I have to admit that I've been feeling very dicey about the events in Libya these past few days. The world lost a committed proponent of diplomacy, deep tensions are flaring in a troublesome region, and political hay was cut and sold before the dust cleared.
There are even ominous rumblings of possible conspiracies to inflame religious passions ahead of the election. Wasn't there talk of right-wingers, even members of the government fanning anti-American sentiments leading up to crowds confronting the Secretary of State's motorcade in Egypt earlier this summer? We all know how badly scenes of rioting at our embassies in the Middle East and Northern Africa bode for our incumbent democrats. The false memes of Marines forced to forgo ammunition are raising their ugly heads again. So I've been on the edge of my seat the past few days.
Then, in the midst of the brouhaha about Mitt's disgustingly unbridled and naked opportunism, I had a profoundly calming thought. And it boils down to, "President Obama."
It may be so surprising because it has been a long time since I've felt this level of reassurance from the knowledge that our Commander-In-Chief is on the job. The last president doesn't deserve to have his name mentioned in the same diary with President Obama on any front. Clinton was good, he worked hard to keep us safe and develop ties through diplomacy, but I don't know that he was tested so fully as Obama has been. Papa Bush was the consummate CIA man, I always felt he was making things happen, but we were better off not knowing just what. Reagan, of course, blazed the trail of the hapless fool, the jester with the nuclear football.
So Mitt rushed in where he perceived weakness and opportunity for himself, as candidate, to make ground politically.
I've been in a semi-defensive position, wondering where the next steps will take us in this political game.
But that isn't where Barack Obama is. He told the nation what happened, and what his role is. He will bring the guilty parties to justice.
Maybe the foreshadowing for this situation is that wonderful quote from a recent interview, and I probably paraphrase, "There truly are times when you act as an American, and not as a member of a particular party."
So I trust him.
I trust President Obama to evaluate the situation, and find out what really happened, and what it means for the region, and for American interests in the region.
I trust President Obama to reach out to the countries involved, to make the most of this as an opening to clarify what we need them to do to foster a healthy relationship and provide assurances of safety for our facilities and people within their borders.
I would not be surprised to see him reach out to the people of those countries, as they exercise newfound freedoms, to remind them that we helped ensure the very freedoms they are exercising, and explain to them it is a fallacy to fault a nation for the destructive ways that a few individuals choose to exercise their private liberties.
I also forsee some specific military goals that may be met as a result of this tragedy.
Forensic teams have already been examining the compound in Benghazi. Serious firepower is sailing to the area. I fully expect the Libyan government will be providing whatever access and assistance we need to address the strong al Queda presence in the area. I don't think that stronghold will remain very long.
We'll remove many more top leaders and get fresh intelligence as a result of this. We're probably providing ample pressure on Egypt right now as well, and Mittens could well be facing news of the completion of a very successful cross-border mop-up of bin Laden's adherents by a coalition of Libya, Egypt, and the United States come mid-October.
And that will be fantastic. Not because it will dash Mitt's hopes and drams of his own self-importance, but because it is what the guy in charge is supposed to do. Ours is a leader who can lead. President Obama has the strength, courage, and intelligence to look at the hard facts of this tragedy, and find an opportunity to bring about a better tomorrow, for America and the world.