Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Irrational exuberance

Around 9 Sunday night, I started to notice tweets that the White House was going to make an announcement at 9:30 p.m. Which made me wonder what in the world was so important that the White House couldn't have waited until Monday morning.

President Obama took so long to make the announcement that after watching nearly an hour of head-scratching on CBS and NBC, I went upstairs to send this tweet, and of course missed the speech. By then, the speech was somewhat superfluous, but the pre-speech pause gave Fox's Geraldo Rivera a chance to emote and various NBC talking heads the chance to claim that this is a great triumph for Obama.

Obama deserves credit because, rhetoric aside, how the Obama administration has handled the war on terror has been indistinguishable from how the George W. Bush administration handled the war on terror, right down to Guantanamo, secret CIA prisons, and "enhanced interrogation techniques" including, for all we know, waterboarding. It is interesting to see liberals who were squeamish about how the war on terror has been conducted, suddenly become fans of the war on terror's positive results. One of the funniest tweets from last night was an observation that Richard Nixon would have approved of going into a foreign country without its government's permission or knowledge to eliminate combatants.

My less-than-overwhelmed reaction has nothing to do with such squeamishness. (Nor does it have to do with any concern, as noted by a UW–Green Bay professor on WFRV-TV last night, over how celebrating bin Laden's death might be viewed on the "Arab street." Read Proverbs 11:10.) My opposition to the death penalty applies only to Americans. Gen. George Patton was fond of saying that the point of war was not to die for your country, but to make the enemy die for his country. (That would be the family-friendly paraphrase.) The question about waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation techniques" is not whether they are too mean to enemies of our country, but whether they result in credible information. Apparently we have an answer after Sunday.

The people who deserve their celebration are the men and women of our armed forces, particularly those who planned and executed the mission that executed bin Laden and as a bonus acquired a great deal of additional IT-based information with the lone casualty of one of the team's helicopters. Those related to the victims of 9/11 deserve their satisfaction as well, even if one death doesn't bring back those who died on 9/11.

Osama bin Laden may be to the war on terror what Adolf Hitler was to World War II (although a more apt comparison is Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, architect of the Pearl Harbor attack, who was shot down in a covert operation less than two years later), but the comparison ends there, because the war on terror is most certainly not over. Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, described it early on as a long, shadowy campaign in which the victories would not be visible.

And that well describes the war on terror, in part because, due to lack of political courage or political considerations, it has never been called what it actually is -- a war by radical Islam against the rest of the world, including Muslims who don't seek the subjugation of the rest of the world. Terrorism is not unique to radical Islam, of course, but any "religion" that treats women as cattle does not deserve to exist. Liberals might notice how quickly the Obama administration became fans of the Patriot Act, opposed by liberals since its enactment during the (fill in your favorite pejorative) Bush administration. Others should notice how onerous airport security has become without actually making us safer.

I hate to use the phrase from the headline to describe the immediate reaction to bin Laden's long-overdue descent into Na'ar, Islam's Hell. Then again, what other phrase could describe the waste of electricity known as ABC-TV's "The View," whose apparent position is that the 2012 presidential election should be canceled? (I have a better idea for cancellation.)

Obama fans apparently need a history lesson:
1945: British voters reward Winston Churchill for his leadership during World War II by booting his Conservative Party, and thus Churchill, out of control of the British Parliament.
1973: The U.S. ends the Vietnam War. Less than 18 months later, Richard Nixon resigns the presidency a step ahead of an impeachment trial.
1977: Jimmy Carter engineers the Israel–Egypt peace treaty. Three years later, voters fire Carter.
1991: Operation Desert Storm ends successfully with Iraq's being forced to exit Kuwait. Less than two years later, President George H.W. Bush exits the White House.

The 2012 election will be decided by whatever voters think is happening with the economy, and, barring something bigger than what happened Sunday, nothing else. That was my opinion before Sunday night, and that is my opinion today.

Irrational exuberance is not limited only to Obama supporters. K.T. McFarland wrote at FoxNews.com:

If the Pakistani leadership in government, the military, the intelligence services decide that Al Qaeda is the weak horse, they could stop hedging their bets, stop playing their double game, and come out in support of the United States. They might clean out the Taliban safe havens in the tribal areas. If the Afghan government concludes the same, they might be willing to do what’s necessary to rally the country around their leadership, and take over more and more of the fight against the Taliban.

The war in Afghanistan is a three legged stool. One leg is the military operation on the ground in Afghanistan. The Petraeus plan has a chance of success. But the other two legs are the long term viability of the Afghan government in Kabul, and the willingness and ability of the Pakistani government to go after the Taliban safe havens in the tribal areas. Those two legs always seemed wobbly, and no stool can stand on only one leg. The death of Usama Bin Laden, so dramatically and successfully and skillfully accomplished at the hands of just 40 American SEALs, could stiffen those two wobbly legs. Then Afghanistan, like Iraq, might be a qualified success.

And, if the United States leaves Iraq this year, and starts drawing down from Afghanistan and in both cases leaves behind countries able to provide their own security, then the curse will really be lifted. And the decade of darkness will be over, and it will be morning again in America.

Those paragraphs have a lot of "ifs" -- too many ifs for that rosy scenario to take place. And none of that solves unemployment rates that have been higher in every month of the Obama administration than at any point in the George W. Bush, Clinton and George H.W. Bush administrations, plus $4-a-gallon gas (which we may remember fondly when the calendar, as opposed to the weather, indicates summer), the weak and weakening dollar, budget deficits that will never be eliminated, federal debt that will never be paid off, etc., etc., etc. And all of that is on Obama's doorstep and no one else's, whether bin Laden was sleeping with the fishes or not, because all of the aforementioned that existed when Obama got the keys to the White House has gotten worse.

1 comment:

  1. Very well said. I tuned in MSNBC's Ed of EdTV last night to see what illuminating thoughts he had and was treated to the same garbage, Obama is unbeatable in 2012. It must be great to be a liberial. You can dump everything you claim to believe in a nano second when you think it can be spun into a positive for your side and never have to look yourself in the mirror and ask "what did I just say". Just about everything they detest went into this great victory and they are trying to claim it exclusively for Obama. Obama deserves credit for giving the final order but for a man that would not wear a American flag pin nor hold his right hand over his heart and face the flag during the election I'm not completely sure he is happy for the same reasons most of us are celebrating. As far as 2012 being in the bag remember 'It's the economy stupid". I wonder how many members of the SEAL team voted for Obama last election?
    P.S. That video ROCKS I'm adding it to my iPod.