The United States has had good presidents and bad, but it has never had a leader who came to a debate on national security with so much insecurity. It was a small petty man who sat on the other side of the screen, alternately smirking and scowling, grinding his teeth and launching attack after attack instead of finally taking the opportunity to set the record straight with the American people.
Barack Obama came to the debate with a roster of prepared speeches, few of them about foreign affairs and most of them about the economy. Even while his Secretary of Defense has given an unprecedented order to top military officials to stonewall the congressional investigation into Benghazigate, even as it has become known that his administration watched four Americans be murdered in real time and did not lift a finger to save their lives, talking points prepared by highly paid speechwriters fell out of his mouth assuring the American people that everything was going well. There was nothing wrong except for a few non-optimal bumps in the road made up of dead Americans.
Anyone listening to Obama would have to conclude, like Voltaire’s Pangloss, that we truly live in the best of all possible worlds. During the Bush administration, liberal pols like Obama liked to claim that they were part of the reality-based community. But as Calvin of “Calvin and Hobbes” said, “I’m not in denial. I’m just very selective about the reality I accept.” Obama would appear to have joined Calvin’s selective reality community.
Instead of discussing foreign affairs and national security, the Contender-in-Chief did his best to divert the debate with a talking point that he called “Nation Building at Home.” “Nation Building” is usually a term reserved for the reconstruction of backward or broken nations. That Obama insisted on applying it to the United States was telling, but even more telling was that his big idea for the debate was not only a distraction but a call to repeat the same disastrous stimulus and shovel-ready project boondoggles that had dug the country 16 trillion dollars into debt.
Obama’s idea of a foreign policy agenda is to borrow trillions of dollars from China to invest in green energy and teachers unions while calling it nation building. Left unasked was the question of what nation would we be building—America or China?
In a truly bizarre moment, he insisted that the Navy no longer needed battleships because they had become as outdated as horses. The aircraft carrier and the submarine, according to Obama, had made the Navy destroyer as outdated as the bayonet and the warhorse.
While many Navy veterans might have punched a wall after listening to that idiocy, they can count themselves fortunate that Obama is in charge of America in 2012 and not in 1942 during the Battle of Midway. But no doubt Obama has a plan for lifting an Iranian blockade of the Strait of Hormuz and continuing his program of countering China in the Pacific at the same time… without relying on anything but aircraft carriers and submarines.
And what of the 20,000 Marines that Obama is firing after promising to keep faith with our troops? Perhaps they too are only horses and bayonets to be replaced by more advanced technology, like killer robots.
Obama claimed to have cut unemployment for veterans even while he plans to fire 50,000 soldiers, 10,000 airmen and 20,000 Marines. And then cut their Tricare health care benefits so that those men and women, who bore the brunt of Obama’s bungled Afghanistan surge, laying down 1,500 lives and 15,000 wounded, will now have to pay more for their health care while waiting on the unemployment line.
As he does in every speech and at every campaign event, Obama patted himself on the back for ending the Iraq War on Bush’s timetable, without conceding that it was Bush’s timetable, while accusing Romney of wanting to keep troops in Iraq. In reality, Obama’s own Vice President and Secretary of Defense had tried to negotiate an agreement to keep troops in Iraq. Obama lied about it then and has continued the proud tradition of lying about it now.
Once again Obama repeated his claim that the move to Afghanistan was an attempt to refocus the fight against Al Qaeda. But Al Qaeda continues to carry out far more terrorist attacks in Iraq, than in Afghanistan.
This week Al Qaeda bombmakers in Iraq supplied the explosives for a plot that would have killed thousands in neighboring Jordan, targeting shopping malls and the US embassy, demonstrating that Al Qaeda in Iraq remains a far more dangerous and destabilizing presence than in Afghanistan.
Obama showed his cluelessness again by boasting of having wrecked Iran’s economy while assuring the audience that this would make the Islamic Republic give up its nuclear program. North Korea’s economy is even more wrecked than Iran and its nuclear program remains on track. Given a choice between guns and butter, fanatical dictatorships will choose guns. Or as Nazi leader Hermann Goring said, “Guns will make us powerful; butter will only make us fat.”
“One thing Americans should be proud of,” Obama said, chin held high, “when Tunisians began to protest, this nation, I, stood on the side of the protesters.” And as a result of Obama’s stand, Tunisia, a formerly free nation has been taken over by genocidal Islamists, Sufis are being persecuted, tourists assaulted and rape victims put on trial. Perhaps that is something that Obama could be proud of, but few Americans would be.
“In Egypt, we stood on the side of democracy,” Obama continued, and that is true. The outcome of that stand on the side of democracy has been another genocidal Islamist takeover, an attack on the US Embassy in Cairo, the end of the Camp David Accords, the ethnic cleansing of Egyptian Christians and an Islamist president from a movement inspired by Nazi Germany chanting amen to a call to kill the Jews.
“The Libyans stand with us,” Obama assured Americans. And there can be no clearer sign of that than the refusal of the Libyan government to allow the US to fly armed drones or even properly investigate the attack. Obama mentioned the populist mob that attacked the Islamist militias in Benghazi. What he left out is that the mob only acted because the Libyan government insisted on shielding and protecting the militias.
From Iraq to Libya, from Afghanistan to Egypt, and back home where the nation building program never stops and the beneficiaries are his own bundlers and donors, Obama could not point to a single success. Even in Obama’s state of selective reality, there was nothing there. Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya are all violently unstable danger zones and will remain so for the foreseeable future. And the homefront is divided between those who are looking for work, those who have given up looking for work and those who expect to have to begin looking for work at any time.
As the evening wore on, Obama talked, he jabbed, he pointed, sneered and recited prepared speeches. What the world saw and what we saw was an insecure man once again trading the security of his country for another few minutes in the spotlight.
When he began the Libyan War, Obama stuck it out in Rio. When the Benghazi consulate was attacked, he chose Vegas over national security. Now given one last chance to tell the American people the truth, he took yet another vacation in the state of his own insecurity, over doing what is best for this country.
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