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Bottom Line - The President Has Kept Us Out Of War

Category: Barack Obama
Posted: 06/07/14 20:00

by Dave Mindeman

At the D-Day ceremonies there were a number of World War II veterans on hand. They are a dwindling number....we lose them at the rate of about 400 per day. They have seen war up close and personal and they know why it sometimes needs to be done and what it costs.

After Obama gave his speech, he was confronted by one of those veterans. Nobody could hear what he was saying, but one reporter kept track of him and sought him out.....

....one of them--pale and bent beneath his baseball cap as if it weighed him down--stepped forward and took Obama's hand, and would not let him go until he had said his piece.

Was the infirm old soldier, perhaps, taking Obama to task for the scandals in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs? Was he telling the president that American policy needed more spine? An old survivor has a kind of license to say whatever he wants, even to the president of the United States. Obama smiled warmly. But then, in front of the crowd and the world's television cameras, he would. None of us in the crowd could hear.

Yes, that old soldier had an opportunity to take Obama to task for all of the scandals, the "bad" decisions, the "weakness" he has shown. But what exactly did he say?......

When the ceremony was over, I made my way through the arrays of marble crosses to the stage and to the man in the blue hat who had taken Obama's hand.

His name, it turns out, is Irving Smolens, and he was only 19 when he took part in the Normandy landing. Afterward he spent much of his life as a buyer of women's and children's clothing in Massachusetts, leading a quiet, peaceful life with his family.

"What did you say to Obama?" I asked him.

"I thanked him for keeping us out of war," said Smolens.

Yes....for all the GOP public criticism of Obama's foreign policy....for all of the perceived "weakness" that the GOP continues to fault him for....for all of the stands he has made and the pull backs he has done....for all of that, there really is just one thing to say.

Thank you, President Obama, for keeping us out of war.
comments (1) permalink

The Ukrainian Dilemma

Category: Barack Obama
Posted: 03/02/14 17:46, Edited: 03/02/14 17:46

by Dave Mindeman

I couldn't help but notice something that Secretary John Kerry said this morning on Meet the Press...

"You just don't invade a sovereign country on trumped up charges to assert your own interests..."

I'm not sure he got the irony, but essentially, the US has lost the high ground compass on the political argument here.

Putin has a Cold War mentality and he longs to reunite much of the Old Soviet Union. In addition, the Crimea is home to a strategic Russian naval base.

None of that makes what he has done acceptable as "national interest", but governments have used less to justify their actions.

The whole Ukraine situation has plenty of complications. The deposed leader WAS democratically elected. Russian will use that as a talking point. He was removed from power in an arguably undemocratic way - almost resembling a coup. Was it justified? You probably won't find much agreement on that. But Russia's use of force to intervene is still an unacceptable international norm and western protests must focus on that.

Obama has some hard decisions to make. But even before he has begun to deliberate, the GOP is, AGAIN, using a foreign policy crisis as a means to score political points. Obama will be wrong (to them) on whatever he chooses to do. And that will also weaken what he does. Republicans desperately want to return to being the party of strong foreign policy. Allowing Obama to make decisions unchallenged is no longer allowed - from their point of view.

John McCain and Lindsay Graham always want to opt for intervention. I shudder to think how many conflicts we would be managing right now if McCain had been elected in 2008. This nation is war weary and while sabre rattling may be good for the ego, it will only lead to more tension we are not prepared to back up.

President Obama doesn't have many good options, but I suspect he will deliberate on all of them very carefully and make the proper decision. He is not quick to war - he doesn't force adversaries into corners.

He will take the best action in our best interest. He will have to ignore the critics with political motives - good Presidents do.
comments (1) permalink

Can Congress Act?

Category: Barack Obama
Posted: 02/13/13 00:05

by Dave Mindeman

While listening to the State of the Union speech I found myself almost dozing off at the early economic proposals. Yeah, Yeah, heard that, watched it die in the House. Been there.

But then, suddenly in the second half, there was actual passion. Passion on voting rights, on gun legislation, on minimum wage.

It got my attention. Finally, something we can sink our teeth into.

Can we actually do any of this? Can the President make the Congress move...or at least get them to quit sitting on their hands like the Republicans always do during these speeches?

Yes, Mr. President, they deserve a vote. All of them. Gun violence victims. Poverty stricken minimum wagers. Tired and beleaguered voters.

They all want action. They all want something done.

Can Congress act?
comments (3) permalink


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