The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Thursday night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On the recess appointment of James Cole as deputy attorney general:

This is a man who denies that the war on terror exists. We heard him write about the rhetoric of war. Well, it’s not just rhetoric. It’s a matter of law. A week after 9/11 Congress passed authorization of use of force against the people who did 9/11, al-Qaeda and those affiliated with them, and indeed the nation of Afghanistan which was harboring al-Qaeda.

So, Congress itself, in a law it passed — not as a matter of rhetoric but as a matter of law — categorized what had happened as an act of war. In modern times the authorization of the use of force is the equivalent of what used to happen in antique times with a declaration of war.

So you’ve got Congress acting as a matter of declaring it war. And here’s a guy who’s saying it’s a matter of rhetoric. And he says because the war on terror is a fiction and only rhetorical, you have to treat these [terrorists] as if they were domestic rapists. In fact, the Congress has categorized these people in a different way. They are essentially enemies of war, they are in fact unlawful enemies of war. And thus, even if you appeal to the “rule of law,” as Cole does, under the rule of law these people ought to be treated differently. His entire argument is bogus.

On the Obama administration’s appointment of an ambassador to Syria:

We haven’t had an ambassador because we know, we suspect — we’re sure, actually, Syrians were involved in the murder of Rafik Hariri, former prime minister of Lebanon, a broad daylight assassination. At that time, he was the leader of the anti-Hezbollah, the anti-Syria forces.

As a result, there was a [international] court that was convened. The Bush administration pushed hard to have it active. It will render a verdict in days now, and it will indict high-level Hezbollah officials in Lebanon and probably Syria.

This is a regime that has been arming Hezbollah to the teeth [with] tens of thousands of rockets, violating every provision of the truce that was declared after the Second Israel-Lebanon War, [is an] ally of Iran, essentially an enemy of the United States, undermining all our activities and infiltrating itself into Lebanon out of which it had been kicked in 2005.

All of this is happening and what does the administration do? It sends an ambassador in return for absolutely nothing. Returning an ambassador after withdrawal is a sign of conciliation and, in this case, appeasement. There is nothing, there is no reason to do it. Obama had a dream that if he sweet-talked Assad he would get Syria to break its relations with Iran and Hezbollah and become an ally of the United States. It [the Obama administration] gave all kind of inducements. It was humiliated by Assad’s response. He expressed contempt for these inducements — [and] the United States offered it in return, the return of an ambassador! It’s appeasement of the first order.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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