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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Obama’s September 10th Mentality on Display (updated)

From Bob Woodward’s new book on the subject, we have the President saying this:

"We can absorb a terrorist attack. We'll do everything we can to prevent it, but even a 9/11, even the biggest attack ever . . . we absorbed it and we are stronger."

Now an appropriate sense of caution should be applied here.  Maybe there is some missing context but...  seriously, what the fuck?

Mr. President, are you under the impression that 9-11 is as bad as it possibly could get?  I mean 9-11 itself wasn’t as bad as it could have been.  If flight 93 hadn’t crashed in Pennsylvania, if the Pentagon was hit in a different place, it could have been much worse.

And then what if our enemies get weapons of mass destruction.  What if Iran gets a nuke and gives it to their friends in Hamas to attack the U.S.?  What if it goes off in downtown D.C.?

If this quote is accurate and not out of context, I can only conclude that you, Mr. President, have no fucking idea what we are faced with.  I said a long time ago, that September 11 might prove a blessing in disguise.  Because as awful as it is, it could have been much, much worse.  But now we are awakened to the danger, I said, we can prevent what might have instead been a biochemical or nuclear slaughter that would have made 9-11 look like nothing.

But I might have been wrong.  It seems that we have a president who didn’t learn that lesson.

Imagine if Washington D.C. suddenly disappeared.  Our President, our Congress, our Supreme Court, all gone.  Our military command decapitated.  I know some might genuinely wonder if on balance that would be a bad thing, but it would be.  As badly as things are run now, having nothing, suddenly, would be worse.  I believe that this country could recover, but I would never be so flippant about that nightmare scenario.

Seriously, what the fuck, Mr. President?  What...  the…  fuck?!

Update: Via Patterico, we get this explanation, anonymously, from “an administration official familiar with the interview.”  This official is characterized as saying (this is not even quoting the actual official):

Objectively, the president said, you would want to be able to stop every attack, but a president has to prioritize. So what does the president put at the top of the danger list? A nuclear weapon or a weapon of mass destruction. Why? Because—and here's where the quote in question comes in—as bad as 9/11 was, the United States was not crippled. A nuclear attack or weapon of mass destruction, however, would be a "game changer," to use a popular cliché.

Well that does in a sense address my concern.  The problem is it doesn’t fit the president’s words very well.  I mean the president said we can absorb a terrorist attack.  That doesn’t, in ordinary parlance, exclude the use of nuclear weapons.

And it is fair to say I hold the president to a higher standard.  He is a lawyer.  He knows, or should know, how to be precise.  So I am more likely to take him as meaning what he said.  Still let me put myself into the category of waiting for context.  I believe at this point Woodward has a journalistic duty to provide enough context to explain the president’s remarks and either refute of verify the implication I drew from it—that the President didn’t know just how bad it could get.

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