"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Obama Spikes the Football... Like a Girl!

A wise man once told me that you could learn about all you need to know about a man either by playing golf with him or going hunting or fishing with him.   President Obama does not hunt or fish, but he does play a lot of golf (but I guess that's OK if you're not a Republican named Bush).  

To my mind, however, you can learn a lot about someone by seeing how they throw a baseball.   If you throw like a girl, you probably weren't a "regular guy" (to coin a phrase) growing up.

Obama throws like a girl:

I guarantee you his 2012 campaign won't have him throwing out any first pitches. 

But they are apparently convinced that he can "spike the football" figuratively by celebrating his "triumph" in "taking out" Osama bin Laden.   Hence his triumphal visit to Afghanistan on the first anniversary of the (justifiable) murder of the arch-terrorist by Navy Seal Team 6.   Obama wants to take credit for the "tough decision" to launch the mission and, essentially, wants to steal credit from the brave Navy Seals who actually planned it and carried it out successfully.

Two things:  first, Special Operators don't want publicity for themselves.   But I guarantee they don't like an armchair quarterback pretending that he was a super-hero rappelling down out of a Blackhawk himself.   To wit, the following reactions from actual, not ersatz, Seals:

A serving SEAL Team member said: ‘Obama wasn’t in the field, at risk, carrying a gun. As president, at every turn he should be thanking the guys who put their lives on the line to do this. He does so in his official speeches because he speechwriters are smart.
‘But the more he tries to take the credit for it, the more the ground operators are saying, “Come on, man!” It really didn’t matter who was president. At the end of the day, they were going to go.’
Chris Kyle, a former SEAL sniper with 160 confirmed and another 95 unconfirmed kills to his credit, said: ‘The operation itself was great and the nation felt immense pride. It was great that we did it.
‘But bin Laden was just a figurehead. The war on terror continues. Taking him out didn’t really change anything as far as the war on terror is concerned and using it as a political attack is a cheap shot.
‘In years to come there is going to be information that will come out that Obama was not the man who made the call. He can say he did and the people who really know what happened are inside the Pentagon, are in the military and the military isn’t allowed to speak out against the commander- in-chief so his secret is safe.’

Second, the decision by Obama is only meaningful as a criterion for evaluating his leadership if some other President would have made a different decision.   If no one could possibly make another decision -- and I would submit that no President, not even Jimmy Carter, would have done differently -- then it's not really a decision at all, and he shouldn't take much credit for it:

Ryan Zinke, a former Commander in the US Navy who spent 23 years as a SEAL and led a SEAL Team 6 assault unit, said: ‘The decision was a no brainer. I applaud him for making it but I would not overly pat myself on the back for making the right call.
‘I think every president would have done the same. He is justified in saying it was his decision but the preparation, the sacrifice - it was a broader team effort.’

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