Barack Obama appeared on MSNBC's Hardball last night and was asked about the way he would handle the 3 a.m. phone call.
MATTHEWS: Let me give you a scene that may face you in the next year or two, where the national security adviser calls you at 3:00 in the morning and tells that you a couple of jet -- commercial jets have been hijacked. And they believe it is al Qaeda. And, as we know, al Qaeda always tries a second time. They tried for the World Trade Center after '93. They came back in '01.
They're heading for the Capitol. What do you do?
OBAMA: Well, look, I am hesitant to engage in hypotheticals like that, because...
MATTHEWS: But it has been predictable.
OBAMA: Oh, well, the--I don't think anybody predicted 9/11. And, so, we don't know what kinds of circumstances are going to come up.
Yup. That's right, Barack Obama glibly stated that he didn't "think anybody predicted 9/11."
1. Maybe Obama needs a tutorial from former Vice Chairman of the 9/11 Commission, Lee Hamilton, who just endorsed him yesterday. Heck, even Hamilton knows and has to acknowledge that 9/11 was predictable.
Not that Obama conferring with Hamilton should give any of us warm, fuzzy feelings since Lee Hamilton is largely responsible for the 9/11 Commission's Final Report being a total whitewash.
To put it mildly, as Vice Chair for the 9/11 Commission, Hamilton was not interested in transparency, he was not interested in accountability, and he was certainly not interested in telling the truth to the American public. So why is a guy like Hamilton so interested in Obama being president?
Take further Hamilton's words of endorsement for Obama where Hamilton said, "Obama will strengthen our ability to use all the tools of American power, and relentlessly promote the American values of freedom and justice for all people. (Remember those words, folks, "power" and "relentlessly promote" and recognize that they have nothing to do with the sort of foreign policy Obama is currently trying to sell to the American public.)
2. Perhaps Obama might better strengthen his image of having a handle on national security issues by not sounding so much like the disgraceful, incompetent former Bush Administration National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.
Recall that Ms. Rice stated that "I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile."
In other words, that before 9/11 nobody in our (entire) intelligence community could have predicted that something like 9/11 could happen. (i.e. the Bush administration's 9/11 talking point)
I am not even going to bother listing the hundreds of cites/articles/studies/reports/military exercises, drills/testimonials/PDB's/SEIB's or even television shows that disprove Rice's statement. I will just mention my personal favorite -- the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing titled, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in the U.S."
The point is that when it comes to the "predictability" of the 9/11 attacks, it is fairly well known and accepted that the attacks were entirely predictable -- indeed, their very predictability is why our government (wrongfully or rightfully) spent millions of dollars overhauling, upgrading, and re-shuffling our entire intelligence apparatus post-9/11 -- because the attacks should have been prevented.
How could Obama have such a poor understanding of the 9/11 attacks and their subsequent impact on the US intelligence community? Has Obama even read the 9/11 Commission's Final Report that (even in its whitewash form) calls Rice to task for her "misleading" statement about the predictability of 9/11-style attacks? Or sets forth recommendations for intelligence community reforms?
When Obama says we need to end the war in Iraq and re-allocate some of the money spent on the war to hardening our homeland security apparatus, does Obama just say that glibly or does he really understand what he is saying and how desperately we need to pay attention to the vulnerabilities in our national security apparatus? His statement on Hardball makes me wonder.
3. One of the reasons I support Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama is because of the enormous help Senator Clinton gave to the 9/11 families who were fighting to create a 9/11 Commission.
My experience in Washington showed me that there were very few people who understood what needed to be done and even fewer people who had the courage, stamina, and ability to get those things done.
Hillary Clinton was one of those people. And without fail, anytime we needed help -- whether that was achieving bi-partisan consensus, strong-arming the White House and/or House Republicans, or cajoling reluctant and recalcitrant Democrats like Lieberman, Senator Clinton always took the call and helped solve the problem.
I might add that for someone whose husband, former President Bill Clinton, was a point of investigation for the 9/11 Commission, it certainly did not play in Senator Clinton's favor to have something like the 9/11 Commission impaneled. Yet, Senator Clinton was one of our biggest, fiercest, and most vocal advocates for the creation of a 9/11 Commission.
Unfortunately, I can't say the same about Barack Obama since he was still in the Illinois State Senate for the years that I was fighting for a 9/11 Commission in Washington.
But as a 9/11 widow who, along with other 9/11 families, fought very hard to learn lessons from 9/11 to not only make our nation safer but also to hold people like Condoleezza Rice accountable, it is wholly unacceptable for any presidential candidate to get such a simple, historical fact about national security -- that the 9/11 attacks were predictable -- so totally wrong.
Because to do so, means that you don't fully understand and appreciate all that has happened and everything else that needs to happen since 9/11 with regard to our national security.
So why did Obama say it? Because he was just being glib? Or does Obama actually mean it and genuinely not know what he needs to know to be the next president?
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