Are Conservatives Undermining President Obama's War on Terror?

Speaking Thursday, the president continues to tell Americans he'll fix the intelligence failures that allowed the underwear guy to almost blow up an American jetliner. But the president also appealed for a united front against terrorism.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Instead of giving in to cynicism and division, let's move forward with the confidence and optimism and unity that defines us as a people. For now is not a time for partisanship; it's a time for citizenship, a time to come together and work together.


Obviously, that's not happening. President Obama is under withering criticism because his anti-terror policies are deemed too soft by some Americans. Leading the charge, former Vice President Cheney and Sarah Palin.


DICK CHENEY: What I see happening here is the Obama administration is now going back to that old pre-9/11 concept.

You would think our successors would be going to the intelligence community saying, how did you do it? What were the keys to preventing another attack? Instead, they've chosen a different path entirely.

The terrorists see just what they're hoping for: our unity gone, our resolve shaken, our leaders distracted. In short, they see weakness and opportunity.

JOHN KING, CNN: Do you believe the president of the United States has made Americans less safe?

CHENEY: I do. And now he's making some choices that in my mind will, in fact, raise the risk to the American people of another attack.


As for Governor Palin, here's her latest criticism: "President Obama must back off his reckless plan to close Guantanamo, begin treating terrorists as wartime enemies, not suspects alleged to have committed crimes, and recognize that the real nature of the terrorist threat requires a commander in chief, not a constitutional law professor."

Now it's ironic President Obama finds himself in pretty much the same position President Bush was in. You'll remember that left-wing criticism of Iraq severely hampered Mr. Bush in fighting that war. Today, President Obama is being hampered as he tries to fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban. I guess what goes around comes around.

Now since I, your humble correspondent, have been critical of President Obama's anti-terror strategy, I thought about his appeal Thursday, and I thought about it hard. I understand it, but come on. Trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the underwear guy in civilian court is one of the worst political decisions I've ever seen. I can't remain silent on that.

Also, we need coerced interrogation to fight terror. Talking about a plea bargain for this Nigerian loon so we can get information is insane. The military should be grilling him right now.

That being said, I don't want President Obama to fail in dismantling Al Qaeda and the Taliban. I want him to succeed. I'm not trying to undermine the president.

But if Mr. Obama could explain to me how a $100 million civilian trial in New York City for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is better than an inexpensive and efficient military trial, I'm willing to listen. Same thing with a plea bargain for the Nigerian loon.

But no one, no one has been able to put forth anything other than ideological arguments to support the civilian trial deal. In life or death situations, ladies and gentlemen, that is simply not good enough.

And that's "The Memo."

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