Unlike most folks, I believe that Barack Obama really was sincere when he said we are "at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred."
Unfortunately, I think Obama secretly was referring to the Fox News Channel.
Obama spent much of his first year in office firing salvos at his own perceived (as compared to the nation's very real) enemies: the few in the media who failed to genuflect to the MSM's new prophet. If his administration had confronted al-Qaeda with the same vigor with which they attacked FNC or Rush Limbaugh, Americans might not have to worry about what's in travelers' underwear.
As to the real "network of violence and hatred" -- he can't seem to bring himself to say Islamic terrorists -- Obama's actions have spoken louder than even his words...although his words were plenty clear.
Obama's first TV interview after taking office was dispensed to Arab-language Al Arabiya, and about as quickly as such a trip could be planned, he was off to Cairo, where he vowed "to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear." He went on to repudiate American exceptionalism: "[A]ny world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail," he preached to the Arab world. Almost from the moment he was handed the keys to the Oval Office, Obama started dismantling the machinery that had kept America safe since 9/11. Faster than you can say "enemy combatant," he issued an executive order to close Guantánamo Bay, signaling to terrorists that they would soon be protected by America's judicial system if we manage to grab them. And al-Qaeda no longer has to worry about their captured operatives spilling the fava beans and disrupting planned operations à la KSM. Within hours of taking office, Obama banned the use of harsh interrogation techniques that prevented a "second wave" of attacks after 9/11. Obama's indifference to the Islamist terrorist threat that manifested itself once again on Christmas Day is also reflected in his appointments. His pick to safeguard our homeland security promptly warned of the danger of violence from...the American right. Rather than focusing on Islamic terrorists, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano cautioned Americans against the threat posed by what she called "rightwing extremist activity." Among the threats that Napolitano warned against were "groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration."
Presumably, Napolitano was too busy in her new job to include on her list those of us opposed to Obamacare or cap-and-trade.
Unless Jivin' Janet can produce evidence that the Tea Party folks have harmed anything other than MS-NBC's ratings, her agenda-driven focus on potential domestic terrorists has drained resources that could have been put to good use on the nation's (rather than Obama's) enemy list.
Damaging as Obama's change in policies at Homeland Security have been, they pale in comparison to the full-blown assault on the agency most responsible for gathering intelligence about our real enemies.
Obama's choice to head the CIA, Leon Panetta, had no intelligence experience, and he met resistance from even loyal Democrats. "My position has consistently been that I believe the agency is best-served by having an intelligence professional in charge at this time," California Senator Dianne Feinstein told the New York Times. To Panetta's credit, though, even he couldn't fully stomach the assault Obama launched on the intelligence community. ABC News reported of a "profanity-laced screaming match" between Panetta and another unnamed senior Obama official over the decision to open criminal investigations of CIA officers who used harsh interrogation methods to keep the country safe. The Washington Post left no doubt that the decision was green-lighted by Obama: "official accounts did not mention Holder's conversations with the White House, nor Obama's deep, if cautious, engagement with the issues."
At about the same time last August that Obama and Holder were playing whack-a-CIA-agent, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab traveled to Yemen to learn how to sew explosives into his underwear.
And speaking of Captain Underpants, the accused Christmas Day bomber has reportedly warned that there are more terrorists like him in Yemen.
We know there are at least six.
Just days before Abdulmutallab tried to blast Northwest Flight 253 out of the the sky over Detroit, Obama released an additional half-dozen Gitmo detainees to Yemen. In all, Obama has sent 42 suspected Guantánamo terrorists home, where they are free to join their jihadist comrades in future attacks. The rest, presumably, will soon be in federal courts, where they will do everything they can to reveal U.S. intelligence capabilities to other terrorists. The underwear-bomber launched the second high-profile terrorist attack on this country in as many months. Team Obama tried to discount the Fort Hood shooting as the work of a lone gunman, even trying to absolve Major Nidal Malik Hasan by rationalizing that the accused shooter was suffering something they called "pre-traumatic stress syndrome" before he was deployed. Now that it's been reported that Hasan and Abdulmutallab may have been in contact with the same radical imam while they were preparing their attacks, it's going to take even more convoluted logic and language to try to ignore the obvious -- that the war we're fighting is with a vicious band of radical Islamists committed to jihad against the United States and the West.
This blows to hell the Obama storyline, which went something like this: They hate us because of George Bush. Elect me and the whole world will suddenly love us.
Since it was delivered by a candidate who reads from a teleprompter as smoothly as Tiger Woods picks up women, some folks actually bought that pablum...enough to elect him, at least.
As for Obama -- like many good orators, he started to believe his own shtick.
Unfortunately, his campaign platitudes of Hope and Change have been realized...by America's enemies.
William Tate is an award-winning journalist and author.