It wouldn’t be the first time a leftist banana-republic-style ruler was brought to heel by his country’s military. Could this be happening to Barack Obama?
After some stern talk from battlefield commanders, the new president dropped his plan to publicize photos of rigorous interrogation of terrorists, and has also adopted some of the very anti-terrorism polices he denounced in his campaign.
Was Obama’s flip-flop in dealing with the war on terror, which he doesn’t choose to admit exists, nothing more than a one-off aberration?
Or was this the first of additional significant reel-ins by the top brass in a United States military he is clearly uncomfortable commanding?
And what is the collateral role of the U.S. intelligence community in all this?
The Central Intelligence Agency’s director, Leon Panetta, unpredictably of all people, twice slapped down House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a certifiable lefty, for caricaturing his agency personnel as liars in their briefings of her and others in Congress about methods of interrogating terrorists.
Does this unprecedented public intervention by CIA in a historic fight over veracity with Capitol Hill indicate that the intelligence warriors are, like the military, not going to let the Obama administration diss ’em and stiff ’em?
Or did Obama give Panetta the green light to go after Pelosi, who has upstaged him, and to stay on her tail feathers until they singed her right out of office?
Was the speaker acting all on her own, independently of the White House?
Or was she acting in obeisance to powerful and wealthy forces on the far left?
And where in all this is the House majority leader, Steny Hoyer, who lost his battle to take the speakership Pelosi now holds? At times, he appears to be distancing himself from Pelosi. At other times, rescuing her from herself.
Those are but a few obvious questions the Washington Beltway establishment press are too lazy, too obtuse, too housebroken, and too co-opted to poke into.
The only person no one is asking such questions about is the very first — in this instance, the very last — who, under the Constitution, should figure prominently in the drama. That is Vice President Joe Biden, who no longer seems to count.
Stir it all together, and you have a bubbling caldron of shadowy maneuvers, fetid murkiness, inept muddles, and scary scenarios — a wretched witches’ brew.
This kind of stuff goes on all the time in banana republics. But this, for cryin’ out loud, is — or was — the United States of America.
What’s going on is a cluster-scramble for such foreign-policy power as Obama continues to hold, if amateurishly, in his grip — and much more that he has fumbled away or can’t find in the confusion to get his hands around.
No one in Washington is waiting for a presidential honeymoon to end. That’s already come and gone. It’s down and dirty now, growing worse by the day.
Take just the military, for one example. You have to feel a degree of empathy for the professional brass. They know the stakes. They know what’s coming, and they know it’s not sweet peace. It’s ugly and it’s war.
Their background and sworn duty cannot allow them to look the other way when the country they serve and would die to protect is in mortal danger. If they haven’t already acted, don’t worry, they will before concluding it’s too late.
Same for intelligence’s most intelligent. Can they go to work each day confident that the strange, shaky fellow in the Oval Office has their six? Who, among all these factions, really believes, honestly trusts Obama’s fickle word?
Have we descended this far, this fast, in only four short months? And to think another 44 yet remain to become history before Obama’s first hitch is up. Anyone care to contemplate 92 more months, if he festers for two terms?
One thing in this recession is not in short supply — presidential flip flops.
John L. Perry, a prize-winning newspaper editor and writer who served on White House staffs of two presidents, is a regular columnist for Newsmax.com. Read John Perry's columns here.
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