« | »

Obama’s Audacious Thoughts About 9/11

From Mr. Obama’s second autobiography, The Audacity Of Hope, pp 171-2:

I spent the next several weeks as most Americans did—calling friends in New York and D.C., sending donations, listening to the President’s speech, mourning the dead. And for me, as for most of us, the effect of September 11 felt profoundly personal. It wasn’t just the magnitude of the destruction that affected me, or the memories of the five years I’d spent in New York—memories of streets and sights now reduced to rubble. Rather, it was the intimacy of imagining those ordinary acts that 9/11’s victims must have performed in the hours before they were killed, the daily routines that constitute life in our modern world—the boarding of a plane, the jostling as we exit a commuter train, grabbing coffee and the morning paper at a newsstand, making small talk on the elevator. For most Americans, such routines represented a victory of order over chaos, the concrete expression of our belief that so long as we exercised, wore seat belts, had a job with benefits, and avoided certain neighborhoods, our safety was ensured, our families protected.

Now chaos had come to our doorstep. As a consequence, we would have to act differently, understand the world differently. We would have to answer the call of a nation. Within a week of the attacks, I watched the Senate vote 98–0 and the House vote 420–1 to give the President the authority to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons” behind the attacks. Interest in the armed services and applications to join the CIA soared, as young people across America resolved to serve their country. Nor were we alone. In Paris, Le Monde ran the banner headline “Nous sommes tous Américains” (“We are all Americans”). In Cairo, local mosques offered prayers of sympathy. For the first time since its founding in 1949, NATO invoked Article 5 of its charter, agreeing that the armed attack on one of its members “shall be considered an attack against them all.” With justice at our backs and the world by our side, we drove the Taliban government out of Kabul in just over a month; Al Qaeda operatives fled or were captured or killed.

It was a good start by the Administration, I thought—steady, measured, and accomplished with minimal casualties (only later would we discover the degree to which our failure to put sufficient military pressure on Al Qaeda forces at Tora Bora may have led to bin Laden’s escape). And so, along with the rest of the world, I waited with anticipation for what I assumed would follow: the enunciation of a U.S. foreign policy for the twenty-first century, one that would not only adapt our military planning, intelligence operations, and homeland defenses to the threat of terrorist networks but build a new international consensus around the challenges of transnational threats.

This new blueprint never arrived. Instead what we got was an assortment of outdated policies from eras gone by, dusted off, slapped together, and with new labels affixed. Reagan’s “Evil Empire” was now “the Axis of Evil.” Theodore Roosevelt’s version of the Monroe Doctrine—the notion that we could preemptively remove governments not to our liking—was now the Bush Doctrine, only extended beyond the Western Hemisphere to span the globe. Manifest destiny was back in fashion; all that was needed, according to Bush, was American firepower, American resolve, and a “coalition of the willing.”

Perhaps worst of all, the Bush Administration resuscitated a brand of politics not seen since the end of the Cold War. As the ouster of Saddam Hussein became the test case for Bush’s doctrine of preventive war, those who questioned the Administration’s rationale for invasion were accused of being “soft on terrorism” or “un-American.” Instead of an honest accounting of this military campaign’s pros and cons, the Administration initiated a public relations offensive: shading intelligence reports to support its case, grossly understating both the costs and the manpower requirements of military action, raising the specter of mushroom clouds.

The PR strategy worked; by the fall of 2002, a majority of Americans were convinced that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, and at least 66 percent believed (falsely) that the Iraqi leader had been personally involved in the 9/11 attacks. Support for an invasion of Iraq—and Bush’s approval rating—hovered around 60 percent. With an eye on the midterm elections, Republicans stepped up the attacks and pushed for a vote authorizing the use of force against Saddam Hussein. And on October 11, 2002, twenty-eight of the Senate’s fifty Democrats joined all but one Republican in handing to Bush the power he wanted.

Uplifting, is it not?

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, September 11th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “Obama’s Audacious Thoughts About 9/11”

  1. Petronius says:

    Spellbinding. Absolutely riveting.

    By the way, has he captured bin Laden yet?

    No? Must be Bush’s fault.

    It’s probably time to shake things up at the CIA again.

  2. proreason says:

    His speechwriter appears to have used the spellchecker correctly when he wrote the tome.

    But gee wiz, if congress voted 518 to 1 “to give the President the authority to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations or persons” behind the attacks. “, why have we started the Witch Trials against the CIA guys who did the Congress’s bidding.

    Oh wait a minute, slap head, that was B.O. (Before Obamy).

    Pre-history doesn’t count.

    Bring on the Racks!!!!!

  3. Rusty Shackleford says:

    I’m afraid I just have to bring to a simple level for me. I care not to analyze or dissect any of his words anymore. My Cherokee friends simply say, “What he says is unimportant and we do not hear his words”.

    Truly, he never recognizes an opportunity to keep his mouth shut.

  4. wardmama4 says:

    His speechwriter may have used a spell checker but this is very, very slick of him – Senate vote 98–0 and the House vote 420–1 is HR. 64 and SR.23 – which authorized Operation Enduring Freedom but the tome is using the language of HR 114 Senate vote 77-23 and the House vote 296-133-3 which are what authorized Operation Iraqi Freedom.

    Interesting – the slick way he did that – like so much of what he says,does and writes (supposedly). Never Forget – Words. . .Just words.

  5. MinnesotaRush says:

    A very good time to remember how we can tell when o-blah-blah is lieing.

    His lips are moving (and/or he’s breathing).

  6. canary says:

    Please don’t say Obama is clever. Obama’s staff, and a long list of individuals are on his list of those he thanks for doing all the editing, and checking it to be factual. Thing is so much of this book is taken straight from speeches he made. Easy bucks for Obama.
    Obama had enormous help on the first book. And Gibbs writes everything for him to say.

  7. Reality Bytes says:

    Well, looks like Jimmy Carter’s got his replacement lined up.

« Front Page | To Top
« | »