Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Obama as Commander in Chief: Don't Carp

More or less predictably the President's political opponents (notably, not many in public office) are complaining about how he made his decision to take out OBL, or how he announced it.

We offer that such talk is self-defeating.

On the decision itself, the Daily Mail complains that BHO slept on the decision to make the raid, as if that belies the image of decisiveness put forth by his handlers. We say that's bunk.

After all, what's 16 hours after 9 2/3 years? Especially when we can watch the joint carefully, we aren't sure that OBL is actually there, if he is he probably hasn't moved in a month of Sundays, and we've got options to consider (do nothing, bomb the joint, send the Seals--at great risk to their safety).

"Decisiveness" is overrated, in the SWNIDish view. Often it's useful to take time to deliberate, to gather information, to consult, to let one's unconscious mind stew over an issue. As the magnificent Steven Sample argues, it's wise to "think gray," to defer a decision until a decision is really needed. If they let you bet at the end of the race, why bet at the beginning?

On the announcement of the decision and subsequent communications, we've seen complaints about everything from the number of first-person pronouns the President used in his Sunday night address to the photographs from the situation room released by the White House press office. Really, who cares? This is what politicians do, and anyone who thinks that the public is hoodwinked by such stuff doesn't listen much to the public. Those of us who got tired of Bush being criticized for his way of saying things can certainly tolerate someone else's excesses, even if they happen to be someone with whose policies we disagree.

Which comes to the proper point of criticism. The right should not criticize BHO for anything about this operation. Rather, they should point out that it succeeded to the degree that it was in continuity with policies launched by the previous administration, policies that BHO successfully ran against. One need not even accuse him of hypocrisy. One should simply point out that when the time comes to do something importat, Democrats act like Republicans.

And then they can criticize the President's vision of a redistributive welfare state that collects every dollar of GDP in taxes or bonds and doles it out to those who engage in politically sanctioned behavior. We don't care if the President takes two days instead of one to decide something, or that he takes credit for things that he didn't exactly do personally. We care that his policies are bereft of justification.


Anonymous said...

Out of curiosity, why do you refer to the President as BHO and the former President as Bush and not GWB? Are you playing some (not so subtle) angle or was it simply a mistake when you did it multiple times?

KevinAK said...

For once SWNID and I are in agreement. OBL is gone and the focus need to remain on making sure Obama is a one term occupant of the White House.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Anon, some things are random. This is one.

Anonymous said...

Fair enough. Thank you for the explanation. I'm sure you'll be more aware of this randomness and maybe avoid it in future writings. No reason to inadvertently try to single someone out for their differences if we are aware that it may look that way to others (whether we meant it or not).

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

You're kidding, right?

Anonymous said...

Hint: It's funnier if you're not.