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Why This, President? Why Now?

What was the reason for the bland, gluten-free flavor of the president’s Oval Office address on terrorism? Barack Obama, on this theoretically important occasion, was out of his element. There were no “folks” (aka people) to attack for questioning his motives or mission, apart from “some who reject any gun-safety measures.” We were almost back to business there: enacting a domestic agenda that features gun control along with tighter regulation of business and resistance to ideas put forth by Republicans.

But he had to move along. This thing, the Oval Office speech, was about terror, foreign and especially domestic. But the leader of the free world had little to say of any real substance on those matters. “The threat from terrorism is real.” Yes, we suspected as much in the aftermath of the Paris and San Bernardino massacres. “But we will overcome it.” We will? How? “By being strong and smart, resilient and relentless. And by drawing upon every aspect of American power.”

So is it time for a change? Well, maybe not. It seems the “more sustainable victory” the president is planning on is to be won through “the strategy that we are using now — airstrikes, Special Forces and working with local forces.” But he specified that Americans cannot “occupy foreign lands” — as if Republicans were demanding we take over Syria, and maybe Libya to boot.

Still, said the President, we’ll keep supporting our ISIS-fighting Syrian and Iraqi proxies. “Go get ’em, guys!” is Obama-led America’s exhortation to those we consider allies in the cause of freedom.

The standout characteristics of this Dec. 6 address were bloodlessness and an absence of patriotic outrage that innocent countrymen of ours, and innocent Parisians, should find themselves subject to the ravages of homicidal maniacs. Why did he bother? Because the occasion gave him the chance to contextualize his perennial assault on the Republicans for thwarting Common Sense Gun Control?

The terrorism address, it seems worth noting, took place the night before the nation’s annual commemoration of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Compare and contrast. “Yesterday,”

President Roosevelt told Congress, “December 7, 1941 — a date which will live in infamy — the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” There was fury in FDR’S steady voice.

 if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at the watchman’s hand.


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