Obama vows to bring “every element” of U.S. power against terrorists. Great.

Speaking in response to the recent terror attacks, the president said:

“We will not rest until we find all who were involved and hold them accountable.”

“We will continue to use every element of our national power to disrupt, to dismantle and defeat the violent extremists who threaten us, whether they are from Afghanistan or Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia, or anywhere where they are plotting attacks against the U.S. homeland,” Obama added.

This is no doubt meant to be encouraging to us, to assure us all that the “administration is doing enough to contain security threats.”  But let’s consider what this actually means in practice.

Most immediately, it means that Obama has ordered the airport security process to be reviewed.  If it’s found to be wanting, as I have a sneaking suspicion it will be, we’ll probably get to enjoy arriving at the airport three hours early instead of two.

More significant, we’re apparently going to “every element of our national power” to go after the terrorists who threaten us, regardless of where they may be.  It’s interesting that the president specifically named off four countries where we’re already involved even though most of our population is only aware of our presence in one of them (Nonetheless, our military is definitely doing stuff in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia). 

But the quote was open-ended: “or anywhere where they are plotting attacks against the U.S. homeland.”  So at the risk of this post getting way too long, I’ll end on three points:

  1. “homeland”?  Isn’t that a Bush word?  I thought it was Republicans who typically insisted on sounding like exceptionalists and nationalists all the time.  Oh wait.
  2. “anywhere”?  Is there somewhere (other than Iran) our government has plans to attack next?  Nigeria, where the bomber was from, seems unlikely.  But really, is there something you’re not telling us?
  3. every element”?  Have we lost all sense of proportion?  Yes, terrorism is completely wrong, grossly unfair to the civilians who suffer, and a thoroughly inappropriate type of political action.  It should be subject to strict justice for all that and duly punished.  But do the actions of a few individuals really require “every element of our national power” to be dealt with? 

    Is our government’s power that small or its lust for war that great?  For now, at least, I’ll still go with the latter.

Published in

Post a comment