In an excellent essay, Debra Burlingame details how Barack cynically, blatantly misled the families of the men killed in the attack on the USS Cole; got his desired media stories about being an empathetic President; then moved on to ... um ... metaphorically scatalogically violate the USS Cole Families with an implement the size of the Washington Monument. Some of her conclusions:
In February I was among a group of USS Cole and 9/11 victims’ families who met with the president at the White House to discuss his policies regarding Guantanamo detainees.
News reports described the meeting as a touching and powerful coming together of the president and these long-suffering families.
We’d been had.
Binyam Mohamed — the al Qaeda operative selected by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) for a catastrophic post-9/11 attack with co-conspirator Jose Padilla — was released 17 days later. In a follow-up conference call, the White House liaison to 9/11 and Cole families refused to answer questions about the circumstances surrounding the decision to repatriate Mohamed, including whether he would be freed in Great Britain.
The phrase “swift and certain justice” had been used by top presidential adviser David Axelrod in an interview prior to our meeting with the president. “Swift and certain justice” figured prominently in the White House press release issued before we had time to surrender our White House security passes. “At best, he manipulated the families,” Kirk Lippold, commanding officer of the USS Cole at the time of the attack and the leader of the Cole families group, told me recently. “At worst, he misrepresented his true intentions.”
Last week, Attorney General Eric Holder told German reporters that 30 detainees had been cleared for release. This includes 17 Chinese fundamentalist Muslims, the Uighurs, some of whom admit to having been trained in al Qaeda and Taliban camps and being associated with the East Turkistan Islamic Party. This party is led by Abdul Haq, who threatened attacks on the 2008 Olympics Games in Beijing and was recently added [April 20, 2009] to the Treasury Department’s terrorist list. The Obama administration is considering releasing the Uighurs on U.S. soil, and it has suggested that taxpayers may have to provide them with welfare support. In a Senate hearing yesterday, Mr. Holder sidestepped lawmakers’ questions about releasing detainees into the U.S. who have received terrorist training.
Given all the developments since our meeting with the president, it is now evident that his words to us bore no relation to his intended actions on national security policy and detainee issues. But the narrative about Mr. Obama’s successful meeting with 9/11 and Cole families has been written, and the press has moved on.
The Obama team has established a pattern that should be plain for all to see. When controversy erupts or legitimate policy differences are presented by well-meaning people, send out the celebrity president to flatter and charm.
I asked Cmdr. Kirk Lippold why some of the Cole families declined the invitation to meet with Barack Obama at the White House.
“They saw it for what it was.”