(This post had yet to be determined when the news of Bin Laden’s demise became public on Sunday night. I confess that this is not the spelling that I  prefer. I’m not sure it really matters that I even have a preference about the spelling of a terrorist’s name.)

So, if you will indulge me a moment of late night pontification I have a few thoughts about the recently departed Usama/Osama that may add absolutely nothing to the public discourse but I thought I would share ‘out loud’.

First, I am glad he is gone. I would have preferred a capture over a kill, but not because I am squeamish about his death (I am abstaining from the discussion about the morality of his death and our role in it for the time being). Rather, I wish he were still alive in custody because he may have been extraordinarily informative had he been taken alive. Then again, he may have already outlived his usefulness to his friends and enemies.

Second, I am glad it happened. Would I have preferred it to have happened on “my teams'” watch? You bet. Does it really matter (from a national security stand point) who gets the credit? Not really. Three cheers for the U.S. military and intelligence agencies.

Third, could this be Obama’s “Mission Accomplished” moment? I am totally going with my meandering mind as it takes me far from my expertise, but hear/read me out. I read the text from his speech to the American public. It made me…well, I didn’t like it. Originally, I thought the opening was good but now I don’t even like that.

What struck me initially was that the guy just can’t get past himself. He needs us to know that he was the one who ordered a renewed focus on finding Bin Laden. Uh, duh…you are the commander-in-chief, remember? The military can’t do much without you at least authorizing it.

Now take this need to pin the success of this objective on his vision/determination and fast forward a year or two (or maybe just a few months). What happens when the terrorists are still coming at us from all four corners of the earth? Will President Obama be up to the task? Will he be able to deliver a focused vision to thwarting current and future threats against our nation? I hope so for our safety’s sake, but I am not bursting with confidence.

If he isn’t careful, then this moment of celebration could turn into a political liability for him. Even with a compliant media this could back fire just like George Bush’s ill-conceived “Mission Accomplished” banner.

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“From our standpoint, you know, we think that this gives us a sense of momentum … when the United States has accolades tossed its way, rather than shoes,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters on Friday.

via State Department Lauds Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize by Making Jab at Bush – Political News – FOXNews.com.

Ummm…how’s that post-partisanship working out for you?

Critics, however, were stunned at the announcement, given the nomination deadline was Feb.1 — less than two weeks after Obama’s presidency began.

Ummm…the only thing things he had done at that point was announce that he was closing down Guantanamo and sign the $787 Billion stimulus bill.  So far, he hasn’t accomplished much with either one of those acts (Gitmo is still open and the economy still drags on with almost 10% unemployment).

Pink Elephant

This strikes me as an accurate representation of the GOP of the past couple of years.

First, when wound up the elephant plays the Brahms Lullaby melody.  Appropriate for those Republican members of congress who had been lulled into largess while sitting in the halls of power.

Second, this elephant is pink.  Now, I don’t have anything wrong with the color pink but traditionally speaking pink implies a feminine character.  Today’s GOP has definitely been emasculated (or feminized).

Third, notice that the head and the body are no longer attached.  Yeah, the (proverbial) head started coming unglued some time after the 2000 election of George W. Bush, but in the campaign leading up the 2008 election, the head actually fell off.  The conservative element of the party (the head, I believe) failed to successfully lead the party and as a result was torn asunder in the nomination of John McCain.  The remainder of the body (the heart, the legs, the *ahem* bottom) were left to wander aimlessly in search of validation from the mainstream media.

The analogy ends there (unless there are phoenix-like elephants of which I am unaware).  Draw your own conclusions, this is just a simple bit of analysis using my children’s stuffed pink elephant.

An article appearing in the Los Angeles Times is deliciously ironic.  The article is titled: White House declines to disclose visits by health industry executives

Here is the ironic part from the article:

As a candidate, President Obama vowed that in devising a healthcare bill he would invite in TV cameras — specifically C-SPAN — so that Americans could have a window into negotiations that normally play out behind closed doors.

Having promised transparency, the administration should be willing to disclose who it is consulting in shaping healthcare policy, said an attorney for the citizens’ group. In its letter requesting the records, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics asked about visits from Billy Tauzin, president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America; Karen Ignagni, president of America’s Health Insurance Plans; William Weldon, chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson; and J. James Rohack, president of the American Medical Assn., among others.

“It’s extremely disappointing,” said Anne Weismann, the group’s chief counsel. Obama is relying on a legal argument that “continues one of the bad, anti-transparency, pro-secrecy approaches that the Bush administration had taken. And it seems completely at odds with the president’s commitment . . . to bring a new level of transparency to his government.”

Ha!  Obama = Bush in more ways than one?  Who would have thought?

Now the question is: will people jump all over Barry the same way they smothered Dubya?

Below is a link to a letter to the editor found in my local newspaper, the Rutland Herald, by a Mrs. Lucy Nichol from Montpelier.  The title of the letter is: Obama Ends the Nightmare

It’s a short read, so I’ll quote it in full here:

[T]hese past eight years have been like some terrible nightmare. As an 87-year-old woman I never expected to see such gross violation of our privacy and civil rights and the justification of torture.

The people of the world cheered when they received the news of the change in administrations. Let the people know we believe in justice.

Please fill me in on what exactly qualifies as a nightmare because I fail to see how living in (still) the greatest country the world has ever seen (past, present, and future…at least until January 20, 2009???) has endured any kind of nightmare status over the last eight years.  There is one notable nightmarish exception: September 11, 2001.

Mrs. Nichol of Montpelier, VT claims to have witnessed a “gross violation of our privacy and civil rights” in addition to “justification of torture”.  How has this come to pass?  I realize that she is probably referring to the Patriot Act and that is something that is a topic about which I am not very well-read.  However, I have yet to see any government intrusion into my privacy that didn’t exist prior to the passage of the Patriot Act.  Has she?  Please tell us.

Perhaps she is talking about the much-maligned airport screenings that are routinely done on elderly women who have yet to ever pose a threat to the safety of airline travel.  I, for one, wouldn’t miss seeing elderly women being pulled aside at the airport screening gates as long as they are replaced by individuals who might actually be capable of executing some nefarious plot to hijack an airplane.  On the other hand, only being able to withdraw money from my savings account 6 times a month is rather inconvenient, but with a little bit of planning it is managable.

Which civil rights have been violated?  If she’s talking about the enemy combatants down in Guantanamo, then I must strenously object (Demi Moore in A Few Good Men).  They are called enemy combatants for a reason.  We’re at war with them!  Just because these men don’t look like regular soldiers in the emply of some sovreign nation doesn’t mean that they are free from detainment.  Our country is safer because they are there and our troops are safer in the field with those murderers locked up tight.  For anyone interested in the terms under which we are fighting this war, a good place to start would be Norman Podhoretz’s World War IV.

Why do we care what the people of the world think?  When Mrs. Nichol talks about the people of the world, I imagine that the people about whom she is referring are the newspaper and television editors that hold our capitalist country in the lowest regard no matter who is president.  Well, so what if the world cheered.  I am much more interested in what happens here then out there.  Our country is still the greatest country in the world, and there are probably many more people that would sacrifice a great deal to become a citizen of our country then there are people who hate us.  But I have no evidence for that theory, so take it for what it’s worth.

As for letting people know that we believe in justice…how did electing Barack Obama send that message?  Is it because he can artfully dodge any attempt to connect his ideology with unrepentent terrorists, America-hating preachers, or slimy real estate brokers?  Or maybe it’s his connections to the government subsidized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  Maybe it’s because he is willing to admit he wants to take money away from people who have earned it and give it to those who have hardly lifted a finger to get any.  I don’t know what it is about Obama’s election that makes it clear to the world that we believe in justice, but I’m not sure that I am seeing the same thing as Mrs. Nichol.

Somewhat of an aside…Mrs. Nichol is quick to point out how old she is (see one of my recent posts about older women blogging).  Does being 87 give some one a moral authority that allows them to avoid spelling out the details of their position?  Or maybe it’s being 87 and being a woman.  I don’t know and I’m not intending to be rude (although I can be certain that some one out there would find my remarks offensive and smelling of agism, or something like it).  Being older certainly merits attention because the reality is that octagenarians have had a lot more years of living than I have and those years of experience are something with which I can’t argue and for which I have the greatest respect.  That being said, telling us that the last 8 years have been a nightmare without really giving any concrete examples and seemingly hiding behind your age doesn’t carry a whole lot of water in the realm of thoughtful discussions.

I feel like I’m waging a campaign against 80-year-old women and their political positions.  Again, I mean no disrespect.

MW