I remember how I felt on September 11, 2001. I was a college sophmore, and knew – along with everyone else – that the world had changed forever. Not because conflict, and terror, and death, and war had not existed before, but never like this, at this scale, and on our soil among the citizenry.
President Obama took office in January 2009, but since then, many, including the POTUS himself, have attached blame to former President Bush for a variety of problems. No president is perfect, and the mistakes made by any commander-in-chief will affect more than just his (or her) term. But as far as terrorism goes? That is not because one president created an environment in which it was allowed to thrive. Evil will always be in the hearts of men and women.
Last night, terror rocked Paris, and “killed at least 129 people and left 352 injured, many in critical condition”. Innocent people, targeted for merely existing, were gunned down or blown up as they enjoyed a concert, a dinner, a leisurely night out, or a sports match. And the Islamic State claimed responsibility. Thursday evening, two suicide bombings hit Beirut, Lebanon killing 41 and wounding many, and ISIS took responsibility. At the end of October, 224 people on a Russian plane all died as a result of an explosion – likely a bomb – planted by ISIS or one of their sympathizers. A few days ago, a new ISIS video was released showing the execution of 200 Syrian children sometime last year.
I don’t blame Obama, nor any other president, for this carnage, but I certainly hold them responsible for not addressing it in an appropriate fashion. If anything, we can expect the Democratic candidates, and especially the Democratic frontrunner and abysmal former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, to follow in Obama’s footsteps. It would surely be business-as-usual in a Clinton Part II administration. Last night, Hillary released the following response to the terror attack:
All our prayers are with the people of France tonight. We must stand side-by-side every step of the way with France and our allies around the world to wage and win the struggle against terrorism and violent extremism. Even in this darkest night, Paris remains the City of Light. No terrorist attack will ever dim the spirit of the French people or our common commitment to the democratic values we share.
Hillary has learned Obama’s Hallmark card cliches well, has she not? It’s a perfect soundbite that lacks substance. And apparently, in a country where we’re nearing the end of the second term of a president who majors in the superficial, it is still preferred.
NPR, in their roundup of candidate reaction to the terror attacks in Paris last night, summarized each side of the political aisle:
The Democratic candidates largely stuck to expressing sympathy, thoughts and prayers. Former Secretary of State Clinton, however, did stress that the U.S. and its allies had to “wage and win the struggle” against ISIS.
For Republicans, a different story. The hawks are back in town since the rise of ISIS. National security this year, unlike in 2011 and 2012, ranks as a top issue for Republican primary voters. And the candidates are talking about foreign policy specifics now, even as developments in Paris continue to emerge.
The world has shown sympathy for those affected by the horror and heartbreak in Paris in the past 24 hours. While that is needed, we should simultaneously give strong responses to the terror. There is no time to waste. However, sites like NPR act surprised, and almost disgusted, at such a thing. I think it is wholly appropriate to discuss specifics of dealing with terrorism, because it is not dissipating.
Tonight is the second Democratic debate. Its original focus was the economy, income inequality, health care, education, etc., but due to Friday’s attacks, CBS will also focus on national security and terrorism. I don’t expect much substance from any of the campaigns, especially Sanders’ campaign who had a problem with the topic change.
As previously stated, I don’t pin blame for terror on a president, but I certainly assign responsibility for appropriate reaction to terror. Considering the Democratic candidates’ histories and even current responses, such reaction would neither be strong nor swift. In the age of ISIS, this is unacceptable.