National Security & Defense

The Corner

The Obama Takeback

Today, both the Pentagon and the White House (in the form of Josh Earnest) went out of their way to make sure everyone knows Obama didn’t personally or specifically sign off on the drone attacks that tragically killed two hostages, including an American. 

This is curious. First of all, he’s still responsible, as he himself said in his press conference. He set up and approved a system that lets these attacks happen. There’s something cowardly about honorably taking “full responsibility” in public, and then having your flacks go out and stage whisper “It really wasn’t him.”

At first, when only the Pentagon went out of its way to let the world know Obama hadn’t “signed off” on these attacks, I assumed that it might be the Pentagon’s way of blaming the CIA for this screw-up, in effect saying “The president didn’t do it (and neither did we).” But now Earnest has said it too. Why? One possible reason is that he didn’t want to reveal this at all, but felt he had to because of the useful political timing of it. I’m not sold on this, but I don’t rule it out either. 

A more plausible, but hardly contradictory, explanation might have to do with his vanity. I can’t help but think the implication we’re supposed to take away is that if Obama-The-Righteous had been paying attention, mistakes like this would not have been made. The military bureaucracy has failed Obama, who famously reads Marcus Aurelius as he composes his kill lists. At least he avoided saying that he found out about these attacks by reading about them in the paper, but the upshot is the same. The president doesn’t make mistakes, others make mistakes implementing his will. 

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More
Elections

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More
U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More