CRP Blog

Monday, August 24, 2009

Obama Policies a Step Backward in War on Terror

The Obama Administration on Monday opted to ramp up the involvement of law enforcement in the global war on terror. What may surprise most Americans is that this new law enforcement emphasis is not aimed at those who plot and commit acts of violence, but rather the intelligence agents charged with defeating them.

Attorney General Eric Holder has named John Durham as special prosecutor as the first step toward bringing chargest against current and former CIA personnel for the interrogation techniques used on detainees, mainly from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Press reports indicate the decision to move forward toward prosecution was taken solely by AG Holder, and may even stand in contrast to the President's own stated position to move on from the national security "controversies" of the Bush Administration.

Yet, it is implausible that Holder would take such action without at least tacit approval from his boss, the President. Additionally, this action is in line with the stated desires of liberal Democrat members of Congress, including several from California, who would clearly like nothing more than a full scale witch hunt of Bush Administration officials involved with protecting America and her allies from terrorist attacks following 9/11.

Holder's moves are inconsistent with an effective national security policy, particularly regarding the global war on terror, and the related issues of securing victory in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For instance, in recent weeks we have witnessed a dramatic increase in violence in Iraq, including the bombing of the Foreign Ministry building and other key government facilities, coinciding with the withdrawal of US military forces from urban areas, and the decision by the al Maliki government to remove protective concrete barriers from many areas in Baghdad, increasing their vulnerability to attack.

Insurgents and terrorists have seen such moves as new opportunities to press on with their campaign of violence against the democratically elected government.

Likewise, what signal does it send to terrorists and insurgents to have the United States engaged in the high profile prosecution of those who were charged with fighting and defeating their violent brethren?

The answer: encouragement.

The decision to prepare for a witch hunt of Bush Administration officials (which liberals in Congress would pursue, and still may, regardless of the direction the Obama Justice Department takes) comes on the heels of last week's complete failure of the Obama Administration to block the release of convicted Pan Am Flight 103 bomber Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi from prison in Scotland.

Barack Obama is credited by Europeans and American liberals with having elevated America's stature and "soft power." Yet, despite "weeks and months" of effort by the Obama State Department, it could not even convince America's closest ally, Great Britain, to not release the man responsible for the murder of 189 Americans. Instead, the bomber was released, picked up in Muammar Gaddafi's private plane, and flown back to Libya to be greeted by a massive state sponsored rally at the airport.

So much for results from the Obama diplomatic team.

Barack Obama is certainly bringing "change" to the global war on terror: treating attacks on America as law enforcement violations, and an overreliance on diplomacy that has witnessed the return of a mass murderer to his home country and fresh threats to the democratically elected government in Iraq.

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