Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gripe: "expedience sake"

For a while, I've been peeved about something President Obama said in his inaugural address:

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers -- (applause) -- our Founding Fathers, faced with perils that we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man -- a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience sake. (Applause.)
The intelligence and security measures undertaken under President Clinton in the years leading up to 9/11 and then under President Bush in reaction to 9/11 were not due to "expedience sake". While it's proper to critically and continually review those measures, 'necessity's sake' would be the more appropriate characterization. As well, the choices can fairly be called a 'difficult balance', but they have not been "false". The new president's dismissive characterization of his predecessors' execution of their critical duties seems arrogant, naive about the threat, and dangerously disrespectful of the enemy. It's worrisome.



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