In Boston tragedy, President did well:
He knows we can never be perfectly safe
President Obama meets with his cabinet in the White House on April 16. Photo credit: White House Briefing Room photographer
THE TRAGIC EVENTS in Boston on April 15, which President Obama soon called an act of terrorism, remind us that we can never be totally safe in a free society.
Nor should we try to be.
Even the notorious and Orwellian USAPATRIOT Act couldn’t prevent the bombings, which killed at least three and injured almost 200.
We are all slowly recovering from the shock, but a knee-jerk reaction by Congress – if it can overcome its paralysis for a moment – would be futile. Benjamin Franklin is credited with saying: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
He is right.
IN A SUMMARY and photograph released by the White House at 11 a.m. April 16, we see the president and some members of his Cabinet meeting to discuss the situation. It seems like their response was rational, measured and restrained.
“In the briefing, which was led by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco, the President received an update from Attorney General Holder and FBI Director Mueller on the collaborative efforts,” the statement from the White House Press office said. “[These efforts are] underway as part of the investigation, including the agency’s close coordination with state and local law enforcement in Boston.”
The President also received an update from Secretary Napolitano on coordination underway between DHS and state and local partners across the country “to share information, including any additional security steps state and local law enforcement may take.”
CONTRAST THIS with the response of President George Bush after the attacks on New York City in September 2001. He rushed to the site of the disaster, and hugged a rescue worker, disrupting the man’s work and the entire metropolis.
Bush then grabbed a bull horn and, literally, yelled through it (there were technical problems and he was heard saying, “This is as loud as it will go,” first):
“I can hear you! I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!”
Is this a measured response? One designed to calm a shocked and stunned nation? Not in the least.
Then Congress rush through the USAPATRIOT Act, we bombed Afghanistan to smithereens, and destroyed Iraq.
All for …. what?
BY CONTRAST, this was President Obama in his 11:30 a.m. April 16 statement to the world in the White House Press Room.
“We continue to mobilize and deploy all appropriate law enforcement resources to protect our citizens, and to investigate and to respond to this attack,” the President said.
This was precisely what the nation and world needed to hear. The tone and content were calm, deliberate and comprehensive.
“This was a heinous and cowardly act. And given what we now know about what took place, the FBI is investigating it as an act of terrorism,” Obama added.
Thank goodness he didn’t call for draconian new measures in another fruitless attempt to scare Americans into giving up another piece of our freedom in the name of greater security.
The attempt would be illusory.
Just like the theater of checking little old ladies and toddlers in airport screening lines does nothing to improve our safety in the air, calls for more legislation at times like this are simply pointless.
As we mourn the losses in Boston, let us take comfort that the leader of our country is on the job. And, so far, he’s doing a great one!