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article imageRep. Pete King: Using word ‘terrorism’ more would make us safer

By Oliver VanDervoort     Jan 7, 2010 in Politics
The ranking Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee believes one thing President Obama could do to fix the holes in the US's air security system is to say the word "terrorism" more.
United State congressman Peter King (R-NY) made those comments to Good Morning America's George Stephanopoulos while they were discussing specific ways in which the Obama administration could improve air traffic security measures.
"Name one other specific recommendation that the president could implement right now to fix this." Stephanopoulos asked King.
"I think one main thing would be to -- just himself -- to use the word terrorism more often," King responded.
"When a suspected terrorist is able to board a plane with explosives on Christmas Day, the system has failed in a potentially disastrous way," President Obama had announced after meetings with his security team. "The bottom line is this: The US government had sufficient information to have uncovered this plot and potentially disrupt the Christmas Day attack. But our intelligence community failed to connect those dots."
King's comment seems to fall in lock step with the direction the Republicans' attacks have taken since the Christmas Day plot. Vice President Dick Cheney announced that Obama has been ignoring the war on terror, and the GOP has also criticized the amount of time it took the President to comment after the fact.
However, King might have put to fine a point on the kinds of attacks the right has launched. Politico's Ben Smith thinks that Representative King's comments illustrate that the Republicans are more worried about words, rather than actual action.
"King's first instinct highlights an underlying fact about Obama's counter-terrorism policy... It's defined by substantive continuity with the later Bush years — including the move to close Guantanamo — and the most dramatic change has been the deliberate decision to lower the rhetorical temperature. And critics sometimes seem to want a rhetorical shift as much as a practical one."
Blue Texan, at the blog FireDogLake offered a more pointed criticism of the exchange.
"Don’t suppose it’s worth pointing out to these morons that the whole point of terrorism is to whip up fear, so having the president go on national teevee and say “terra terra terra” every day is giving al Qaeda exactly what it wants."
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