By Carole on May 9, 2010
Speaking to the graduating class of Virginia's Hampton University today, President Barack Obama took another opportunity to whine about the quantity of information available to Americans: "Some of the craziest claims can quickly claim traction," in the clamor of certain blogs and talk radio outlets. "All of this is not only putting new pressures on you, it is putting new pressures on our country and on our democracy." (source) Let's examine a few of those crazy claims and exactly who is spreading them.
The morning after the failed bombing in Times Square, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano appeared on Meet the Press to say, "You know, at this point I have no information that it’s anything other than a one-off." Later that day Senator Charles Schumer (D-New York) appeared on CNN and declared, "The odds are quite high that this was a lone wolf." (source)
The next day New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (R) was happy to speculate for CBS News, "If I had to guess 25 cents, this would be exactly that. Homegrown, or maybe a mentally deranged person, or somebody with a political agenda that doesn't like the health care bill or something. It could be anything," he said. "There is no evidence here of a conspiracy, there is no evidence that it's tied into anything else." (source)
Shortly after that, the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attempted bombing and a Pakistani-born suspect was named and subsequently arrested.
Even after that, General David Petraeus, who oversees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, told reporters the Times Square bombing suspect apparently operated as a "lone wolf" who did not work with other terrorists. (source)
It is apparent no more. Citing new evidence, senior White House officials said this morning that the Pakistani Taliban was in fact behind the failed Times Square bombing. Attorney General Eric Holder said the evidence shows that the Pakistani Taliban was "intimately involved" in the bombing plot. John Brennan, the president's homeland security and counterterrorism adviser also linked the bomber to the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, or TTP. (source)
And so as the president attacks "certain blogs and talk radio outlets" just as he previously went after "cable news," we see that people within his own administration and members of the Obama-supporting mainstream media have led the way in providing the "craziest claims" and giving them traction. While I do not advocate jumping to the conclusion that every terrorist attack will prove to have been committed by Islamic extremists, it is equally inappropriate to jump to the defense of Islamic extremism. In doing so our government appears weak, naive and foolish to our friends and enemies alike.
Contrary to the president's speech at Hampton, it is not new technology that's putting new pressures on our country. It is a political ideology that promotes suspicion against peaceful dissenters while giving the benefit of the doubt to admitted terrorists.
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