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Observations from the Cheap Seats

  • Reflecting on Libya today, President Obama labeled government aggression towards its citizenry as ‘outrageous’ and ‘intolerable.’  Ok . . . if Gaddafi’s actions are ‘outrageous’ and ‘intolerable’ – and they are – why does it take the American president four or five days to condemn the activity?  I mean, c’mon, labeling Hitler’s actions despicable and deplorable years after Nazi atrocities wasn’t exactly pushing the envelope, was it?  Courage isn’t found in the words of the last to condemn, it’s found in the heart of those that are the first to condemn.  Yes, Mr. President, Gaddafi’s actions are ‘outrageous’ and ‘intolerable’ – that’s what you should have declared after the first Libyan mother was killed or the first Libyan patriot gave his life for democracy . . . not after hundreds were killed, Mr. President.  Too little – way too little – and far too late.
  • Nothing depicts America’s decline as a leading force for democracy and liberty under President Obama’s leadership than being beaten to the punch by Peru who publicly admonished Libyan leader Gaddafi and suspended all diplomatic ties with its government while America stood silent.  Pathetic, Mr. President.  Really.
  • President Obama has declared that American policy in Libya has been dictated by a need to get Americans out of Tripoli, without threat of harm.  Sounds reasonable . . . until one considers that Gaddafi has been threatening Americans from day one, calling for Muslim nations to expel the United States from Africa and the Middle East.  How much more tenuous would President Obama have made the situation for Americans in Libya, by conveying this message from Day ONE: “The United States government stands firmly behind those in Libya that are fighting for a voice of strength and reason amidst a tyranny and that are looking to enjoy the same inalienable rights of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness which God has bestowed on all freedom loving peoples.  And, we stand behind those Americans who for personal and professional reasons have for decades called Libya their home.  We urge their safe passage out of the country and tell those that might wish to bring them harm that America will not tolerate harm to Americans abroad.  We will protect them in Libya as vigorously as we would protect them in any American city.  Colonel Gaddafi should make no mistake about American resolve on these critical points?”  How hard would it have been for an American president to make this statement?  Apparently pretty hard for THIS American president and that, as much as for any other reason, is why THIS American president will not be re-elected.
  • President Obama recites that a series of ‘core principles’ have guided American response over the last few months turmoil in the Middle East.  Really?  And, what ‘core principles’ are those, Mr. President?  To stand mute.  Is that the ‘core principle?’  Embarrassing, really.
  • Four bullet points later, I hope that I’ve made the point – America is rudderless right now.  We have a president who is so ‘handled’ by those around him that any natural tendency that he might have toward leadership is tucked away like that old scarf in the hall closet.  And, yet those that are ‘handling’ this president are truly ‘not ready for prime time players.’  The foreign policy and national intelligence team which is guiding White House reaction right now consistently demonstrates a lack of understanding for the nature and gravity of the turmoil in the Middle East and an inability through proactive policy to pave the way for sustained democratic movements in a region of the world in which dangerous Muslim theocracies are just as probable.  Apparently in the White House they have forgotten that you reap what you sow . . . and when you don’t nurture a beautiful flower with water, it’s more than likely a weed will grow in that fertile soil.

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