Columnist West falsely asserts Obama's terror policy is "simply a matter of cops and robbers"


On CNN, Washington Times columnist Diana West said that "Senator Obama's made it very clear that he believes terrorism is simply a matter of cops and robbers." Host Lou Dobbs did not challenge West's assertion echoing claims by the McCain campaign that Obama has said are "demonstrably false."

On the June 23 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight, Washington Times columnist Diana West said that "Senator [Barack] Obama's made it very clear that he believes terrorism is simply a matter of cops and robbers." West's assertion echoed what Obama has called the McCain campaign's "demonstrably false" characterization of his approach to fighting terrorism. Neither West nor host Lou Dobbs noted that Obama flatly disputes this characterization.

Obama said on June 18: "Senator McCain's campaign has said I want to pursue a law enforcement approach to terrorism. This is demonstrably false, since I have laid out a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy that includes military force, intelligence operations, financial sanctions and diplomatic action." Obama previously detailed his plan for fighting terrorism, including military, diplomatic and international intelligence and law enforcement measures, in an August 2007 speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

From the June 23 edition of CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight:

DOBBS: Joining me now are three of the best political analysts in the country: Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf, New York Daily News columnist Errol Louis, and in our Washington, D.C., bureau, syndicated columnist Diana West.

Let me start -- Hank, your reaction first to Charlie Black and his comment?

SHEINKOPF: Charlie Black probably wishes he had not said this at all. It doesn't do him well. It does not do the campaign well, and it really doesn't hurt Barack Obama. That's the problem here.

DOBBS: You know, Errol, as a journalist, let me ask you: Are you at all offended by the fact that not too much note has been taken today of the fact that the Fortune magazine reporter asked Charlie Black the question, "What would happen with another terrorist attack?" It isn't as if Charlie Black came at this out of whole cloth and created this sentence.

LOUIS: No, that's right. I mean, he was thinking about it, clearly. I think the problem is that, in some ways, it's not just offensive, it's also somewhat incoherent. I mean, clearly the --

DOBBS: The question or the answer?

LOUIS: The answer. I mean, the McCain campaign, it sounds like, it's trying to have it both ways. If the surge is somewhat successful, the president's policy to which McCain is joined at the hip, he'll say this is evidence that my wisdom and experience are proven right. On the other hand, his advisers say, "Well, you know what, if there's an attack and it looks like security is going down the tubes, that'll help you too."

It doesn't make a lot of sense, and it'll be up to the candidate to explain who meant what and what the real policy is.

DOBBS: OK, Diana?

WEST: Well, I think, unfortunately, it does make sense in politics, yes, as Hank said, but the fact is that any reminder of the fact that we are in a war on global jihad is of benefit to the candidate who believes we are in a wartime situation.

Senator Obama's made it very clear that he believes terrorism is simply a matter of cops and robbers. So, I think that what we're looking at is the divide between the so-called September 10th mindset of Senator Obama and the so-called September 11th mindset of John McCain.

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy, Terrorism
Diana West
Lou Dobbs Tonight
Barack Obama, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.