Sunday, November 1, 2009
Friday’s post regarding the episode at Dover AFB – where Barack Obama conveniently had himself conspicuously photographed saluting a flag-draped casket – has generated controversy within my family. This is an EXTREMELY touchy subject of course. The honorable war dead cannot speak, and so we speak for them; to me this is the essence of the controversy, and why I cannot let this story rest.
The first thing I noticed Friday morning, when I first looked at the photo, was the salute itself: as any G.I. will tell you, actors and politicians who have not served are NOTORIOUS for screwing up a salute.
The Third Eye is exactly in the middle of the forehead.
We love you Ron-Bomb, but that's more a formal wave than a proper military salute.
Even those who have served screw it up - never try to speak and move your hands around at the same time you're giving a salute.
And yet this week we see Barack Obama - a man who's never served a day in uniform - performing a flawless salute right out of Army Field Manual 3-21.5 Drill and Ceremony:
FM 3-21.5 Drill and Ceremony
4-4. HAND SALUTE
b. When wearing headgear without a visor (or uncovered) and not wearing glasses, execute the Hand Salute in the same manner as previously described, except touch the tip of the right forefinger to the forehead near and slightly to the right of the right eyebrow (2, Figure 4-5).
Now check out Obama's left hand - he's got his fingers curled correctly and aligned along the seam of his trousers.
NO civilian knows how to do that – Obama has DEFINITELY been given a class on how to stand at attention and render a military salute:
FM 3-21.5 Drill and Ceremony
4-1. POSITION OF ATTENTION
c. Let the arms hang straight without stiffness. Curl the fingers so that the tips of the thumbs are alongside and touching the first joint of the forefingers. Keep the thumbs straight along the seams of the trouser leg with the first joint of the fingers touching the trousers (Figure 4-1, page 4-2).
Friday afternoon I became aware of some facts: Barack Obama showed up at Dover AFB at 1230 and hung around until 0445; he asked all the families if he could be photographed beside their family members remains as they were being unloaded. 17 of the 18 families refused; so he hung around until he finally got permission; then he got the photo and he was out of there.
So what's going on here?
A) Obama went to Dover AFB to honor the dead, and he brought along the Whitehouse press pool & photographers to witness the event,
B) the President of the United States waited planeside for over four hours in order to receive a family's permission to be photographed saluting their boy's casket, and
C) a man with zero military experience is photographed executing a picture perfect parade-ground salute right out of Field Manual 3-21.5 Drill and Ceremony . . .
At STORMBRINGER we don't believe in coincidences, especially triple redundancy coincidences. Obama is a very shrewd operator; that everything he does is carefully calculated for pure political benefit.
Example: voting "present" 130 times - he didn't want to compromise future opportunities.
Example: going over to Germany to make a speech - spoke for 45 minutes and didn't say a thing - all that mattered was the photo op. He got the picture.
To me there is no speculation; this was an orchestrated event. Obama stalks bodies like some sort of ghoul until he strikes paydirt and gets the photo, but anybody who calls him on it is a sicko for daring to suggest those bodies were used as props.
"Alright, is everybody ready to go? It's zero-dark-thirty and we're going to Dover to honor the dead. Now this is some pretty serious stuff and we want to do it with the correct amount of dignity and discretion. So lets see here, have we got everything? Press Pool - CHECK! Photographers - CHECK! Right! That's all we're gonna need, LET's GO!"
So what is Obama’s motivation behind this staged event?
A) to demonstrate patriotic sentiment in order to deflect criticism when he does not approve McChrystal's troop requests, and in the future when he begins the withdrawal.
B) to deflect criticism from his lawn-dart domestic agenda (healthcare, the economy) - "oh look, the President really cares, he really IS one of us."
C) to deflect future criticism and questioning of his patriotism when he orders the withdrawal - "Obama went all around the world giving speeches apologizing for his country, badmouthing the USA." "Yeah, but he went to Dover and saluted flag-draped coffins - George Bush never did that. Obama really cares, and he's really a patriot who loves his country."
Obama has painted himself into a corner by talking tough on Afghanistan during the 2008 campaign. If he had come off as a pacifist, he would have risked losing the election. So he talked like a hawk on Afghanistan, to compensate for being a dove on Iraq.
Then in March 2009, not yet realizing what he was getting himself into, Obama said this to an audience of military veterans:
“al Qaeda and its allies – the terrorists who planned and supported the 9/11 attacks – are in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that al Qaeda is actively planning attacks on the U.S. homeland from its safe-haven in Pakistan. And if the Afghan government falls to the Taliban – or allows al Qaeda to go unchallenged – that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.
“The future of Afghanistan is inextricably linked to the future of its neighbor, Pakistan. In the nearly eight years since 9/11, al Qaeda and its extremist allies have moved across the border to the remote areas of the Pakistani frontier. This almost certainly includes al Qaeda’s leadership: Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. They have used this mountainous terrain as a safe-haven to hide, train terrorists, communicate with followers, plot attacks, and send fighters to support the insurgency in Afghanistan. For the American people, this border region has become the most dangerous place in the world….
“For the Afghan people, a return to Taliban rule would condemn their country to brutal governance, international isolation, a paralyzed economy, and the denial of basic human rights to the Afghan people – especially women and girls. The return in force of al Qaeda terrorists who would accompany the core Taliban leadership would cast Afghanistan under the shadow of perpetual violence.
“As President, my greatest responsibility is to protect the American people. We are not in Afghanistan to control that country or to dictate its future. We are in Afghanistan to confront a common enemy that threatens the United States, our friends and allies, and the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan who have suffered the most at the hands of violent extremists.
“So I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and to prevent their return to either country in the future. That is the goal that must be achieved. That is a cause that could not be more just. And to the terrorists who oppose us, my message is the same: we will defeat you.”
What happened next was General McChrystal, Obama’s handpicked commander in the field, took Obama’s directives at face value and came back with an ambitious plan that might, just might, accomplish it.
"Look, we gotta get away from looking at this thing like it's a war - let's start by calling it . . . a series of 'Overseas Contingency Operations' . . ."
So now Obama is trapped by his own words: if he trashes McChrystal’s plan and sends in significantly fewer troops, he will eventually have to downsize the goals he stated only 6 months ago.
"I hear what you're saying, like, you want to win this thing . . . how did you say it? 'Prevail on the battlefield'? . . . 'destroy the enemy's capacity to wage war, their will to win'? . . . yeah, well, uh-huh . . . let me tell you, back in Chicago I used to chair committee meetings and had to get people to sign petitions, and I've won a couple of elections so I know how hard it can be . . ."
I bet he splits the difference with just a little bit extra so it doesn't look like half - 25,000 - they stay for 14 months, then the withdrawals begin.