With only a cursory mention of the war on terror, three things were conspicuous by their absence in last night’s State of the Union speech: Gitmo, Miranda, and the New York terror trials.
On January 22, 2009, just two days after being sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama issued an executive order to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility within one year. It was touted as a move that would restore America’s reputation in the world, and remove a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda.Fast forward one year, and not only is Gitmo still open, but it is by all accounts a country club compared to the American Prison system. The President believes strongly that the Guantanamo detention facility should be closed, but in a sixty-nine minute State of the Union speech the President could not find time to explain why to the American people.
On Christmas day 2009, aboard a Northwest Airline flight to Detroit, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to detonate an explosive device. After this act of terror, Abdulmutallab was questioned by the FBI, and was said to be providing vital intelligence on potential future terror attacks. The next day he was read his Miranda rights, given a lawyer and has provided no information since.The President believes strongly that terrorists should be treated as criminals, and given their Miranda rights rather than being detained as enemy combatants, but in a sixty-nine minute State of the Union speech the President could not find time to explain why to the American people.
On November 13, 2009 Attorney General Eric Holder announced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and his four co-conspirators would be tried in a criminal court in New York City. The admitted terrorists would be tried with all the rights of United States citizens, and just blocks away from the scene of the heinous, and barbarous acts they conspired to commit on September 11, 2001. The President believes strongly that it is the right decision to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his co-conspirators in U.S. criminal courts, but in a sixty-nine minute State of the Union speech the President could not find time to explain why to the American people.
The President did find time to throw around the promise of political favors like confetti. He appeased nearly every political constituency by promising off-shore drilling, clean coal, tax cuts for businesses, curbing of carbon emissions, green jobs, a jobs spending bill, a public works project, student loan relief, new banking regulations, the lifting of the don’t ask don’t tell policy for gays in the Military, and much more.
There was plenty of time in the President’s speech for currying political favor. Sometimes it is not what you say that is so important, but rather what you don’t say. The President failed to address three of the core issues in America’s war on terror in his speech last night, and by doing so he left in question America’s resolve to protect herself from terrorism. Apparently, there were no political points to be scored by discussing America’s safety (or lack thereof) against terrorist attacks, and so the President chose not to discuss it.
Mr. President, your silence was deafening.