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Time to Be Serious about National Security
This administration’s commitment to the national security of the United States is open to serious question.


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Thomas Sowell

One of the few campaign promises that Barack Obama has kept is this: “We are going to change the United States of America!”

As in many other cases, those who were thrilled by the thought of “change” seldom seemed to consider whether it would be a change for the better or for the worse. True believers in the Obama cult assumed that it had to be a change for the better.

Now it is slowly dawning on more people that it is a change for the worse — runaway government spending, under the banners of “stimulus” and “jobs,” is not stimulating anything except political pay-offs to special interests. As for jobs, the percentage of the population with jobs keeps on declining, even as the administration points to all the jobs it is creating.

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It is of course not pointing to all the other jobs that it is destroying, whether by taking money out of the private sector or by loading so many mandates on employers that labor is made artificially too expensive for many employers to do much hiring.

But the most dangerous and most lasting damage that this administration has done to this nation has been in the international jungle, where it is alienating our longtime allies, dismantling our credibility by reneging on our commitments to putting up a missile shield in Eastern Europe, and — above all — doing nothing meaningful to stop the leading terror-sponsoring nation in the world, Iran, from getting nuclear weapons.

We could deter the Soviet Union with our own nuclear weapons, but no one can deter suicidal fanatics, whether they are international terrorists of the sort that caused 9/11 or the kind in charge of the government of Iran, who have long been supplying international networks of suicidal fanatics.

Threatening to launch nuclear retaliation against the people of Iran will not deter them. They have already shown how little they care about the people of Iran and how much they care about their fanatical beliefs and hate-filled agendas.

How much does our own administration in Washington care about the American people and their national security? This is not a question you would usually have to ask about an administration of either party. But this is not like any other administration, and Barack Obama is unlike any other president of the United States in having come from a background of decades of associations and alliances with people who resent this country and its people.

Against that background, the Obama administration’s undermining of our longstanding alliances with Britain and Israel, among others, while seeking to reach accommodations with nations hostile to this country, raises painful questions and even more painful possibilities for the future.

Gratuitous affronts to both Britain and Israel began early in the Obama administration, including a clear downgrading of state visits from their national leaders. These affronts were pitched at a level unlikely to be noticed by the general public but unmistakable to anyone familiar with international relations, including both our allies and our enemies. But most of the pro-Obama media said little to alert the public.

It is not only in our foreign relations that the administration’s commitment to the national security of the United States is open to serious question. Domestically, as well, the same serious and painful questions arise.

After spending hundreds of billions of dollars on political pork-barrel projects from coast to coast — some frivolous beyond belief — its only major cut in federal spending has been its move to cut $100 billion from the Defense Department’s budget.

If there was ever a time when we needed a larger standing army, as distinguished from relying on National Guard troops, who are taken suddenly from civilian life and sent on multiple tours of combat duty, this is that time. We need a bigger and constantly modernizing military, not a bargain-basement military, trimmed down to leave more money for pork-barrel spending.

Sometimes small things can give you a better clue than large things. A recent editorial in Investor’s Business Daily pointed out that hundreds of captured illegal aliens from terrorist-sponsoring nations have been released on their own recognizance within the United States. Are these the actions of an administration that is serious about the national security of the American people?

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. © 2010 Creators Syndicate, Inc.



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