"He sounds like President Bush," I said to myself.
President Barack Obama somberly spoke at the memorial service for the 13 killed during the Fort Hood shooting rampage. The President movingly praised the valor and selflessness of those who gave their lives, as well as that of those who enlist to help protect the country.
Many enlistees, the President pointed out, joined after 9/11, willing to fight an unconventional war against an unconventional enemy who kills and then hides among civilians. These enlistees joined knowing that this is an enemy from whom we have no expectation of a signed surrender. They joined knowing that much of the "international community" blames America for the "Arab and Muslim world's" anger, and many fellow Americans share that sentiment.
The President looked grim. He told the life stories of those slaughtered at Fort Hood, apparently by a Muslim jihadist who, inexplicably, remained in the military after publicly opposing Muslims fighting Muslims and actually contacting a Muslim cleric living in Yemen, who reportedly recruits for al-Qaida.
The President continues to ponder top Afghanistan commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal's request for 40,000 more troops. If granted, this would mean Obama places national security ahead of party politics, since most Democrats oppose this war. Also -- at least at first -- the anti-Afghanistan-war Obama-lovers would bite their tongues or miraculously rediscover Afghanistan as the "good war."
President Bush "surged" in Iraq over the objections of members of his own administration, to say nothing of Democrats -- including Obama, who not only opposed the surge but also predicted its failure. Yet nothing in Obama's political career suggests a courage to defy the wishes of Democrats on any issue of significance.
As a senatorial candidate, Obama opposed the then-popular Iraq war. He later said, however, that had he been in the Senate at the time, he wasn't sure how he would have voted -- and that he understood the basis on which his fellow Democratic senators cast their pro-war votes. Most of his Democratic presidential opponents -- including Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, Joe Biden, John Edwards, etc. -- supported the war. Would a Sen. Barack Obama have voted "no"?
Obama neither mentioned the suspect's religion nor described his actions as "terrorism." But does the President, who campaigned promising to sit with our enemies without "preconditions," finally grasp the determination, intensity and lethality of our enemy -- Islamofascists?
Yes, the evidence suggests that the suspect acted alone. It is, however, increasingly clear that this devout Muslim considered it a moral duty to wage jihad by gunning down soldiers in the name of Allah. The President talked of the suspect's "twisted logic." Does Obama not see that this very "twisted logic" drives our death-worshipping enemy to fly planes into buildings and kill 3,000 civilians on American soil?
Obama campaigned pushing the mantra that Bush took his eye off the ball by entering into Iraq, a "war of choice." Does President Obama now get it -- that the Iraq war made complete sense and that we are safer because of it? Will the President now get serious about Iran?
When a candidate becomes a president, he receives daily national security briefings. Obama sees the threats against America and American interests -- via chemical, biological and nuclear weapons -- at the hands of Islamofascists. Their motivation is nothing short of worldwide domination and the replacement of secular governments by Islamic "republics."
Keeping the country safe remains the principal responsibility of any president. This new President now sits in the Oval Office formerly occupied by President George W. Bush -- a man maligned, attacked and ridiculed for first failing to prevent 9/11 and then engaging in "undue militarism" to prevent another one. Does Obama now wonder how Bush kept it together while critics chanted, "Bush lied; people died"? Does he not wonder if or when his own party or the country will turn against him should he, in good faith, take an unpopular action to protect the country by "surging" in Afghanistan?
During the memorial service, the cameras panned slowly across the row of the fallen ones' Army boots with protruding rifles and helmets atop. Suddenly, "reforming health care" -- Obama's campaign agenda centerpiece -- seemed silly and insignificant. Obama asked the nation to honor, remember and reflect on the sacrifices of those just killed and of those willing to face death to keep the country safe. I found myself saying, "He sounds like President Bush."
The President grimaced. He clenched his jaw. Obama ended the eulogy: "Long after they are laid to rest ... it will be said ... that they paid the price and bore the burden to secure this nation, and stood up for the values that live in the hearts of all free peoples. ... May God bless the memory of those that we have lost. And may God bless the United States of America."
ABC's Charlie Gibson then said, "President Bush just concluded his remarks." Apparently, I wasn't alone.
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