Saturday, October 18, 2014

Oaths of Office

We are now at war again, and again in the Middle East. I reflect with great melancholy that this nation has been at war, hot or cold, in one place or another, the entire length of my lifetime. Now comes Barack Obama, who was elected on an oath of getting us out of war, easing us into his second. Does anyone remember Libya, and the pathetic precedent of "leading from behind"? In that war, there were only four casualties (still unaccounted for), and in this one, in which Obama swears to use air power alone, he hopes there will be none.

Obama, it seems, believes that it is OK to get into a war, so long as no one gets hurt. Well, that is just stupid. Every military expert I have heard has said that his strategy to deal with ISIS will not work, that air strikes alone will not work, that ground troops are inevitable. Yet Obama continues to swear to us, right up to the eve of an election, that no American ground forces will be involved. Keep in mind, of course, that the Pentagon has admitted to the presence of some 1600 American troops on the ground already, which raises the question: How many boots on the ground constitute 'boots on the ground'? Clearly, in Obama-math, it is not 1600. Is it 2000? 5000? 16,000? He will not say; and he will not say because, I think, he does not know, or want to know.

I am reminded of one of the more macabre moments in the Nixon Administration when, having been assured solemnly by Tricky Dick that there were no American ground forces in Laos, we learned that the bodies of American servicemen were being retrieved from that country. Nixon sent out his press secretary, the hapless Ron Ziegler, blandly to inform the public that "Those reports do not contradict the president's statement." The corpses be damned; believe the president!

Apart from all the violated oaths and broken promises, our truth remains that Barack Obama emerged from the boondocks of Chicago politics with nothing but a smile, a Harvard degree, and a catchy slogan. But now that Hope and Change have revealed themselves to be haplessness and chicanery, can we all not just admit that the president is clueless, has always been clueless, will always be clueless? That in six years in office he has learned nothing, that he has no more executive skills or ability to lead now than when he assumed office? That a quip once made about Ronald Reagan is true of Barack Obama: His learning curve doesn't. But, you say, Gwyneth Paltrow thinks he's super, and should have dictatorial powers.

I rest my case.

In the last century, George Orwell and Ray Bradbury predicted that we would eventually reach a state of perpetual war. This would be so in order to justify increasing government power and subversion of individual liberty, and to cover for the scurrilous incompetence of pseudo-leaders. Well, my friends, does it not seem that the dire-est predictions of yesterday's science fiction have become our reality? And does it not appear now that the darkness the literary pessimists described is crowding around us even as I write? Someone observed that Obama is the president that Richard Nixon dreamed of being, and I agreed with the observation. Now, however, I would go farther, and say that Obama is the phenomenon that Orwell and Bradbury feared: amiable incompetence coupled with corruption, hubris, deceit, and unconcern.

I think it is only when the twin crises of ISIS and Ebola become one; that is, when ISIS begins using virus as a weapon of war, that the great mass of our citizenry will finally stir itself into active consciousness that our purported leaders are failing in their most basic Constitutional duty - to keep us safe. In the meanwhile, Barack Obama remains president, still grinning, still lying, still in over his head, and having repeatedly broken the most important promise of all - his oath of office.