After campaigning vigorously against President Bush’s terror policies, Barack Obama continued a good many of them after assuming the presidency. To those policies, along with the Navy SEALS who entered the Abbottabad compound, go the credit for the long-awaited, bullet-to-the-head takedown of Osama bin Laden. Here are the Top 10 Bush Terror Policies Continued by Obama.
1. Special Forces funded: Since 9/11, funding for U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) has tripled, even as its overseas deployments quadrupled. This Pentagon unit oversees all the military services’ elite Special Forces units, including the Navy SEAL Team Six that was dispatched to Osama bin Laden’s Pakistani hideaway. Under Obama, the command continues to be well-funded even during times of economic problems and budget cutbacks. The Pentagon is seeking a 7% budget increase for SOCOM in fiscal 2012, and the command is fielding the first of its 72 new MH-60M helicopters, while upgrading other aging hardware.
2. Military tribunals: President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder were determined to end military tribunals and try terrorist detainees in criminal courts. Only when Congress rebelled and New Yorkers denounced the since-revoked decision to try 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in Lower Manhattan, did the administration back down and accept the obvious—that deadly terrorists couldn’t be allowed the full set of rights afforded in U.S. federal court. Do we really want a committed jihadist to be set free because a Navy SEAL didn’t read him his Miranda rights when pulling him out of a cave in Tora Bora?
3. Iraq not abandoned: Obama won the presidency with the help of the anti-war Left by promising a quick end to the Iraq War. He has stayed the course long enough for the country to stabilize following the Bush surge, which Obama opposed. Now, with the Middle East pushing out longtime rulers, the new leaders can choose from two models: a democratic Iraq or a demonic Iran .
4. Gitmo still open: Obama’s first act as President was signing an executive order to close the facility holding terrorist detainees at Guantanamo Bay within a year. More than two years later, he has finally concluded that there is nowhere else to house such murderous jihadists.
5. Renditions continued: Obama has continued a version of the Bush practice of renditions. No wonder. It was in a secret prison in Eastern Europe where a waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed gave intelligence to the CIA helping to identify Osama bin Laden’s couriers, one of whom led U.S. Special Forces to his doorstep.
6. Afghanistan surge: Obama foolishly set a date for troop withdrawal in Afghanistan, but he partially accepted his general’s recommendation for more military personnel for the battle. Under Obama, the number of troops in Afghanistan has doubled since Bush left office. Let’s hope the Commander-in-Chief ignores his own deadline and lets the military do its job.
7. Indefinite detention: Even while Obama and Holder wrung their hands over how to bring terrorists to justice, ultimately they came to the same conclusion that Bush reached: There are some detainees who are so dangerous that they can never be released. At one point, Holder even went so far as to say that he would try hard-core Gitmo detainees in criminal courts, but if an acquittal was reached, he would still keep them imprisoned.
8. Surveillance maintained: The Left went crazy over Bush’s so-called assault on civil liberties when the Patriot Act allowed the surveillance of calls from suspected terrorists coming from overseas and permitted the FBI to obtain certain phone records without warrants. Obama’s Justice Department has given legal authority for the continuation of the policy, with the anti-war crowd voicing only muted concern.
9. Record number of drones: Obama has greatly increased the number of unmanned drones used in Afghanistan, an effective weapon against the enemy in rough terrain. One abhors the persistent civilian casualties, but it also greatly reduces U.S. troop deaths.
10. Killing terrorists: Bush said, “Bring ’em on,” when al-Qaeda flocked to Iraq, and he sent intelligence agents and Special Forces around the world to aggressively track down terrorists. American warriors have continued the long battle with continued success during the Obama administration. But because the targeting of an individual for assassination is legally murky, the shot into the head of Osama bin Laden would not have happened if the Obama-supporting American Civil Liberties Union had gotten its way.