Lacking much of substance to attack Obama on, opponents have been desperate to grab at anything. Several conservative sites have latched onto this criticism of Obama’s response to yesterday’s tragic shooting at Fort Hood. The article complains about not seeing “a somber chief executive offering reassuring words and expressions of sympathy and compassion.”
One conservative blog even writes, after a ridiculous claim that Obama hates the military and sides with a Jihadist: “That he would call yesterday’s horrific act of violence an ‘outburst of violence’ validates that he deserves no respect. It is times like this that I REALLY miss President Bush.”
Beyond the absurdity of the earlier charges and objection to Obama’s objection to an “outburst of violence,” it is rather inane to use this to bring back the memory of George Bush. As most will recall, upon being informed of the the worst terrorist attack on this country, George Bush continued to read a about a pet goat. He was then virtually absent for a couple of days after a tragedy far more serious than the one yesterday.
Following is Barack Obama’s actual response to the shooting:
This morning, when the President gave his opening remarks at the Tribal Nations Conference, the day looked very different. By 5:02 EST when he was scheduled to give closing remarks, it was clear that all Americans were rightly concerned with the tragedy in Texas, and the President took his time to give his thoughts and prayers:
Now, I have to say, though, that beyond that, I plan to make some broader remarks about the challenges that lay ahead for Native Americans, as well as collaboration with our administration, but as some of you might have heard, there has been a tragic shooting at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas. We don’t yet know all the details at this moment; we will share them as we get them. What we do know is that a number of American soldiers have been killed, and even more have been wounded in a horrific outburst of violence.
My immediate thoughts and prayers are with the wounded and with the families of the fallen, and with those who live and serve at Fort Hood. These are men and women who have made the selfless and courageous decision to risk and at times give their lives to protect the rest of us on a daily basis. It’s difficult enough when we lose these brave Americans in battles overseas. It is horrifying that they should come under fire at an Army base on American soil.
I’ve spoken to Secretary Gates and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, and I will continue to receive a constant stream of updates as new information comes in. We are working with the Pentagon, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security, all to ensure that Fort Hood is secure, and we will continue to support the community with the full resources of the federal government.
In the meantime, I would ask all Americans to keep the men and women of Fort Hood in your thoughts and prayers. We will make sure that we get answers to every single question about this horrible incident. And I want all of you to know that as Commander-in-Chief, there’s no greater honor but also no greater responsibility for me than to make sure that the extraordinary men and women in uniform are properly cared for and that their safety and security when they are at home is provided for.
So we are going to stay on this. But I hope in the meantime that all of you recognize the scope of this tragedy, and keep everybody in their thoughts and prayers.
It sure sounds like Obama changed his planned statements to provide “reassuring words and expressions of sympathy and compassion” in response to the immediate situation. That is far more than what George Bush did after 9/11.
Update: Some conservatives are sure searching for a way to turn yesterday’s shooting at Fort Hood into yet another way to attack Barack Obama, failing to realize how disrespectful to the troops their sick attempts to play politics with this really are. Now even one of the Swift Boat Liars has gotten into the act. There’s yet another bizarre charge raised against Obama related to the shootings here.
Update II: Steve M. has more on the absurd attack from the right on Obama for calling the attack an “‘outburst of violence” while praising George Bush:
This recent outburst of violence was instigated by Hamas — a Palestinian terrorist group supported by Iran and Syria that calls for Israel’s destruction.
These people will grasp at any straw, won’t they?
Hey, at least they aren’t still blaming Bill Clinton for everything.
Update III: Some conservatives have linked here with attacks claiming I brought up a comparison to George Bush. If they had the ability to actually comprehend this post they would see that the post was written in response to argument from the right that George Bush handled such situations better. Bush’s inability to respond meaningfully to 9/11 during the first forty-eight hours after 9/11 was far more significant. Obama’s response is nothing like Bush’s flippant comment to “now watch this drive” immediately after discussing terrorist killings:
This was a breaking news event on a day when Obama had a scheduled event. It made perfect sense for his staff to work to get the information on the shootings and write a statement to make at the conclusion of his scheduled appearance. Obama’s statement on the shootings should be judged by what he said about the shootings–not what he said in an unrelated scheduled event.
Obama did not make “shout-outs” during his actual statement on the shootings. Considering the nature of the breaking news there was nothing wrong adding a statement on at the time of his current engagement. If Reagan or Bush had done this conservatives would have said nothing.
Even if one really felt that it would have been significantly better if he had canceled his planned appearance at the last minute to make a statement solely on the shootings this is hardly a major point. Only those who already hate him, and his attempts to preserve our American values from the onslaught from the right wing, would use this as an excuse to show the degree of disrespect for the dead soldiers that we are now seeing from the right wing. This hardly justifies the claims from the right I cited that Obama hates the troops or sides with a Jihadist. This is purely a case of hating Obama and then working backwards from that point to make an attack which makes absolutely no sense to anyone outside of the right wing’s echo chamber.
Update IV: Video and transcript of Barack Obama’s statement at the Fort Hood memorial on November 10 are posted here.