For instance, what you call dithering over his Afghanistan policy, I see as careful weighing of the evidence and the advice of his military and civilian advisers, a responsible and diligent examination of data before reaching a very difficult decision in a case with no good options.
Shouldn’t he have been doing that the two years or so he chaired the Senate Subcommittee on Afghanistan? Shouldn’t he have done that before he campaigned on Afghanistan being a war of necessity? Shouldn’t he have that after the election when he approved new COIN procedures and continued calling it a war of necessity?
Because he had at least three years to come up with something that wouldn’t make him look indecisive and weak. Telling the enemy who is at war with us that we will leave after a certain deadline and they will be free to butcher our current allies at their leisure is not an intelligent thing to do. Can you see FDR going on the radio and telling the world that if Japan did not surrender by the end of the year, our forces would leave the Pacific region and that would be it? What would that have told the Japanese, or the Germans?
So, yeah, Obama looks smart to me. His history shows plenty of evidence of intelligence, competence, and ability, as an academic, an organizer, a writer, and a politician.
Anything specifically? His school grades are locked away from the public, he didn’t publish any articles while editor of Harvard Review, he voted “present” as often as possible and continues to do so. He didn’t take a lead in drafting the health care bill, and in fact campaigned specifically against things like the mandate when Hillary suggested it. Pisses off her supporters, pisses off people who want the public option and people who don’t want government takeover of health care aren’t impressed by any of this, and Obama leaves it all up to Reid and Pelosi to “deem” a bill passed.
That’s not leadership, that’s amateur hour. What are you pointing to that he’s organized for evidence of ability? As a writer, has he contributed anything to human language and thought more spiritually enlightening than David Lee Roth’s “Crazy From The Heat”? You can say that he is displaying intelligence, competence and ability, but without demonstrating evidence of it, you might as well be describing his new clothes, which cannot be seen by people who are stupid or unfit for their jobs.
Evidence that he’s not displaying intelligence, competence or ability? Ok, a few days after some guy on an airplane set off a bomb, Obama goes on television and calls Abdulmutallab an “isolated extremist” which we found out soon after was completely untrue. To anybody who thinks in terms of security, that plane exploded on Christmas exactly as it was intended to. Everybody on that plane is dead because Abdulmutallab got a bomb on board and detonated it, just as everybody in Times Square is now dead because Faisal Shazad got away with his car bomb, just as everybody at Fort Hood is dead because Major Hassan had more than just a gun on him. Just as, in terms of security, Molly Norris is dead, because if they get their hands on her, she will be.
Peter, people like you, thoughtful and [one assumes] well-intended supporters of the President aren’t even remotely calling him to account for this. Treating this kind of Muslim terrorism like an everyday occurrence is bad enough for the security of the American people. Pretending it’s not directly contradicting the stated liberal positions on the war – Gitmo, wiretaps, rendition, signging statements, Predator drones into countries that didn’t attack us on 9/11 – is ludicrous. You’re not only not demanding any accountability from the guy you voted to be most powerful man on the planet, but you don’t even seem interested in knowing that other people have different viewpoints.
He went on television and called Abdulmutallab an “isolated extremist”. He’s never had to retract that, and the left gives him a complete and utter lack pass on things like this. Did he already know Abdulmutallab’s connections to Al-Awlaki? So either he lied when he went on tv and called Abdulmutallab an “isolated extremist” or he was genuinely out of the loop on this, in which case what was the point of him going on television and saying something in the first place? If the bomb had gone off, killing everybody aboard, what would he have done differently?
When facing the threat of radical Islamic terrorists, he has (mostly) struck the proper balance of toughness against real adversaries while refusing to demonize an entire religion or cultural group.
So what standards do you think he’s using to distinguish between “demonizing” and “accurate assessment”? You’d agree that, to fight this enemy, accurate assessment is important, right?
So if the evidence points to millions of people actively waging war upon the United States and our allies, with intent to kill as many people and destroy as much as required until we submit to their rule, what then? They have highly-skilled operators in the field who are backed by a large and well-supported logistics element, and entire nations rooting for their success. The operators and their support do not wear uniforms and observe a chain-of-command or submit to any of our laws, domestic or international. They will sacrifice their own civilians to kill us, they will sacrifice their own children to kill us. Even Hugo Chavez is getting down with the shariat system of banking and Jew-hatred.
What is this toughness you speak of? Again, point to something that from the enemy’s point of view is not a complete propaganda victory from a President whose father was a Muslim? The guy in charge of the National Muslim Feel-Good Association came out and said Obama had told him to start focusing on Aeronautics and Space.
While you’re taking into account the views of people who actually take things like security and national defense seriously on a daily basis, take into account the views of people who believe in an omnipotent God, without whose will not one hair falls from a man’s head.
George W. Bush had to take this war seriously right from the start. The people who voted for his successor are still refusing to take it seriously, as you demonstrate below, and that means Obama won’t take it seriously either.
Our eventual success in defeating terrorism will be dependent upon establishing common bonds of friendship with the mainstream Muslim world, as difficult as that project may be. There has to be a military and law-enforcement element to the strategy too, no denying that, but that part alone won't solve the problem in the long run.
There is no “mainstream Muslim world”. The “mainstream Muslim world” that you would like to see genuinely has no problem whatsoever with Arab Muslims slaughtering Black Muslims in the Darfur region as they’ve been doing for a decade, just as the “mainstream Muslim world” had no problem with them slaughtering the Black Christians before them.
The “mainstream” Shi’ites will have as little to do with Sunnis as possible, and neither of them want anything to do with Kurds, Persians, or Africans. The “mainstream” is fine with female genital mutilation and criminalizing possession of a Bible. And to every single one in the “mainstream”, you are the infidel. God permits you to be an infidel only so that you will eventually learn the truth and submit. To a proper Muslim, that is a fact like the Earth going around the sun.