But more than one-third of all terrorist plots since 9/11 transpired in 2009 — despite loud chest-thumping about rejecting the idea of a war on terror, reaching out to the Muslim world, and apologizing for purported American sins. A non-impoverished Major Hasan or Mr. Mutallab (or Mr. Atta or KSM) does not fit with the notion that our enemies act out of poverty or oppression or want.
In fact, what we are witnessing is a strange mishmash. On the one hand, after repeatedly trashing the Bush protocols in 2007–08, Obama has quietly adopted most of them — keeping the Patriot Act, intercepts, wiretaps, renditions, the concept of tribunals, Predator attacks, forward offensive strategies in Afghanistan, and the Bush-Petraeus timetable in Iraq.
But on the other hand, the Obama administration has embraced largely empty symbolism — promising to "close Guantanamo within a year," mouthing euphemisms such as "overseas-contingency operations" ("this administration prefers to avoid using the term 'Long War' or 'Global War on Terror' [GWOT.] Please use 'Overseas Contingency Operation.'"), and "man-made disasters," while announcing showy new politically-correct moves (such as a public trial for KSM) and subjecting CIA operatives to legal hazard.
Apparently, the Obama administration came into office in January 2009 thinking that the notion of a "war on terror" was archaic and largely had been an excuse for the Bush-Cheney nexus to scare the nation for partisan political purposes. Given the long period of calm after 9/11, the somnolent "good" war in Afghanistan, and the sudden quiet in the "bad" Iraq theater, Obama preferred to focus on Bush's constitution-shredding rather than on national security. What vestigial danger remained could be changed by the charisma of Barack Obama, the obvious appeal of his ancestry to the Muslim world, and the ritual demonization of George Bush.
But Obama has discovered that there really are radical Islamic threats; that Bush's record of seven years of security was no accident; and that the "good" war is heating up. Obama has been forced by events to quietly find ways of emulating Bush's successful anti-terrorism formula, while making loud but empty declarations to mollify his liberal base (which so far seems pacified that Guantanamo is "virtually" closed, and that KSM is "virtually" facing an ACLU dream trial).
Yes, it is a strange mishmash of conflicting memes and confusing behaviors--not on the part of the terrorists, but on the part of Obama and friends, who seem intoxicated by the ideological brew they have served up to this country.
It goes beyond mere intoxication; as someone once commented, the Democratic leadership long ago adopted the Alfred E. Neuman "What, Me Worry?" approach to national security; and their denial about the threat of Islamic terrorism has evolved into a near-catatonic state. The refusal to face the true nature of the threat is, by now, reflexive ("Don't jump to conclusions..."; ). Terrorism is just a four-letter word--BUSH!
On an instinctive and fundamental level, Obama and friends understand that to confront the Islamic nature of the terror threat would cause an entire house of PC cards to come crashing down. And the last thing they want to do is to go there, because "going there" would force them to acknowledge some painful realities that they are not capable of dealing with.
You could interpret all this behavior as symptomatic of a combined hysterical blindness, deafness and dumbness--but it is far too perverse and immutably out of touch with reality for it to be a simple neurosis. What we are witnessing is a collective cognitive catatonia that has makes the Democrats completely irrelevant to deal with the threats of the 21st century.
Catatonia is a state of apparent unresponsiveness to external stimuli in a person who is apparently awake; and perfectly describes the present state of the Obama Administration and its leftist base--as well as most of the Democrats in Congress.
The first signs of this dysfunctional collapse were clearly evident during the Clinton Administration:
But I think a new picture like the one above is needed--updated with Obama and his merry cohorts assuming the "hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil" position.
As reality becomes ever more threatening, the process of denial has accelerated to a ludicrous degree--witness how Congress has been aggressively pursuing an agenda to keep the American people safe...from the evils of capitalism and the free market as they try to get their socialist-lite agenda passed lickety split.
Last night, Charles Krauthammer, described as "insane" the decision to prosecute the Christmas underwear bomber in a civilian court. It was a decision that led to Abdulmulltalab immediately being lawyered up which caused him to stop talking about what he knew about future Al Qaeda plots against the US. Insanity is exactly the correct word to describe it.
It doesn't take a psychiatrist (or a rocket scientist) to understand and appreciate the escalating denial of reality that is loosely disguised as our current national security policy.
UPDATE: In case you are wondering why there is so much pervasive psychological denial about terrorism in the ranks of the political left (and a significant amount in some quarters of the political right, also), Wretchard's post explains:
Henryk M. Broder, the editor Spiegel Online, argued that many European intellectuals have responded to an attack on Kurt Westergaard the author of the “Mohammed Cartoons”, by a Somali with links to al-Qaeda, by “de-escalating” their profile rather than denouncing the attack, in contrast to the somewhat vigorous defense of Salman Rushdie 20 years ago. Broder writes that “the West is choked with fear”.The attack on illustrator Kurt Westergaard wasn’t the first attempt to carry out a deadly fatwa. When Muslims tried to murder Salman Rushdie 20 years ago, the protests among intellectuals were loud. Today, though, Western writers and thinkers would rather take cover than defend basic rights.
The attack on Westergaard is a textbook application of terror. Even the weapons chosen — an axe for example — contributed to instilling fear. Although Westergaard himself escaped unharmed, every European writer knows that the next victim may not be so lucky. And that next writer may be himself. The Somali also demonstrated the second object lesson of terrorist pedagogy. They reminded the world that they never forget. Salman Rushdie is still on the run. Westergaard will have to be guarded until the day that he dies. There is no statute of limitations on al-Qaeda’s anger. Blasphemy is forever.
UPDATE II: Here's a link to Krauthammer's comments that I mentioned above (when I wrote the post originally, there wasn't one):
On Abdulmutallab being accorded the rights of a civilian defendant:It is beyond disconcerting. It's insane. Here is a guy who . . . the administration has admitted was trained, armed in Yemen, recruited in London. We closed our embassy [in Yemen] this week, presumably because there are active threats emanating out of al-Qaeda, the same people involved in his [Abdulmutallab’s] mission.
Here is a guy who presumably knows stuff. At least he knows who trained him and who armed him and who was around him. He says there were other plots. The idea that you give him his rights is simply unbelievable.