Commentary: Perfection is the new, unrealistic standard on terrorism

The Myrtle Beach SunJanuary 15, 2010 

By the standard that is emerging, every president since I was born has failed the country in the fight against terrorism.

The new standard seems to be perfection — every terrorist attack foiled and zero American lives lost — and by that President Obama is deemed soft on terrorism and incapable of keeping America safe.

The new standard is coming from political opponents of Obama, which is somewhat expected though disheartening, given the seriousness of this issue. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani is leading the chorus.

He, amazingly, said there were no terrorist attacks under George W. Bush but one under Obama. Even New York Times columnist Maureen Down chided Obama for not being "the strong father who protects the home from invaders, who reassures and instructs the public at traumatic moments" — the traumatic moment being a casualty-less, failed attempt by Underpants Bomber.

A quick Google search will uncover successful and failed terrorist attacks dating back to 1972, the year of my birth. What is seen by many as the first airline suicide mission by a Middle Easterner terrorist occurred almost three decades before Sept. 11, when TWA Flight 841, heading from Tel Aviv to New York in 1974, was brought down and left 88 people dead.

There was Oklahoma City in 1995 and the New York-bound Pan Am flight in 1988. There were multiple attacks on U.S. installations in Beirut in 1983 and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Have we forgotten the USS Cole and Sept. 11 or the countless suicide attacks in Iraq against our troops? What about the released Gitmo detainees who became Yemeni terrorists? The Unabomber first killed in 1985. Attacks came in the form of bioterrorism unleashed in Oregon by a cult, powdered anthrax in envelopes and explosions at the U.S. Senate building in 1983 and another a year before outside of FBI headquarters. And there was the University of Chapel Hill student who tried to kill people with his SUV, a shooting at a Los Angeles airport, the Shoe Bomber, D.C. snipers and a grenade killing of U.S. soldiers by a fellow soldier during the Bush years that have been ignored by those who are politicizing Fort Hood and the Underpants Bomber.

The list is bipartisan, in that every presidential administration -- Democratic and Republican -- has watched U.S. citizens either being threatened and/or dying at the hands of terrorists.

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