Apply Lesson of Abbottabad to U.S. Border
In a White House briefing held by conference call shortly after midnight on Monday morning, a group of unnamed "senior administration officials" described the raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that resulted in the death Osama bin Laden.
"It was a model of really seamless collaboration across our government," one official said, according to the White House transcript. "Since 9/11, this is what the American people have expected of us, and today, in this critical operation, we were able to finally deliver."
The best thing Barack Obama has done as president is make a simple command decision entirely within his constitutional authority: Get bin Laden.
Although the details of the intelligence trail that led to Abbottabad and what exactly happened when Navy SEALs landed at bin Laden's compound there remain sketchy, it is obvious this raid was a sterling example of the U.S. government doing something right.
The president made a sound decision in the interest of the nation's security and let a group of dedicated professionals work out the means to brilliantly execute that decision.
And unlike his intervention in Libya, Obama's intervention in Pakistan was authorized by Congress.
On Sept. 14, 2001, three days after al-Qaida attacked the Pentagon in Virginia and the World Trade Center in New York, the House and Senate passed Public Law 107-40.
Barely a page long, it said: "That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons."
The raid in Abbottabad was exactly the sort of "necessary and appropriate force" this law envisioned.
Congress' enactment of Public Law 107-40 in the wake of 9/11 and the subsequent war against al-Qaida and its supporters that Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama have waged is precisely the sort of process the Framers envisioned when they ratified a Constitution that says: The "President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States" and the "Congress shall have power ... To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water."
In getting bin Laden, Congress and the president carried out a core duty laid on them by the Constitution — to provide for the common defense — through procedures wholly in keeping with the Constitution's prescriptions.
Once the president and Congress unambiguously gave them the job of getting bin Laden, American patriots in the intelligence and military fields carried out the mission with the sort of awe-inspiring perseverance, courage and daring we have seen from American patriots throughout our history.
The as-yet-unnamed heroes of Abbottabad carved their own place in history.
And hopefully they have taught our leaders an important lesson: All the powers — and limits on power — needed to protect the security and prosperity of the United States are already built into our Constitution. They just need to be properly utilized and recognized.
President Obama should now apply the lesson of Abbottabad in securing our border.
The Constitution not only gives Congress the duty to defend the nation, but also the power to "regulate Commerce with foreign nations" and "establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization." It not only gives the president the duty to defend the nation, but also stipulates "he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed." President Obama is not faithfully executing the laws that make it illegal to breach our border and bring contraband into the United States.
President Bush also did not faithfully execute these laws.
As a consequence, hundreds of thousands of unidentified illegal aliens cross into our country each year and massive quantities of illegal — and deadly — narcotics are smuggled into our neighborhoods and communities.
In March, Richard Stana of the Government Accountability Office told the Senate Homeland Security Committee there are 129 miles of the 1,954-mile-long U.S.-Mexico border where the Border Patrol can prevent or stop an illegal entry from taking place at the border itself — and another 744 miles where it can stop an illegal entry only inside our territory at "distances of up to 100 miles or more away from the immediate border."
That leaves 1,081 miles of U.S.-Mexico border open to people who want to illegally enter our country.
The government that tracked bin Laden to a compound in distant Pakistan and took him out with an incredibly talented, trained and brave team of SEALs could surely secure our border, too.
The difference is our political leaders took their constitutional duty to protect our country seriously when it came to finding bin Laden over there. They do not take it seriously when it comes to protecting our borders here.
Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor in chief of CNSnews.com. To find out more about him, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at www.creators.com.
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