The President’s Weekly Address

January 3rd, 2010

By Harvey Grund

It took a year for President Barack Obama to do it, but in his weekly address to the nation yesterday he finally got mad enough to get his teleprompter to use the word “terrorism.”

All those involved in the attempted act of terrorism on Christmas must know you, too, will be held to account.

(OK, the teleprompter reference was a cheap shot but it was just too hard to resist.)

Seriously though, listening to his words reminded me of George Bush’s words nine days after the terrorists attacked New York and Washington, during a joint session of Congress (September 20, 2001).

We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place until there is no refuge or no rest.

From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime. Our nation has been put on notice, we’re not immune from attack. We will take defensive measures against terrorism to protect Americans.

And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.

President Obama didn’t go as far as threatening the “nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism,” but he went far enough and sent a message to terrorists around the world.

We can’t expect that words alone will ever influence those who are devoted to spreading Sharia law around the world by force — it will take bold actions. We can hope that President Obama can overcome the forces in his own party that will oppose those actions and send a message that the terrorists can really hear.

One criticism I offer of this week’s radio address is the last phrase in this sentence:

On that day [the day he took his oath of office] I also made it very clear — our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred, and that we will do whatever it takes to defeat them and defend our country, even as we uphold the values that have always distinguished America among nations.

The phrase “even as we uphold the values that have always distinguished America among nations” effectively reverses the meaning of the sentence. If we are to do “whatever it takes” to fight people who fight with no rules to bind them, we need to use whatever tactics it takes, however unorthodox or distasteful they may be. The Marquess of Queensberry rules do not apply to street fights and, admit it or not, we are engaged in a street fight.

(This article was also posted at My View from the Center.)

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One Response to “The President’s Weekly Address”

  1. Tom |

    I completely agree. Here we are tied up in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban, doing nation-building work, and trying to deal with a corrupt local government while al-Qaeda has moved on to Pakistan, Yemen, and who knows where else. Neither president really got the point — we have to fight them where they are, not where they used to be. All the American blood and treasure we dump into Afghanistan isn’t going to make any difference.

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