Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Obama’s 100 Days – So What?

The media extravaganza over President Obama's first 100 days of rule was much ado over nothing. There was lot of process, but no results.

Left-wing pundits characterized Obama in exhilarating terms almost as a saint carried forward by a band of angels. On the other hand, the right-wingers portrayed him as a man of hubris, plunging the country into disastrous debt. Meanwhile the centrists and independents took on a blasé attitude. They were blissfully thankful that GWBush was salted away in Texas, raising millions for his presidential library and occupied with removing a cloud on the tile for its intended location at SMU.

Obama's press operations are masterful. They can make you believe good things are happening when they are not; conversely, they make believe bad things that are happening are good. Recent Chrysler bankruptcy and selling out to Fiat is just one example that the president personally projected in glowing terms.

Granted that 100 days is insufficient time to to judge the effectiveness of his economic nostrums, but there is sufficient evidence to support misgivings. The administration is unable to determine how the bailout money was spent; bankers continue to thumb their noses at Obama as they reward themselves with bonuses from federal funds; his budget appears to be funded by inflation; and, his stimulus package now appears too small to do the job as his advisors are hinting at another package to supplement the old 700 billion dollar one.

His national security policies appear in jeopardy. His departure from Iraq amounted to a policy of stall to continue the occupation. Eighteen US troops in Iraq were killed this April. The US Command there now wants to revise the status of forces so US troops can remain the the cities of Baghdad, Mosul and Diyala province beyond the agreed date of departure, 30 June 2009. If anyone believes Obama has a realistic plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan, they should advise those in the Pentagon. They keep killing as many civilians as insurgents. Control of Pakistan's nucs is the first order of business. If CIA and DIA do not know the locations by now, adults should be put in charge. Smiling good fella Leon Panetta is not the man for job.

The posture of Obama's reluctance to pursue the Bush administration's torturers is reminiscent of Bush's stall on the 9/11 investigation. Purpose of his stall is unclear. His reasoning that such investigations would sap vigor from higher administrative priorities is preposterous. We know whom he is protecting, but why? Maybe we have a one-party system after all, with alternating heads.

The 100 days benchmark stems from Napoleon escape from Elba – in that short period Napoleon reconstituted has grand army, chased Louis XVIII from his throne, won several battles; he did make mistakes and lost the last battle at Waterloo. He died in exile on the rocky, intemperate island of St. Helena, and was finally reburied with pomp and circumstances in Paris. Now that is a 100 days of real events, packed with wins, losses, fury and glory. Eat your heart out President Obama with your flimsy events of your first 100 days. Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret.


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