David Forsmark replied to my post about the George W. Obama Administration here, titled “Yes, Ryan, There IS a Difference Between the 2 Parties on National Security.” Just a little clarification: I was comparing the Obama and Bush Administrations, not necessarily both parties, and I didn’t say there was no difference at all, just nothing really decisive in my opinion.
Let me respond to his points. The first two relate to Iran. It isn’t correct to say that President Obama hasn’t provided the Iranian people with rhetorical support, and the Obama Administration has never said that Ahmadinejad was legitimately elected. Although his response was delayed, Obama’s response to the uprising in June was as good as anything his predecessor said, and included a great reference to the videotape death of Neda Soltan. My main criticism of our Iran policy remains unchanged from Bush to Obama—we aren’t following those words up with action to really support the Iranian people.
As for the months Obama took to make a decision on Afghanistan, the delay did not affect the war as every proposed plan to add troops had those reinforcements being sent in 2010. And it’s not like the years it took for Bush to change course in Iraq. Granted, the surge in Iraq is what has ironically allowed Obama to have a model for success in Afghanistan, but it isn’t wise for Obama’s critics to compare delays in changing war strategies.
Forsmark also refers to Holder’s plan to prosecute CIA interrogators, but the Obama Administration has been clear since last spring that they would not be prosecuted. As for Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, keep in mind that the administration is only prosecuting terrorists it is certain will be found guilty and are detaining the rest indefinitely. A change? Yes. Decisive? I think not. And at any rate, KSM won’t go to trial in New York City.
The same goes for the rest of the points. Changes—yes, decisive—no. There is a tough ongoing debate whether reading Abdulmutallab his Miranda rights caused him to stop talking. According to some reports, he was read his rights only after he stopped talking. The FBI then flew in family members to pressure him to cooperate, which worked. I wasn’t there at the initial interrogation so I can’t say for a fact what exactly happened, so I’m waiting for more information to make a firm call.
I know this sounds like I’m a pro-Obama agent sent to infiltrate NewsReal Blog by the Democratic Party, so let me just say I’m a registered Independent who enthusiastically voted for McCain. I also voted for President Bush in 2004.
By the way, I respect Forsmark for his polite response. Don’t we all wish that political dialogue was always done this way?