The Syrian fiasco arose from two mutually contradictory desires. Barack Obama sincerely wanted Bashar Assad to stop killing his own people. Barack Obama also really was not willing to use force to ensure that Assad would stop killing his own people. At Harvard, those desires would not be antithetical. Elsewhere they are.
The desire to avoid the use of force was understandable. Obama ran for president as an anti-war candidate. He damned Bush’s “bad war” in Iraq, while critiquing the conduct of the “good war” in Afghanistan. He had no success with his own bombing in Libya. And he was embarrassed by even a rhetorical entry into the Egyptian quagmire. The president sensed rightly that the country was “tired” after Afghanistan and Iraq. Continue reading “Obama’s Box Canyon”→
The one requisite in a presidential speech is honesty. Without it, nothing else matters. The president’s speech last night was incoherent in its call to be ready at some future day to use force that he just recently insisted must be used immediately. Continue reading “Predictably Misleading”→
Everyone can agree that Obama’s handling of the crisis has been puerile, and that there now are only the proverbial bad and worse options—the result being not whether the U.S. loses credibility, but only how much and for how long. So what comes next? Continue reading “Now What?”→
The Senate Intelligence Committee last week grilled Obama’s pick to head the CIA, John Brennan, on all sorts of issues. Democrats worked him over about the CIA’s interrogation, detention, and droning of terrorist suspects, while Republicans were concerned about leaks of classified information. Continue reading “Brennan’s Testimony and Waterboarding Misinformation”→
The Obama narrative is that he inherited the worst mess in memory and has been stymied ever since by a partisan Congress — while everything from new ATM technology to the Japanese tsunami conspired against him. But how true are those claims? Continue reading “A Presidency Squandered”→
The temple of postmodern liberalism was rocked these last few weeks, as a number of supporting columns and buttresses simply crashed, leaving the entire edifice wobbling. Continue reading “All Fall Down”→
Conservatives caricature 24/7 Barack Obama’s reliance on the teleprompter. True, his speeches are scripted; but we forget why so: He is very good at reading a prepared script as if he were talking off the top of his head, and he is very bad at actually talking off the top of his head. Continue reading “Obama Off the Cuff”→