Monday, April 13, 2009

The Pirate Incident: Does Obama Deserve the Credit?

It seems there is a controversy over whether Obama is the hero or the zero of the U.S. Navy's rescue of Captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates. The left is crowing that Obama has shown he's tough and has won his first military victory. They are also howling about how we "wingnuts" are trying to deny Obama the credit.

Yes, I do deny Obama the credit. He wasn't on the scene; he didn't give the order to fire; he didn't fire one of the weapons. "Oh, but he gave the order to fire, as the Commander In Chief!" No he didn't. All Obama did was to stay out of the way and allow the Navy to rely on standard Rules of Engagement, wherein they are preauthorized to kill terrorists who pose an imminent threat to the life of a captive.

If merely being the current occupant of the White House means Obama gets the credit, then he gets the credit, but I see it more of an administrative procedure than anything real. The success of the operation does not prove Obama's personal judgment, bravery, wisdom or decisiveness. If anything, he was indecisive as hell. The smartest thing he could have done, and finally did, was to allow the professionals to use their judgment at the scene. So for that, I can truly say, "well done, Obama. You didn't screw it up."

Obama should be judged for his military leadership based on the complete picture of what he is doing to promote U.S. security. And what is that? The answer is, not much. He is making deep cut in weapons systems and ending research into new weapon systems at a time when despotic regimes like China, Iran and North Korea are building up militarily. He is going around apologizing to world potentates for what an "arrogant" country he leads.

I'm perfectly willing to give Obama credit if he does something really good, something beyond minimal expectations, like the pirate episode. But we haven't see that yet. Frankly, given the nature of Obama's personal anti-military politics and philosophy, I don't expect to. I do hope I'm wrong.

via: Memeorandum
via: Crooks and Liars

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