Saturday, September 15, 2012

Obama's "Let's Roll" moment?

The waves of violence are spreading now, well beyond the Middle East to nations in North Africa like Tunisia, to even distant nations like Australia. Over what? According to the Administration, over a YouTube video, nothing more. Throughout the world, American lives and interests are in jeopardy. And of course, four Americans have already lost their lives in Libya, for no good reason, in defense of nothing. Is this a moment of consequence, a defining moment in U.S. relations with the rest of the world, a test of U.S. resolve? We've had such moments before. "A day that will live in infamy" and "My fellow Americans, let's roll" are phrases that will be remembered, as they in effect defined what was to come.

And now?

Granted, this wave of violence is no Pearl Harbor and no 9-11. But it is widespread, it does reach across the globe. So after some mealy-mouthed statements from Carney, what does Obama have to say, now that he's had time to prepare a strategy? The President's weekly address, "Carrying on the Work of Our Fallen Heroes" (my boldface):
This week in Libya, we lost four of our fellow Americans. Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith, and Chris Stevens were all killed in an outrageous attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi.

These four Americans represented the very best of our country.

Glen and Tyrone had each served America as Navy SEALs for many years, before continuing their service providing security for our diplomats in Libya. They died as they lived their lives – defending their fellow Americans, and advancing the values that all of us hold dear.

Sean also started his service in uniform, in the Air Force. He then spent years at the State Department, on several continents, always answering his country’s call. And Ambassador Chris Stevens died a hero in two countries – here in the United States, where he inspired those of us who knew him; and in Libya, a country that he helped to save, where he ultimately laid down his life.

On Friday, I was able to tell their families how much the American people appreciated their service. Without people like them, America could not sustain the freedoms we enjoy, the security we demand, and the leadership that the entire world counts on.

As we mourn their loss, we must also send a clear and resolute message to the world: those who attack our people will find no escape from justice. We will not waver in their pursuit. And we will never allow anyone to shake the resolve of the United States of America.

This tragic attack takes place at a time of turmoil and protest in many different countries. I have made it clear that the United States has a profound respect for people of all faiths. We stand for religious freedom. And we reject the denigration of any religion – including Islam.

Yet there is never any justification for violence. There is no religion that condones the targeting of innocent men and women. There is no excuse for attacks on our Embassies and Consulates. And so long as I am Commander-in-Chief, the United States will never tolerate efforts to harm our fellow Americans.

Right now, we are doing whatever we can to protect Americans who are serving abroad. We are in contact with governments around the globe, to strengthen our cooperation, and underscore that every nation has a responsibility to help us protect our people. We have moved forward with an effort to see that justice is done for those we lost, and we will not rest until that work is done.

Most of all, we must reaffirm that we will carry on the work of our fallen heroes.

I know the images on our televisions are disturbing. But let us never forget that for every angry mob, there are millions who yearn for the freedom, and dignity, and hope that our flag represents. That is the cause of America – the ideals that took root in our founding; the opportunity that drew so many to our shores; and the awesome progress that we have promoted all across the globe.

We are Americans. We know that our spirit cannot be broken, and the foundation of our leadership cannot be shaken. That is the legacy of the four Americans we lost – men who will live on in the hearts of those they loved, and the strength of the country they served.

So with their memory to guide us, we will carry forward the work of making our country stronger, our citizens safer, and the world a better and more hopeful place. Thank you.

The first bit in bold sounds great: "no escape from justice...we will not waiver...will not allow anyone to shake [our] resolve." And yet, who is that really directed at? The people responsible for the deaths of four Americans in Libya. What is he really prepared to do, in that regard? Send in the marines? Supposedly, Libyan authorities have already made some arrests, have identified the group responsible for the attack, and are closing in on others. Does that mean we can rest now? And how much resolve did we really show, here? In the immortal words of Bob Costas, "tough talk from a guy in a rented tux."

The second bit in bold is yet another capitulation. And look at in context with the earlier bit. First "we must also send a clear and resolute message to the world," then a statement that makes the message less than clear. Imagine FDR saying "it's a day that will live in infamy but we agree that American Imperialism is the cause; but that still doesn't justify the attacks." Or GWB saying "my fellow Americans, let's roll...but let's also try to be more considerate of the religious feelings of others."

Doesn't quite work. At all. Once upon a time, an attack on an embassy--or consulate--was an act of war. The nation so attacked had no need to apologize for anything, let alone legitimate--even if ever so slightly--the reasons for such an attack. But we live in a different world now, it would seem.

My fellow Americans, let's roll...but let's be considerate about it.

Cheers, all.

1 comment:

  1. You are much kinder than me. I don't think this president has respect for anyone's life...if you consider the action taken for the 300+ Mexicans who died at the hands of the guns this administration put into the hands of criminals..if you consider the American border guard's death. Bragging that "he" killed a terrorist leader..the withdrawal date for Afganistan to the detriment of our troops leaks.. This man doesn't give a rats A** about anyone's life..about America...about Israel..or any of our allies..