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Super-Absorbent

A lot of people are up in arms over President Obama's statement in Bob Woodward's latest book about how America could "absorb" another attack on the magnitude of 9/11. They're talking about it as a sign of weakness, of complacency, of how it denigrates the lives of Americans that would be lost in such an attack.

Quite frankly, I don't see the outrage. Perhaps because there are many ways to interpret Obama's statement, and the way I am inclined to take it isn't that offensive -- but accurate.

Let's look at 9/11. Yes, it was the defining atrocity of my adult life, and wreaked great changes in America. But we absorbed it. We survived it. We didn't let it destroy us, or even fundamentally change us.

On the other hand, the reaction it prompted... that wasn't so pleasant on the perpetrators. Al Qaeda ran and hid behind the Taliban in Afghanistan, and we took them both out. Then, we decided we didn't like the way Saddam Hussein was looking at us, so we took him out, too. Libya saw the way the wind was blowing, and gave up its WMD program without any direct bribes or threats. (There, the wonderful finesse of the US-UK relationship played out, where the Brits said to Libya "hey, you know those crazy Americans might go after you next. Why don't you let us broker a deal -- you give up your WMDs, and they won't blow you up?" Good old American muscle teamed up with the renowned British tact -- it don't get much better than that.)

So, who might not survive another 9/11? The perpetrators.

America is used to being the world's punching bag -- up to a point. We ignore the "death to America" and "Yankee go home" and the flag-burning and whatnot, because we believe that everyone -- even asshats -- have the right to express themselves. We'll even tolerate a certain level of actual violence, because we're largely more interested in being liked than being feared and kind of worried about being seen as a bully -- to the point where we let ourselves be bullied a little.

But we have our limits. And once those limits are passed, the gloves are off. Our new foreign policy instantly shifts to (pardon the language), "fuck with us, and we'll fuck you up and fuck you over."

Even more fun, those limits are extremely vague. They're not written down or codified into law anywhere.

When we cross that line, that's what the American people demand of their leaders. At that point, the leaders better realize that the crowd is heading in its own way, and they can either try to run ahead of the crowd or get run over.

George W. Bush ran ahead of the crowd. Jimmy Carter was run over.

Should we suffer another attack of the magnitude of 9/11, I am fully confident that we, as a nation, will absorb it. We will survive it. We're the "Weeble" nation.

What may not survive is the Obama administration. At that point, the American people will be looking for revenge/payback/justice/retribution/blood, and if Obama chooses to follow the Carter example, they just might not wait for the next elections.

Imagine this: there's another attack. Obama refuses to go after the attackers with the full force of the US military. Congress passes a resolution authorizing the attacks. Obama again refuses. They pass another resolution requiring the attack. Obama refuses again, citing his Constitutional role as commander-in-chief to determine the actions of the military. Wham -- instant Constitutional crisis, and even a possible impeachment.

Yeah, a little far-fetched. But I think it's possible.

I have tremendous faith in our nation. I know, in my heart, that we can "absorb" another 9/11, and another, and another, should it happen.

But I hope like hell we won't.

And I shudder at what will happen to those who cause it, and those who choose to cross us at what they see as a moment of weakness.


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Comments (21)

You may be inclined to cut ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

You may be inclined to cut Barry some slack, but few of the rest of us are.

The point is that yes, we can "absorb" another attack. Yes another 9/11 would kill fewer than 0.001% of the population so technically we can "absorb" that loss.

The issue is the detachedness with which Barry makes that claim. He shows once more that he doesn't care about people. People are an abstraction to him. We aren't real. We are just numbers and statistics. Barry doesn't grasp the concept that there are 300,000,000 people who have lives and families and aspirations just like he does. He doesn't get it that people exist beyond his own experience. He doesn't care that when America "absorbs" a loss it is the rest of us who do that absorbing.

The uproar is over his cold calculating statement that implies that it really isn't worth it to prevent another 9/11. It clarifies for the nation that he sees us as canon fodder.

Lenin once infamously said that he was willing to lose 10% of the population of the Soviet Union on the way to restructuring that society. I think obama feels the same way about us. He certainly has the same goals as Lenin (restructuring society into a state controlled and dominated society) and he certainly has the same disregard or the lives of others.

"And I shudder at what will... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

"And I shudder at what will happen to those who cause it, and those who choose to cross us at what they see as a moment of weakness."

Well, the Obama administration did give us a hint at how tough they are when they took on the insurgents in Arizona.

Our response to attacks is ... (Below threshold)
Joe Miller:

Our response to attacks is what worries me. We crack down on airline travel after an attack using airplanes. If the next attack is a major bridge or series of bridges, we will crack down on travel by road. I see ways to bring our country to a standstill. Hope I'm wrong.

Your 'imagine this' is pret... (Below threshold)
Andrew X:

Your 'imagine this' is pretty much just coffehouse theorizing, but let me play along in that spirit.

If the people were out for blood, and if the Congress were right along with them, one would assume the military would be so as well, just as much if not more so. And if the so-called Commander-in-Chief refused to act in such a case... well, what if the military just did so anyway, daring him to either put up and shut up, or to publicly acknowledge to the world that he has no control over his own military? Then, if he acts to fire or prosecute them... what then?

As I say, just coffee talk, I cannot (and choose not to) fathom that it could ever be real, but it would make for interesting times, that's for damn sure.

(And such scenarios swirling around might force the President to act even if every fiber of his being is screaming not to. The balance always asserts itself in the end, one way or another.)

Andrew X, you have no milit... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

Andrew X, you have no military experience to draw upon, do you?

"But we have our limits.... (Below threshold)
Roy:

"But we have our limits. And once those limits are passed, the gloves are off."

Funny thing is that most Americans implicitly know those limits and the line drawn in the sand. Some (the asshats) don't get it and never will, and while the rest can't write down hard and fast "rules" for them, we all know them.

"Imagine this"1) ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

"Imagine this"

1) Congress would never pass any resolution 'requiring' the President to do anything. First because resolutions don't require and second because any action the Congress took would stop short of forcing obama's hand for the simple fact that Congress is full of cowards.

2) The military would never act without direction from the Commander in Chief. Period. End of discussion. No matter what aspersions people may cast upon our military, the people who run and staff it are devoted to the military serving the civilian government. The military would never conduct any operation against the instructions of the President.

There will be no constitutional crisis on this issue.

However if Barry can lead us into a constitutional crisis based on his insane spending I am sure we will see that.

I've long-since beleived th... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

I've long-since beleived that had Al Gore been prez in 2001, he would have responded much the same way. (Maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part??)

Like J Tea, I'm not inclined to get all worked up about something from a Bob Woodward book -- just like I wasn't over his books released during the Bush years. Mainly, I don't care for how he operates with super-duper over-reliance on unnamed sources.

Even if the quotes are accurate, they should come as no surprise. Obama ran pretty much as Mr. anti-war. That he would want Afghanistan over PQD, however it is done, should shock no one.

And for the record, Obama's ramping up use of the drones to nail the Taliban bastards is one of the few areas of his mickey mouse presidency that I approve of.

(restating what I said in a... (Below threshold)
cirby:

(restating what I said in a previous thread)

The U.S. sure could absorb another terrorist attack.

You should remember, though, that one of the targets of the 9/11 terrorists was 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC. It was just bad piloting skills that kept it from being hit by one of the hijacked airliners.

So, yeah, America could absorb such an attack. Could you, Mr. President? Considering that it has a very good chance of being "absorbed" by your current residence?

cirby - "bad piloting skill... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

cirby - "bad piloting skills" or the heroes of flight 93?

Absorb my ass. W... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:

Absorb my ass. We ENDURED 9-11, just as we ENDURED Pearl Harbor.

The response was to ensure that we never had to "absorb" another such event. The strength of it and the continuity has prevented another such atrocity.

Show the terrorists we're weak and waffling, they'll be back at some point. We need to keep on letting them absorb the consequences of their act.

Don't EVER forget, and NEVER forgive.

Upset -- No, and that's why... (Below threshold)
Andrew X:

Upset -- No, and that's why I sit around coffee houses and shoot off my mouth. :-)

As I say, I don't fathom it happening. My bigger point that should be remembered.... if these maniacs do pull something off bigger than 9/11, maybe using WMD (and they will if they can), do not count on cool rationality or nomal rules of the game applying. All bets may be off, all of 'em. And I think that is Jay Tea's point overall.

Andrew,Consider the ... (Below threshold)
DaveD:

Andrew,
Consider the Obama administration's attempts to move the trials of the high profile terrorists from a military tribunal to a civilian court. He did inherit the intent of military tribunals from Bush. However, with any future "incident" during Obama's tenure I could not be sure he wouldn't try the civilian court proceedings right out of the gate. His maneuver should give us an idea how he views the threat of terrorism and how we respond to it, I think. Therefore, I am not sure the military would push to have a say in how we respond. I think the military would be much more offended by being committed to action somewhere and then in the thick of it not given the support needed to complete their mission. Not being deployed is one thing but being deployed and not being allowed the resources to succeed is "dereliction of duty" on the part of the CIC as far as I am concerned. I do not think the military has an interest in being pawns in the unpredictable political environment of the Obama administration. I write this having absolutely zero military experience.

"Absorb". ... (Below threshold)
Justrand:

"Absorb".

If the meaning is America is strong, and could not easily be defeated and thus could and would respond with force and vigor...then "absorb" is ok.

If the meaning is America can, like a sponge, "absorb" massive death and destruction WITHOUT needing to respond with force and vigor then the statement is abhorrent.

Barry's track record indicates the latter is his meaning. He would, IMHO, use our ability to "absorb" such death and destruction as an excuse to do NOTHING (except, of course, a strongly worded letter to the U.N.)

Bin Laden believed we would respond to 9/11 by lobbing a few cruise missiles into the Afghan camps, and maybe a few strategic raids here and there...as Clinton had done in the years before. He, and the Mullahs of Afghanistan did NOT expect Bush to topple the entire regime and squash al Queda.

Given his past track record... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Given his past track record as a guide, if we were to suffer another attack, Barry will pontificate from on high.....and do nothing.

The President, as Commander... (Below threshold)
Gmac:

The President, as Commander in Chief would HAVE to act because he swore an OATH to do so.

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Failure to act immediately would indeed lead to a Constitutional crisis and the (P)resident's removal.

That he could make a statement like that shows his callous utter disregard for the American public and the country in general.

/spit

Yes but what the best thing... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Yes but what the best thing is to "protect and defend the constitution" is open to interpretation. I wouldn't want the dems deciding that if a conservative president decided on a different course of action that they would immediately start impeachment proceedings. That's simply irrational.

obama could do nothing for quite some time under the guise of making up his mind. He stalled for over 6 months trying to figure out a way to lose Afghanistan and finally decided that it wasn't in his best interests at the time politically. He could stall again after another attack and most likely will.

He will take the opportunity to pass more bullshit legislation to control the economy and politicize private life. He will couch those moves as "doing something" to combat the terrorists.

obama doing nothing will not ever precipitate a constitutional crisis in this area. We might be frustrated with this idiot. He might have popularity ratings in the single digits. It doesn't amount to a constitutional crisis or anything which would necessitate his removal.

War with the Jihadist is a ... (Below threshold)

War with the Jihadist is a given. They hell bent,those seventy-two virgins, on attacking us. The democrat's prefered strategy, Clinton and Obama, of figbting jihadist on American soil has produced a horrific kill ratio in favor of the jihadist. A band of twenty jihadisst killed some three thousand Americans. That a kill ratio one one hundred fifty to one, in favor or the jihadists.

Major Nasan killed what thirteen Americans at Fort Hood with no jihadist fatalities. Not even the United States can sustain such a horrific loss ration.

The virtue of George W. Bush's strategy is that moved the frontlines from our front yerd to theirfront year and produced a kill ratio in our favor.

The only option to war with the jihadists in capitulation. it is either dhimtitude or war. If it is to be war, lets us picu the battlefield.

We have already had a few t... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

We have already had a few terror attacks and had the opportunity to see how Obama would react. The Fort Hood Islamic Radical that killed unarmed soldiers, Obama couldn't get to a microphone fast enough to say this had nothing to do with terrorism or Islam. So, it is clear to me that Obama won't even acknowledge an Islamic terrorist attack let alone defend us from it in the future. ww

"WE" can absorb an attack..... (Below threshold)
TJ:

"WE" can absorb an attack...

I don't have a copy of the statement in front of me, but I think we may be missing a march, here.

Time and again, the use of "WE" by this president -rarely- refers to AMERICA, rather it's more the 'royal we'.

He's not talking about the ability of AMERICA to absorb an attach, he's talking about the ability of HIS ADMINISTRATION to do so...

-TJ

Andrew X, just a suggestion... (Below threshold)
Upset Old Guy:

Andrew X, just a suggestion: you may want to save that particular line of "what if" for use only with liberal Poli-Sci professors (but then, I repeat myself). Maybe an on-campus coffee house would also be ok. I don't recommend wandering out into the real world to have that discussion.




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