplicated
“I sincerely hope the Administration will
faithfully comply with the War Powers Resolution,” but at least it seemed to set
this weekend as a definitive cut-off point.

The “deadline” has come and gone, and Obama has not answered the most burning
questions of the mission’s legality to anyone’s satisfaction. Instead, the
president has thumbed his nose at Congress in general, Boehner in particular,
and the American people at large, and the Speaker-cum-caddy has made no
meaningful response whatsoever.

Obama insists the American role in Libya is too diminutive to constitute
“hostilities,” so his action is perfectly legal. White House spokesman Jay
Carney repeated
his boss’s party line at Monday’s press conference, stating, “the War Powers
Resolution does not need to be involved because the ‘hostilities’ clause of that
resolution is not met.” However, soldiers in Libya are receiving an additional
a month in “imminent danger pay.”
American drones still rain missiles down
upon military targets. NATO is alternately
Muammar Qaddafi’s home
and killing the innocent Libyan civilians they are
purportedly protecting. (We had to kill the civilians in order to save them?)
NATO admitted (at
) one of its bombs went off target on Sunday, killing
nine civilians in Tripoli
, while allied bombs allegedly killed
15 civilians in Sorman on Monday

Not to worry, though; Defense Secretary Robert Gates said over the weekend,
in a confidence-builder worthy of Churchill, “I think this is
going to end OK.”
Gates, who once
the Libyan adventure, has pulled
a 180
on the matter.

Even Obama’s short-term fellow Illinois Senator, Dick Durbin, agrees
Libya more than rises to the level of hostilities.

So, too, we have learned, do the best legal minds of Obama’s administration
(not a coveted nor much-contested title, I assure you). In overruling
his own lawyers, Obama rejected the
considered conclusions
of Jeh C. Johnson, the Pentagon’s general counsel,
and Caroline Krass, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal
Counsel (OLC). The New York Times reported
it is “extraordinarily rare” for any president to overrule the OLC. “Under
normal circumstances, the office’s interpretation of the law is legally binding
on the executive branch.”

But then, nothing in the Obama administration transpires under “normal

Two former OLC lawyers outlined precisely how unusual the dismissal was….


The Media Hype: Osama’s Death Means Obama’s Re-Election

The Media Hype: Osama’s Death Means Obama’s

May 2nd, 2011

Ben Johnson,

After the long-awaited death of Osama bin Laden, the media are finally
jubilant – that Barack Obama may get a second term after all.

Reuters led the way within hours of the announcement of the terror
mastermind’s death with a piece entitled, “Snap
Analysis: Bin Laden Death a Political Victory for Obama.”
(You must realize,
to the mainstream media, everything is a political victory for Obama.)
The piece hallucinated that this death would transform Candidate Obama 2.0 from
a fumbling Carteresque failure into an invincible warrior-king:

Republicans have a long-held reputation in U.S. politics for being stronger
than Democrats on national security issues. With this successful operation
taking place under his watch, Obama can grab that mantel from his opponents and
claim it for himself and his party – a potentially game-changing instrument in
his political toolbox.

Of course, bin Laden’s death would have been impossible without intelligence
gathered through policies Obama opposed, campaigned against, and still denounces
and apparently threatens to permanently end. Although having been president when
Osama bin Laden was killed, Americans cannot trust Obama to keep them safe from
Islamic terrorism – especially when nearly
a quarter of them believe he is a Muslim

Not to be outdone, Steve Kornacki at wrote….