9/11: George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and the duties of a president

Posted by: Phineas on September 11, 2012 at 1:40 pm

**Posted by Phineas

Today is the eleventh anniversary of al Qaeda’s attacks on New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, in which Muslims waging jihad fi sabil Allah –war for the sake of Allah– killed nearly 3,000 Americans and foreign guests.

On that day, the federal government failed in its primary duty: protecting the United States and her people.

Since then, one would like to believe the men in the Oval Office have taken that duty, assigned to them by the Constitution as Commander in Chief, damned seriously; that they would bend every effort to making sure it never happened again.

We know that was true of George W. Bush. He not only ordered the invasion of Afghanistan to destroy the regime that sheltered al Qaeda, but he received bipartisan congressional approval for the liberation of Iraq (rightly perceiving Saddam’s monstrous regime as a strategic threat that couldn’t be allowed to continue) and he set in motion the intelligence operations that eventually lead to Osama bin Laden’s death under Barack Obama.

Agree or disagree with what he did, there’s no doubt George W. Bush took to heart the national security of the United States.

But, after reading Marc Thiessen’s column in the Washington Post, can we same thing about Barack Obama when he skips out on half of his national security briefings?

President Obama is touting his foreign policy experience on the campaign trail, but startling new statistics suggest that national security has not necessarily been the personal priority the president makes it out to be. It turns out that more than half the time, the commander in chief does not attend his daily intelligence meeting.

The Government Accountability Institute, a new conservative investigative research organization, examined President Obama’s schedule from the day he took office until mid-June 2012, to see how often he attended his Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) — the meeting at which he is briefed on the most critical intelligence threats to the country. During his first 1,225 days in office, Obama attended his PDB just 536 times — or 43.8 percent of the time. During 2011 and the first half of 2012, his attendance became even less frequent — falling to just over 38 percent. By contrast, Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush almost never missed his daily intelligence meeting.

Thiessen questioned a NSC official, who argued that attending the meetings isn’t important and that Obama learns what he needs to know from reading the daily briefings, which he receives wherever he is. Other “former officials” (Bush administration?) disagreed, saying it’s very important for the president to attend these briefings, so that he can clarify his own understanding, question assumptions, and let his advisers know what he thinks is important. The interchange is a vital part of the process leading to national security decisions.

And before anyone can say “Well, he’s got a lot on his plate,” Thiessen relates how Obama’s predecessor handled his briefings:

While the Bush records are not yet available electronically for analysis, officials tell me the former president held his intelligence meeting six days a week, no exceptions — usually with the vice president, the White House chief of staff, the national security adviser, the director of National Intelligence, or their deputies, and CIA briefers in attendance. Once a week, he held an expanded Homeland Security briefing that included the Homeland Security adviser, the FBI director and other homeland security officials. Bush also did more than 100 hour-long “deep dives” in which he invited intelligence analysts into the Oval Office to get their unvarnished and sometimes differing views. Such meetings deepened the president’s understanding of the issues and helped analysts better understand the problems with which he was wrestling.

(Emphases added)

That schedule included President Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign. When he was on the campaign trail, they were probably held by secure conference call. He always made time, always put his duty ahead of his campaign.

In 2012, we’re still at war. The jihad didn’t end when SEAL Team 6 put a couple of bullets into Osama. While al Qaeda has seemingly been savaged to the point that they cannot launch catastrophic attacks against us (we hope), they and other jihad groups haven’t given up trying.

They’re still trying to kill us.

And yet President Obama thinks it’s sufficient to read the morning memo and get on to other things. Not only does he pass on face to face briefings, but his Defense Secretary all but admitted that the President himself (1) authorized the recent national security leaks. There’s only one real conclusion to take from this:

The current President of the United States does not have as his first priority the security of the United States.

Remember that when you vote on November 6th.

via Bryan Preston and NRO

PS: Romney-Ryan 2012, because I want a Commander in Chief, not a campaigner in chief.

Footnote:
1) As he is allowed to do under law, so there’s no criminal violation. Because it’s legal doesn’t make it right, smart, or ethical, though.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

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5 Responses to “9/11: George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and the duties of a president”

Comments

  1. Another dimension is the question, “How many attacks on this country happened after 9/11?” Under Bush, zero. Under Obhammud, in the words of Elizabeth Barret Browning, “Let me count the ways.” Shoe bomber, underwear bomber, Times Square Bomber, Portland Chrismas Tree plot; need I go on?

  2. Carlos says:

    Notes: 1) Why would Obhammud be concerned about the security of a nation he hates anyway?

    2) Why should Obhammud be present to listen to little people beebling about nonsense? He knows FAR more than any of them individually, and probably more than all of the little people collectively, even about such a specialty as national security.

    3) Obhammud is a “Big Picture Guy” to begin with, so why concern himself with niggling little details when he already knows everything he needs to know anyway?

    4) The attacks that were thwarted by Duh-1’s top-flight security people were a direct result of them being on their toes to catch all the sleaze-buckets GW let slip through because he was so stupid. In other words, it’s GW’s fault, just like everything else, and it’s a good thing Obhammud’s crackerjack team is there to stop them!

    sarc/off

  3. Great White Rat says:

    In other words, Obama has been only slightly more interested in national security than in the economy, where I recall he’s attended NO meetings of his economic staff.

    Phineas, you need to show more empathy. Obama does have a lot on his plate, and his situation is different from Bush’s. For one thing, Bush never had important conflicting events like fundraisers with George Clooney or Anna Wintour. Put yourself in Obama’s shoes – if you were Obama, would you go to another national security meeting where (a) no one will give you cash and (b) you already know, because of your own magnificent genius, more than anyone else in the room? It’s a no-brainer!

    In addition, remember that Bush stopped playing golf after the wars started. Obama hasn’t, so there are those conflicts again. Those meetings might be getting in the way of his tee times or pickup basketball games, so think about priorities, man!!

    And you aren’t even considering Obama’s vacationing schedule. Clearly, spending a couple million taxpayer dollars to ship Michelle and him to luxury resorts all over the world (on separate planes, of course) is much more important than yet another boring meeting.

    Besides – look how successful he’s been!! Not going to those meetings didn’t stop him from piloting the chopper into Abbottabad, scaling the bin Laden compound wall with his bare hands, personally beating OBL to death with a teleprompter and a 9-iron while the Navy Seals cowered out of sight, and then leading their timid souls back to safety. And no, those years of intelligence gathering that led to the raid had nothing to do with Bush’s policies, no matter what all the people who worked on it say.

    So give it a rest and stop criticizing Obama, because….FORWARD!! And shut up, raaaacist!!!

  4. Kate says:

    Well, the proof of the pudding is in the eating…..we now have a dead ambassador and consulates that have been attacked, invaded and destroyed by a naive president who thought the muslim spring was about democracy and all on SEPTEMBER 11. What kind of preparedness is this?

    I wonder if he had the same attendance record in college?

  5. Carlos says:

    How would Obhammud even have a faint idea of what his constitutional duties are? He’s never read the thing!

    And if he has, he certainly didn’t retain any of what it says, and says in plain English in no uncertain terms.

    (Of course, the same could be said for a vast amount of the decisions handed down by the SCOTUS, too, in the last century. I mean, what’s so difficult to understand something like “…shall make no law…” or “…by consent of the governed…”?)