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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A President in Need of a Compass

I think it's time for the country to face reality. Our President is lost. There's not one major issue that we can reasonably say he has a good handle on. Instead, on every major issue, it appears as though there's a grand piano hanging over him being held up by a small string. What the president needs is to find some direction, and quickly.

1) Gitmo

Talk about a disaster. In fact, there's no bigger disaster than GITMO. Then only reason it hasn't had more attention is that this disaster won't be official until January of next year. That's when the president will have had to move each of the detainees to destinations still unknown. His first mistake was arrogantly pronouncing that GITMO would be closed within a year on his second day in office. As such, he sowed the seeds of his own destruction in only his second day on the job.

It's clear that he has no plan where to move these folks. In August, a town hall was held in the town of Standish, Michigan. Standish is a site that the administration is considering moving some or all of the GITMO detainees. Here's how that went.

You can bet that anywhere in America the reaction will be the same to the reaction in Standish. On top of this, moving them overseas is also not an option. Beyond this, most countries claim that if these folks are safe to incarcerate, the U.S. should do it on its own.

So, we're less than five months away from the day that GITMO must be closed per the Presidential order that President Obama himself, and he has no clue how he's going to exact that order. He's a president in serious need of direction.


It's not getting much media attention, but Afghanistan looks worse than Iraq ever did. We had our worst death totals for any month in the month of August. That topped July's totals by two which held the record for one month. The situation is spinning out of control and the president had this stunning statement in July.

We’re not dealing with nation states at this point. We’re concerned with Al Qaeda and the Taliban, Al Qaeda’s allies," he said. "So when you have a non-state actor, a shadowy operation like Al Qaeda, our goal is to make sure they can’t attack the United States." …"We are confident that if we are assisting the Afghan people and improving their security situation, stabilizing their government, providing help on economic development … those things will continue to contract the ability of Al Qaeda to operate. And that is absolutely critical.

The General in Afghanistan, General McChrystal, just came out with this assessment.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal released his assessment of the current Afghanistan war
strategy on Monday, calling for a new strategy that
focuses on protecting civilians and relies more on Afghan forces. While his assessment did not include a specific request for more troops, he is soon expected to ask for a substantial increase in the military force there. "The situation in Afghanistan is serious, but success is achievable and demands a revised implementation strategy, commitment and resolve, and increased unity of effort," McChrystal said on Monday. August was the deadliest month for U.S. troops in Afghanistan since the war began, claiming the lives of 49 -- more than one-fourth of all U.S. troops killed this year.

That's sobering and stark. It remains to be seen if President Obama will give the general the resources he needs to win. It actually remains to be seen how committed he is to victory at all. The situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating and the president has barely even mentioned it in speeches. He's made little mention of Afghanistan. This was supposed to be the good war and yet, it's not totally clear that the president has the commitment to win. Again, the president is in need of direction.


Remember when the president was making videos that were overtures to the government and the people of Iran. Those are gone. In fact, the president's policy toward Iran has gone into neutral ever since the aftermath of the election. The president refused to choose sides. As such, he gave an implicit approval of the crackdown.

Yet, since then, his entire policy is now in disarray. The president won't side with the revolutionaries. He won't come out firmly on the side of those that are attempting to bring democracy to Iran. Yet, he can't very well try and reach out to the Ahmadinejad government either.

So, where does that leave his policy toward Iran? It leaves it in disarray. He has no policy toward Iran. He isn't siding with the forces against the government. He isn't siding with the government. He also isn't siding with opponents of the government. He isn't engaging Iran but he also isn't trying to isolate Iran. We, unfortunately, don't have time to waste. It's months if not years before Iran is successful in creating a nuclear bomb and then the game changes entirely. Let's hope the president gets some direction soon.

4)Health care

The president's leadeship on health care has been so non existent that it's frankly laughable. The democrats are fighting themselves, the media, the tea parties, and anyone else. It's effective to pick and choose enemies in politics but everyone can't be your enemy and right now that's where the Democrats are. It's entirely the fault of the president. He refuses to take a stand on anything and he continues to defend everything. As such, no one really knows what direction the bill should go. So, the liberals create a liberal bill. The moderates scream and the Senate can't get a compromise. All of it is played out in front of the public on television, the internet, the newspapers and radio. The president is simply lost and in need of direction.


Right now, the Justice department is investigating the CIA. The CIA is no longer in charge of interrogating high value detainees. Instead, a unit run from the White House will be in charge of run these interrogations. At the same time, the interrogations will be limited to the Army Field Manual. This September 1th will be marked as a National Day of Service. GITMO is a mess. Afghanistan is disintegrating. Even our gains in Iraq are being lost since we pulled back. What's the strategy? It's unclear. It appears the administration is more aggressive in prosecuting its own than the terrorists. Once again, the president is lost.

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