Friday, September 06, 2013

What a mess, Mr. President

President Obama made two mistakes, & I thought they were mistakes when he made them. The first was making a big issue with Putin  over  Russia giving asylum to Edward Snowden. While Americans had very mixed feelings about what Snowden did & how he did it, from hero to traitor,  most Americans believe we needed to know what he exposed about the N.S.A. The President's obsession with bringing Snowden to "justice" did not acknowledge  the big problem was no longer Snowden; it was the Obama administration response to the N.S.A. revelations.   Snowden is not the dangerous man; Putin is. Snowden seems to be a jerk, & hardly makes me feel good about  privatizing  our national security. Bad enough you can't enlist in the Army to learn to be a cook anymore. We're hypocrites in Jersey; we despise rats even when we agree with what they do. It's just the way we are.

The second mistake was "drawing the line" for Assad.  I happen to agree with John Kerry that the President should not take diplomatic or military "options" "off the table." Not in public, in speeches.   We have a nuclear strike arsenal, for cripessake, & the activation codes are never more than a few steps from the President. I also think use of chemical weapons is "different." But the President should not have put himself in the situation of having no options at all. To use another cliche, he did not "get all his ducks in a row" before mouthing off to Assad. Then he dumps the serious matter on Congress - I don't basically object to that, but this congress is really  screwed up - but hasn't said he would abide by its decision if it went against him.  When the Brits - our only truly trustworthy allies in the world - wouldn't support us, that should have given him & everyone pause.

So now at a time when he ought to be seeking international unity for some form of action in Syria, with a number of "options" "on the table," & guiding the transition to a new healthcare program, he's isolated himself at the G-20 conference.  What a mess.

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