On Monday night, I went before a live television audience and tried to put the Boston terror attack into some perspective. I told the viewers that as an American, I was angry. I said the attack was vile and cowardly, designed to injure innocent people including children. I put forth that the Nazis did that kind of thing.
And finally, I said that President Obama made a mistake by using the word “tragedy” to define the attack.
While the dictionary defines “tragedy” as “a disastrous event, especially one involving distressing loss or injury to life,” the word is not precise enough to define what happened in Boston.
If the bombers are foreigners, the event is an act of war.
If the killers are Americans, it is high treason; in committing an act of terror, you essentially declare war on your own country. There is a difference between detonating bombs that kill and maim innocent people and shooting up a school or movie theater. Both are murderous acts, but only one is politically motivated.
And it is the political factor that takes “tragedy” out of the descriptive equation.
Obama did not do anything wrong in describing the Boston bombings as a tragedy. But he did not use his pulpit to clearly define the issue. Americans need to know that this country is under attack by a variety of forces from within and without. U.S. authorities have performed brilliantly in keeping terror attacks on American soil to a minimum, but too many folks do not understand the danger this country is facing. There are fanatics who would kill each and every one of us if they could. That is not tragic; it is real. And we must deal with it.
Freedom puts all of us at risk. We are living in a time when just about every security measure is controversial – from drones to Internet snooping with a warrant. In New York City, liberals rail against the “stop and frisk” police policy designed to control illegal weapons. Never mind that the policy has saved thousands of lives. The zealots don’t like it, and that’s that. Security be damned.
Hanging in the New York City office of the ACLU was a sign that read: “We reserve the right to check all bags.” But if the cops want to check a suspicious bag on the street or in a subway car, get ready for the usual yelping by the ACLU.
Obama should bring a sense of urgency to terrorism. At times, he doesn’t even like using the word. His style is cool, while the issue is hot. Americans react emotionally when children are blown up on the streets.
Obama’s use of the word “tragedy” is a small thing, and again, he did not do anything wrong. But I want my commander in chief to command. All Americans are under attack. Let’s sound the alarm in very vivid terms.
Bill O’Reilly is host of the Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor” and is an author and columnist.