Tuesday, June 17, 2008


There's a lot of howling and feces-throwing on the right in response to remarks Barack Obama made in an ABC interview. Some of the howling is coming from the McCain camp's own blog:

Barack Obama, Esquire: The 9/10 Candidate

In an interview with ABC's Jake Tapper yesterday, Barack Obama offered a glimpse into how he views the threat posed by radical Islamic extremism:

What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks -- for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated.

And the fact that the administration has not tried to do that has created a situation where not only have we never actually put many of these folks on trial, but we have destroyed our credibility when it comes to rule of law all around the world, and given a huge boost to terrorist recruitment in countries that say, "Look, this is how the United States treats Muslims."

It's hardly surprising that a lawyer would think that the war on terror would be fought more effectively by lawyers than by the United States Marine Corps. But in Obama's rush to praise the prosecution of the terrorists behind the first World Trade Center bombing, he seems to forget that those methods failed to prevent a second successful attack on September 11, 2001....

And on and on.

I'm actually delighted that these guys have blown the dust and cobwebs off that old chestnut, "September 10 mindset." And look who they've got criticizing Obama:

The campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday accused Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) of being "naive" and "representing the perfect manifestation of a Sept. 10 mindset" in his approach on how to treat suspected terrorists being held at Guantanamo Bay....

On a conference call with reporters, former CIA chief James Woolsey and others said Obama’s policy regarding the handling of terrorism suspects would create an opening for more attacks like those on Sept. 11, 2001....

James Woolsey? You mean the guy who praised the work of Laurie "Nutjob" Mylroie, who insisted throughout much of the 1990s and for some time after 9/11 that Iraq was behind both World Trade Center attacks? Woolsey, who called her work "brilliant and brave"? Any chance that this crowd might share some of the blame for the fact that we didn't deal adequately with al Qaeda?

Oh, and that McCain blog post quoted above cites Stephen Hayes -- a writer who peddled the Saddam = 9/11 line for years.

But all that aside, I love hearing Republicans talk about a "September 10 mindset." We watched them talk tough like this for years, and what did they do after much of America agreed that, yes, they were the macho men who would keep us safe? They let bin Laden get away. They let Afghanistan fester. They went after Saddam, found no WMDs, and killed 4,000+ Americans for nothing. And they have the gall to talk tough? They have the gall to point out (see the McCain blog post) that the prosecutions after the '93 WTC bombing didn't roll up 100% of the culprits? Hey, tough guys, where the hell's Osama?

I'm deeply amused that Republicans still think it's May 1, 2003 -- the Mission has been Accomplished, torture has happened at Bagram, Gitmo is in place, extraordinary renditions are under way, the WMDs are going to show up any second now, and when members of the GOP beat their chests we just automatically declare them Alpha Males. America knows it's not 5/1/03 anymore.


My favorite Obama line from the ABC interview (emphasis added):

[JAKE] TAPPER: Speaking of the Supreme Court, you applauded the decision that the Supreme Court made last week. The Bush administration says, no matter what people think about other programs, other policies they've initiated, there has not been a terrorist attack within the U.S. since 9/11. And they say the reason that is, is because of the domestic programs, many of which you opposed, the NSA surveillance program, Guantanamo Bay, and other programs. How do you know that they're wrong? It's not possible that they're right?

OBAMA: Well, keep in mind I haven't opposed, for example, the national security surveillance program, the NSA program. What I've said that we can do it within the constraints of our civil liberties and our Constitution.

TAPPER: They disagree, though.

OBAMA: Well, but the fact that they disagree does not mean that they're right on this.....

That's what I want to hear from a Democratic presidential candidate. In other words: "You think you can say 'The Republicans say so' and I'll just back down? You think I'm just supposed to acknowledge that they're right on foreign policy, because they're Republicans? After the last eight years? Are you nuts? Sorry, Jake -- it's a new day."

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