Monday, January 4, 2010

Conservatives who criticize Obama over national security should take a look at their own actions

President Barack Obama ended his 10-day Hawaiian vacation today, returning to Washington to resume government business after a much-deserved break. Coincidentally, I also ended a 10-day vacation, though admittedly my return was much less noticed.

During my time off, I wasn't asked to work or to deal with anything related to my job. I was pretty much able to forget I even HAD a job, much less what it was I had to look forward to when I came back. Obama, on the other hand, had to deal with a national security crisis, on Christmas day of all times. There are no real breaks for the president -- a vacation, something many of us take for granted, can be interrupted at any time for the commander in chief.

There has been much criticism made against President Obama regarding his national security credentials. The Christmas plot to take American lives by al Qaeda has been, fairly or not, the latest catalyst for those criticisms, coupled with lingering debates about the president's qualifications from other prominent conservative politicians.

Take, for instance, former Vice President Dick Cheney's belief that Barack Obama isn't the man we want leading the charge against terrorists. Cheney claims Obama doesn't know what he's doing because he doesn't even call it a war on terror. "Why doesn't he want to admit we are at war?" the former vice president asks.

Cheney statements, however, are lies. President Obama has, several times, said we are at war with al Qaeda, at war with terrorism. He even said so in his inaugural address a year ago this month.

In fact, it's Cheney himself that has more to answer for than Obama does, Cheney whose actions are controversial and downright deplorable. It was, after all, the Bush administration that allowed two inmates from Guantanamo Bay prison facility to go free, eventually allowing them to return to Yemen -- where they then became principal actors in al Qaeda-related activities in that country. It was through Yemen's al Qaeda affiliate that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (the would-be Christmas day terrorist) planned and received materials for the Christmas day plot.

It's ironic, then, that the very plot that Dick Cheney and other conservatives are trying to blame others for could very well be their own fault, the result of letting two prisoners go free rather than face prosecution for their crimes.

While changes need to be made to make this country safer, President Obama is doing everything he can to make sure our nation is secure, and that our enemies fail. It is conservatives we must be worried about, conservatives who have a proven track record of failing to stop terrorism, of choosing politics over safety.

Think twice before you listen to conservative criticism; consider that it may be the critics themselves we have most to fear.

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