What About Holding People Responsible?

You could be excused for being a terrorist mastermind in Grozny – the capital of Chechnya – and sleeping rather soundly tonight.

Glaringly omitted from President Obama’s remarks Friday evening after the capture of the second terrorist was any mention of bringing justice to those who planned and supported this, and combating whatever group is responsible.

Here’s what we got instead:

We will determine what happened. We will investigate any associations that these terrorists may have had. And we’ll continue to do whatever we have to do to keep our people safe.

Oh, jolly, there will be an INVESTIGATION.

Look, I get that there’s a possibility that these two cooked this thing up between bong hits in their parents’ attic.

But one of them just spend six months in Russia, and the Russian government suspected him of having ties to terrorists. Our leader could have at least said that IF there are those overseas who are responsible, we will make corpses out of them too.

There is something about this president that seems to not want to accept that there is a systemic problem here: Islamism and its vicious foot soldiers – most prominently, al Qaeda – who want to do away with our freedom.

What’s more, the problem seems to be expanding in that those overseas are succeeding in convincing American citizens and residents to act against their own country.

Obama seemed to reference this when he noted that we need to answer the question, “why did young men who grew up and studied here, as part of our communities and our country, resort to such violence?” But you almost get the sense he thinks they may have needed better early childhood education and healthier school lunches.

And Obama needs to understand that this conspiracy of hatred got through our defenses this time, as did those who planned and attacked our consulate in Benghazi seven months ago.

Whatever they thought they could ultimately achieve, they’ve already failed.  They failed because the people of Boston refused to be intimidated.  They failed because, as Americans, we refused to be terrorized.

Well, actually, they succeeded. They killed four people and ruined the lives of many others.

No one believes more strongly than I do in the American spirit. But Obama seems to be minimizing in his own head the danger we face and failing to grasp the WAR on terrorism in which we are engaged. Or supposed to be engaged.

And that’s why we take care not to rush to judgment — not about the motivations of these individuals; certainly not about entire groups of people.

After all, one of the things that makes America the greatest nation on Earth, but also, one of the things that makes Boston such a great city, is that we welcome people from all around the world — people of every faith, every ethnicity, from every corner of the globe.  So as we continue to learn more about why and how this tragedy happened, let’s make sure that we sustain that spirit.

Okay, I agree. This must not be about assailing the Muslim religion, it’s about finding extremists within it. But if such thinking means that the FBI must decide out of fairness it needs to send one agent to monitor the local Quaker meeting house for every agent it sends to the downtown mosque, then he’s got it all wrong.

After the attacks on Monday, I directed the full resources of the federal government to be made available to help state and local authorities in the investigation and to increase security as needed.  Over the past week, close coordination among federal, state, and local officials — sharing information, moving swiftly to track down leads — has been critical to this effort.

Well, while you’re patting yourself on the back, where’s your statement about getting to the bottom of why this attack slipped through the cracks of our counterterrorism firewall?

Our enemies are finding out that terrorist attacks against the United States and its interests are doable. We need to figure out why this is so and make sure we confront our enemies, not just put Dzhokar Tsarnaev on trial as if this were a criminal matter.

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Award winning journalist Keith Koffler has 16 years of experience covering Washington. As a reporter for CongressDaily, National Journal magazine, and Roll Call, Keith wrote primarily from the White House, covering three presidents and learning as few have the intricacies of the West Wing and the behavior and motivations of its occupants. While mainly stationed at the White House, he also extensively covered Congress and Washington’s lobbyists. Keith has also written for a variety of other publications, including Politico, The Daily Caller, and The London Observer. He currently writes regular opinion columns for Politico. He blogs at whitehousedossier.com.

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