Thursday, June 19, 2008

War or Law Enforcement?

Senator Obama has made it clear that he views the threat of terrorism primarily as a matter of war, and not merely a matter of law enforcement. In this he has swerved rightward in anticipation of a general election where the median voter, who by the way is no longer in support of the war in Iraq, is still unable to see that the locution of war is precisely the premise on which guantanamo, wire-tapping, and all other executive excesses since Sep 11 were founded.

If we are at war, then we must do whatever it takes. The president inherits emergency powers, and the country defers to his executive discretion. Port or airport security are matters of relative insignificance. Guns take precedence over butter, heathcare, jobs, even sanity.

Surely it is at least debatable whether terrorism should be characterized and addressed as a matter of war or one of law enforcement, but in affirming or at least prioritizing the former, Barack Obama has capitulated to political tectonics with the same calculations which led his campaign to ban two muslim women in headscarves from a photo-op with their candidate this Monday. When even liberal bloggers evidence Obama's aggressive counter-terrorism approach and blithely distinguish the "good guys" and the "bad guys," no wonder that our national security debate continues to start off with the premise that a "September 10" mentality has been completely discredited, while a "March 17" (2003) mentality has not.

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