I listened to the inauguration today via radio. The swearing-in and President Obama's speech began as I left Searchlight. It concluded about the time I arrived in Boulder City. It sounded like the historic event everyone thought it would be. And I must say it was kind of nice listening to the peaceful transition of power as I drove through the purple mountain majesty of the wide open spaces of Southern Nevada.
I am looking forward to reading the speech more carefully. The one line that struck my ear was President Obama's acknowledgement that America is at war with Islamic extremists. He didn't use the words "Islamic extremists" but he did say we are at war. And that's what is important.
President George W. Bush elevated the 9/11 attack from an act of terrorism to an act of war. In my opinion, that has been the difference maker in keeping the Islamic extremists from mounting another attack on American soil. Bush took the war to them in Afghanistan and Iraq. Obama tells us that he's going to get out of Iraq as soon as possible. But we've pretty much won that war, despite guys like Sen. Harry Reid who said our soldiers were defeated and we ought to retreat. Thankfully, Bush didn't do it and Reid was proved dead wrong.
The important thing today is that Obama separated himself from too many hand-wringing Democrats like Harry who seem to despise calling post-9-11 "a war." They see it as a tussle of ideas that started with America bullying itself around the globe and all the Osama bin Laden's of the world are doing is pushing back.
So, it was music to my ears when Obama said plainly and without qualification that "we are at war". That acknowledgement, if it is followed with "we are at war" deeds, might keep Americans on American soil safe and bring peace sooner.