Monday, May 23, 2011

L'audace, L'audace, Toujours L'audace (Audacity, Audacity, and more Audacity)

On May 1, 2011, President Obama got off a one-in-a-million shot and dropped the world's most wanted man. It was not a fluke; it was not luck. It was indicative of a president who has his mojo working.

We were forewarned when, during a conversation at the White House, Obama delivered a Miyagi-like strike against a fly that buzzed his interview. Followed, that surgical tri-secting of those Somali pirates off the Horn of Africa. It, too, was a flawless, unprecedented "whacking" of people who had become the scourge of Mideast shipping. And, now , the strike on bin Laden - bold, gutsy, disciplined. Obama's got it but they want to make him share.

GOP strategist, Mary Matalin, sees it this way: "Obama used Bush policies to get Osama." (Considering Bush had eight years - working with his won policies - and still could not get bin Laden, does not say much for Bush nor his policies.) Some would even diminish this moment by playing the torture card, hoping that might make a bitter pill (Obama's ostensible brilliance) easier to swallow. Their claim: Obama used information elicited from Khalid Sheik Mohammed to get Osama. (That event - the waterboarding of KSM - occurred in 2003. Bush had seven years to disseminate the ill-gotten booty, and it still was not enough time for him to translate it into a win.)

The BBC summed it up best, stating: "Obama succeeded in doing in two years what Clinton and Bush failed to do in ten."

First the fly, then the pirates, and now Osama bin Laden. That, folks, is a hat trick - one unmatched in the annal of presidential audacity.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Mr. Obama Meets the Keystone Kops

Remember the Hatfields and the McCoys - America's famous feuding families? When you try to figure out America's bombing of Libya, if might help to look at it in this context: We have decided to back the McCoys because we know less about them than we do the Hatfields.

The Libyans are a tribal people. The tribes in the west support Khadaffi; those in the east do not, (and they never have.) The U.S. says Operation Odyssey Dawn is designed to protect civilians in western Libya from rebel forces in the west. (Then who will protect civilians in wester Libya from rebel forces in the east?) By the way, the U.S. is thinking about arming the rebels.

Arm? Have you seen the rebels with guns? They are like children with new toys. (One rebel actually carried a toy gun to the battle front!) You want to arm him?

NBC news correspondent, Richard Engel, reporting from rebel-held Benghazi, said this of the rebels: "They fired a missile backwards! Instead of firing it at Khadaffi forces, the rockey took off in the wrong direction, toward civilians in Benghazi." (What has Hillary gotten Obama into?). Engel went on to say: "Another group fired a mortar that was not properly anchored. It tipped over while discharging."

Obama's Libyan adventure appears ill-conceived. And trying to frame it as a humanitarian effort is woefully disingenuous. Rather than protecting Libyan civilians, the U.S. appears to be using Libyan civilians as a shield, behind which we carry out a vendetta against Khadaffi.

This war is not about Libyan civilians. If it were, the U.S. would not be talking about putting dangerous weapons into the hands of incompetent men who are likely to kill civilians on both sides of the line, and perhaps even kill themselves. The president is irresponsible to even think about it.

And why won't he speak in plain English? President Obama has sent 200 cruise missiles into Libyan territory and flown a thousand sorties, wreaking enormous damage. Yet, he will not call this a war. Rather, he calls it a "No-fly zone-plus" and a "kinetic military action." (When no one is looking, he calls it a "turd sandwich.")

Comedian John Stewart quipped, "Mr. President, don't you mean a 'bread-based feces containment operation'?"

You deserved that one, Mr. Obama, for the ridiculous way you use fancy words when "war" will do.

Sarah Palin makes more sense when she asks, "Is this a long-term squirmish?" Yes, she said that. And coming from "the Palm Writer," I don't mind. At least I know what she is trying to say. If only we could figure out what Mr. Obama is trying to do.