President Barack Obama is frozen in the face of enemy provocations choosing meaningless threats and retreat instead of significant reprisals. Oh, wait, that's not Obama on the Russian occupation of Crimea; that was Ronald Reagan withdrawing all forces from Lebanon four months after Islamic Jihad bombed U.S. military barracks killing 241 Americans on Oct. 23, 1983. Huh! Two hundred and forty one killed by terrorists in Beirut and four killed by terrorists in Benghazi. I don't recall GOP outrage then over the same lack of security issues. Funny how no one thought to call St. Ronnie “feckless” or “weak” or “indecisive” during that crisis. Bob Gates, Russian scholar and former CIA director and defense secretary under Obama and George W. Bush, has urged Republican senators like John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz, respectively quoted above, to “tone down” their criticism: “Considerable care needs to be taken in terms of what is said, so that the rhetoric doesn't threaten what policy can't deliver,” Gates said.
In an interview with The Washington Post's David Ignatius, Gates “discounted” Republican arguments that Obama had invited the Crimean occupation by not taking a firmer stand on Syria, saying Vladimir Putin “would still have the same high cards.” Ironically, these same Republicans hypocritically ignore Israel's 47-year occupation of Palestine. Speaking of Syria, which is the better outcome? Bombing a few chemical weapons sites in retaliation for its chemical attacks or making a deal to secure and destroy all of Syria's chemical stockpile and weapons capacity? Why do Republicans view the latter as a “defeat?” In truth, America has always had a limited ability to respond to the bad guys, but that doesn't stop the warmongering caterwauling we're hearing out of the GOP. For example, the Soviet-Russian invasions of Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Georgia — all unchallenged. Then there were the bombings — in Beirut, the 1993 World Trade Center, the 1996 Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia, the 1998 East African embassies and in 2000 the USS Cole. Add to that the 1979 occupation of our embassy and hostage-taking of 52 Americans in Tehran and the 1993 attacks on our military detachments in Mogadishu, Somalia; except for token responses, all largely unanswered. Since World War II, the U.S. has engaged in five significant — boots-on-the-ground — wars of national interest under seven presidents, Korea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq, of which only one, Kuwait, can be said to be totally successful. Does that tell you anything about our ability to advance international objectives through force? To accuse Obama of “weakness” is simply duplicitous. He has secured our southern border more effectively and extradited more illegals than any other president. He has authorized eight times the number of drone strikes on terrorists than Bush. And he showed incredible fortitude in sanctioning the bin Laden mission in the face of tactical uncertainties. This after Bush declared: “I don't know where bin Laden is and really don't care.” Republican attacks on Obama's character in the very first days of an international crisis are unprecedented and despicable. Shame on them. Marty Moore is a freelance writer living in Port Richey.