Thursday, February 23, 2012

It's All That Guy Obama's Fault

Irresponsible remarks by the three leading GOP presidential candidates at last night's debate in Arizona did not stop at the water's edge.

Rick Santorum curiously contended President Obama "did reach out immediately to Syria and established an embassy there."         Only Barack Obama did not establish or re-establish the embassy in Damascus.      Our ambassador to Syria was recalled in 2005 following the assassination, to which the Syrian government may have been connected, of the former Lebanese prime minister in Beirut.      But our embassy was not closed (and hence Obama did not re-open it) but rather, as Wikipedia notes, "A series of charg├ęs d’affaires represented the U.S. until the appointment of Robert Stephen Ford in January 2011."

An aerial strike against Iran might, at some point, be unavoidable.     But Romney, who vigorously asserted Obama "does not want Israel to take action- that he opposes military action," ignores the obstacles Tel Aviv would face.     The New York Times' Elisabeth Bumiller recently wrote

Should Israel decide to launch a strike on Iran, its pilots would have to fly more than 1,000 miles across unfriendly airspace, refuel in the air en route, fight off Iran’s air defenses, attack multiple underground sites simultaneously — and use at least 100 planes.
That is the assessment of American defense officials and military analysts close to the Pentagon, who say that an Israeli attack meant to set back Iran’s nuclear program would be a huge and highly complex operation. They describe it as far different from Israel’s “surgical” strikes on a nuclear reactor in Syria in 2007 and Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981.

“All the pundits who talk about ‘Oh, yeah, bomb Iran,’ it ain’t going to be that easy,” said Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, who retired last year as the Air Force’s top intelligence official and who planned the American air campaigns in 2001 in Afghanistan and in the 1991 Gulf War.

The GOP front-runner maintained also the President "opposes military action. This is a president who should have instead communicated to Iran that we are prepared, that we are considering military options. They're not just on the table."

President Obama, timid peacenik that he is, has said that launching a war- or, as Romney put it, "military action"- is not ideal.     In the same statement, however, the President added "But we are keeping all our options on the table,”  which sounds a lot different than "they're not just on the table."     Obama's assessment, unlike Romney's charge, is consistent with the Israeli spokesman in Washington whom Bumiller explained

said the country continued to push for tougher sanctions on Iran and reiterated that Israel, like the United States,  "is keeping all options on the table."

Leaving the issue of Iran, host John King asked Newt Gingrich "on the question of a more prominent role for women, good idea or bad idea?"

It would seem a simple question- good idea or bad idea, yes or no.      But not for Gingrich, who responded

Well, look, I think it's a misleading question in the modern era. You live in a world of total warfare. Anybody serving our country in uniform virtually anywhere in the world could be in danger at virtually any minute. A truck driver can get blown up by a bomb as readily as the infantrymen.

So I would say that you ought to ask the combat leaders what they think is an appropriate step, as opposed to the social engineers of the Obama administration.

Hand it to Newt:     he knows the lingo.     Referring to foreign policy and military advisors as "social engineers"  is pretty heady stuff for a guy who advocates replacing school janitors with schoolchildren.        King neglected to ask Gingrich his interpretation of Article 2, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution, which specifies "The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States."       Although in the spirit of "monkey see, monkey do," Santorum also invoked "social engineering" he cautioned "I would defer to at least hearing the recommendations of those involved. But I think we have civilian control of the military, and these are things that should be decided not just by the generals."

In regard to the Armed Forces, the President of the United States, not the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff or other military figure, is commander-in-chief.      When action can be taken against Muammar Ghaddafi, Osama bin Laden, or Somali pirates, the decision is that of the President.     It is his/responsibility, and he who will be held accountable, to the nation, the world,  and history

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