Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Obama Fires 2000 Teachers

President Obama just fired 2000 teachers. Well, not really. But the cost of the scores of cruise missiles that were recently fired on Libya could pay for 2000 teachers for one year. I wonder what the impact of this will be on future generations? Could one of those teachers have been the inspiration for a middle school student to go into medical research and find a cure for cancer? Could another have been the spark that kindles an interest in writing that would have propelled a high school student to be the next Mark Twain? We’ll never know.

Of course, the cost of the cruise missiles and the missed opportunity to hire teachers instead is just the tip of the iceberg. Besides the additional expenses of fuel, troops, and equipment, this incursion into a third Muslim nation costs lives - both on the battlefield and in what the Defense Department euphemistically calls “collateral damage.”

What ever happened to diplomacy? And if diplomacy were to be unsuccessful, what ever happened to non-combative military actions like embargoes? It seems that today our leaders have decided on war as the option of first resort. I can only imagine what would have happened if President Kennedy acted like Bush or Obama when the Soviets placed offensive nuclear weapons in Cuba. Through a combination of diplomacy and blockades, JFK was able to get the Communists to remove those missiles. Yes - he did inherit the Bay of Pigs plan from his predecessor, but JFK’s main thrust was non-military - and it worked.

Today, unless you have a loved one in the military, war has become sterile, remote, and nothing more than a video game played on the nightly news. The financial cost of the war is hardly considered during the intense debates about the budget deficit. The civilian population is generally immune from the sacrifices of war.

Perhaps we were naive when we expected Barack Obama to be more deliberate in his actions than his predecessor was. But Obama’s incursion into Libya, if not illegal, is at least unwise. It is unwise morally and it is unwise politically. As we have seen in the last election, Democrats who act like Republicans lose to real Republicans. What will it take to get a real Democrat in the White House?


  1. Obama is just about Bush III. He's been walking the double yellow line for a while, with one foot occasionally straying into the right lane. Now he's stepping in the right lane about every third step.

    Disappointment is a mild word for how I feel about Obama.

  2. If by a "real Democrat" you mean someone who would not have intervened here, I think the answer is never. Obama is as close as you are going to get. His obvious instinct was to do nothing, but he was outmaneuvered by Hillary Clinton and, believe it or not, world opinion.

    As a mind exercise, name a president in our lifetime who would NOT have intervened. The only one I can think of that is even a maybe would be Nixon.

    It is clear that a major slaughter of both rebels and civilians has been at least temporarily averted. This does not mean we have a long term role in Libya, and it does not mean that the UN Security Council has supplanted our congress as the validator of American foreign policy. It does mean that the United States has a special role in world affairs, and with that special responsibilities. When I was growing up Democrats believed this even more than did Republicans.

    This does not necessarily break along party lines. The punditry at National Review Online are seriously split on this. Tonight I watched Bill O'Reilly and Laura Ingraham adamantly disagree on it. On the other hand, Democrats such as Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice and Samantha Power clearly believe that we have a moral obligation to act.

    The most vociferous support for your position I have seen in the last couple of days has come from Dennis Kucinich, Michael Moore, Ron Paul and Pat Buchanon. Not the best of company.

  3. Glen, you're probably too young to remember JFK, but I don't believe he would have used air strikes as the first solution in Libya. It's amazing that Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul can come out on the same side of an issue. Let's see if Obama sticks to his word and transfers the execution of this war to the Europeans.

  4. You are too kind, but I am not too young to remember Kennedy. He famously said that "we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty". I do not think he would sit idly by and let a tyrant slaughter thousands of his own citizens, if there was anything he could do about it.

    People forget that it was once possible to run on the left on domestic issues and still be an assertive believer in American exceptionalism in foreign policy. Kennedy did this. Nixon actually ran to the left of him on foreign policy in the 1960 election.