Wednesday, 4 May 2011

When will they ever learn ...?

[What follows is from an editorial headed "Obama starts to emerge" in today's edition of The New York Sun:]

One of the encouraging aspects of the events of the past few days is the emergence of a new and more confident President Obama. This wasn’t always the prospect in the first two years of his presidency, in which he seemed indecisive and reluctant. (...)

Mr Obama is starting to emerge as the kind of war leader we had in mind — cool under fire, able to keep a poker face while golf and entertaining the press between high stakes briefings in the situation room, and sagacious in battle, as he surely was with his decision to send in the SEALs into the lair of Osama Bin Laden. His capacity for secrecy and unilateralism speaks well of him, and it happens that we agree also with his decision to dispose of bin Laden’s corpse at sea. And not to worry about it afterwards. (...)

We still have all our policy differences with Mr. Obama — on the economy, monetary and fiscal matters, on social issues, and in the realm of culture. But our own hope is that the events of these past few days will incent Mr Obama in dealing with communist Korea and Iran and no doubt other places where diplomacy has failed. Even as NATO warplanes are flying Libya, we continue to favor sending a team to Libya to fetch Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, and bring him to an American jail [to] serve his time for his role in the downing of Pan American Flight 103. It is our hope that the triumph we’ve saw in the last few days will as it humbles us all nonetheless embolden Mr Obama as a war leader, with his own growing appreciation for the possibilities of military and covert means in a twilight struggle in which our cause is just. If that happens it could be more important than the death that was brought to bin Laden.


  1. I read today the UN are asking questions about the killing since, contrary to what the US said to begin with, it appears Bin Laden wasn't armed. The wife had apparently rushed at the US people and they shot her in the leg so she wasn't killed. On the other hand they shot Bin Laden twice (?) in the head. The US spokesman explained that obviously then Bin Laden wouldn't be recognisable. Yes: obviously.

    I still say if any Arab or Muslim country had announced it had killed Bin Laden and buried him at sea the US would not have simply taken their word for it and said, "Well done." Hell no!

  2. ".....growing appreciation for the possibilities of military and covert means in a twilight struggle in which our cause is just."

    That statement should send a chill through anyone who believes in international law, democracy and the duty of all countries - no matter how powerful - to abide by both.

    At other times, like when the Twin Towers atrocity happened, I remember seeing footage from some countries where they were celebrating in the streets and baying like crazy people. It made me feel sick. The other evening Americans were doing exactly the same thing: something about that made me feel equally uncomfortable.

  3. I have asked this before. In view of all that is unfolding in Libya does anyone agree the Scottish authorities should recall Megrahi? I think so. This editorial is urging Obama to go in an get him and take him to the States. That would breach international law since Megrahi is not a prisoner of the US. And yet Cameron would not utter a word of protest and Scotland's government would be powerless. Any views?

  4. 66 years after the end of the Second World War, we navel gaze on voting reform for a charade of democracy whilst the oil runs low and the hallmarks of Fascism are plain to see from Washington to Peking. Will they ever learn? Unlikely. Will we? I certainly hope so.

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  6. Taken my rose tinted glasses off now and basked in the radiance of this spectacularly illiterate editorial for a second time. What makes even more illuminating reading is the Wiki page on the New York Sun (, particularly the section on circulation and seeing that old favourite Conrad Black popping up.

  7. Emboldened by success (despite 'writing off' a stealth helicopter when a more stealthy garden wall hit it!) they will be less cautious next time about mounting a snatch operation...and wham!... it will go wrong - probably. That's what happens when foreign policy is determined solely by domestic politics.