The Corner

Re: What’s Going On Here?

I take issue with the tack our friend Victor Davis Hanson has taken in his criticism of the Obama administration’s conduct of the War on Terror (post of 5:05). He says, “Since January 2009, we have seen plenty of radical Islamists apprehended in the United States while planning mayhem on a massive scale,” and proceeds to ask, “Why . . . are these darn terrorists . . . not getting the ‘hope and change’ message?” I think, rhetorically, this comes dangerously close to blaming Obama for . . . succeeding. Imagine if someone wrote in October of 2001, “The Republicans promised us that they would be better at keeping the nation safe. But we just lost 3,000 innocent lives to the terrorists — why are the terrorists not getting the ‘tough on national security’ message?” We conservatives would quite correctly have denounced this criticism as both simplistic and opportunistic – but at least it would have been criticism of an actual, you know, failure. The U.S. under Obama, in Victor’s own telling, has been busting the radical Islamists and breaking up the terrorist plots. I congratulate the president and all the federal, state, and local law-enforcement officials involved, and wish them continued success in doing so. There are legitimate questions to be raised about our current anti-terrorism policy; this approach, I think, is wrong-headed and counterproductive.