Monday, April 13, 2009

Magical Moments

Suddenly the president has achieved what no amount of rational, balanced movement forward of programs for the U.S. public could do. A military success shows that Gang of Nope their own foolishness, and makes it harder to obstruct the services of government they are sworn to perform. Ironically, these matters of almost good luck, combined with measured firmness, provide a basis for influence that no amount of actual skill and good intention in governing can.

For President Obama, last week's confrontation with Somali pirates posed similar political risks to a young commander in chief who had yet to prove himself to his generals or his public.

But the result -- a dramatic and successful rescue operation by U.S. Special Operations forces -- left Obama with an early victory that could help build confidence in his ability to direct military actions abroad.

Throughout the past four days, White House officials played down Obama's role in the hostage drama. Until yesterday, he made no public statements about the pirates.

In fact, aides said yesterday, Obama had been briefed 17 times since he returned from his trip abroad, including several times from the White House Situation Room. And without giving too many details, senior White House officials made it clear that Obama had provided the authority for the rescue.

"The president's focus was on saving and protecting the life of the captain," one adviser said. Friday evening, after a National Security Council telephone update, Obama granted U.S. forces what aides called "the authority to use appropriate force to save the life of the captain." On Saturday at 9:20 a.m., Obama went further, giving authority to an "additional set of U.S. forces to engage in potential emergency actions."

A top military official, Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, commander of the Fifth Fleet, explained that Obama issued a standing order that the military was to act if the captain's life was in immediate danger.

"Our authorities came directly from the president," he said. "And the number one authority for incidents if we were going to respond was if the captain's life was in immediate danger. And that is the situation in which our sailors acted."

Moments of decision are often like tosses of the dice, they can work for you or against you. I have no doubt a lot of wingnuts who are wishing for the failure of the president are gnashing their teeth in frustration this morning. Coolness that infuriates our enemies has worked out well.

Wishing the failure of his governing is wishing for continuing humiliation for our country. The success of a military action contrasts vividly with the previous eight years of failure.

Good guidance for the world would include, of course, action to stop the damage to Somalia that the world's businesses' dumping in their fishing grounds has caused. Ending piracy will require the world's nations acting in the interests of a suffering people. Enlisting those nations is a field in which our president has shown good progress as well. Hopefully, his balanced and rational actions will continue to achieve the kind of world that we all are so ready to see - a world in which the public interest comes to the fore.

The success of this president is very important to people of good will. Early successes are promising, and we have high hope for rational government continuing its course onward and upward.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home