Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Obama of Mayberry

Say what you will about President Obama’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize, but the last person on earth suited to criticize Obama vis-à-vis peace is John Bolton, the least diplomatic diplomat in American history. On FOX News, Bolton said the Nobel is a political tool that “high minded Europeans” only give to the “right kind” of Americans--who Bolton and his neoconservative buddies are decidedly not (one could hear Bolton’s little nose pores bleeding).

Bolton was, and continues to be, a national embarrassment. Even Dick Cheney, who ruled the Republican-controlled Senate of the Bush era with a chain whip, couldn’t get Bolton confirmed as Ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton made his bones with the Bush/Cheney mafia when he blared, “I’m here to stop the count” in Florida during the 2000 election. What a kinder, gentler world we would live in now if humanity learned to flick off the John Boltons of this world like sleeve lint.

Like many Americans, I have issues with the current president who I helped vote into office. I wish he had flushed his long-war Pentagon team—Gates, Petraeus, Mullen, and Odierno—from the outset. I wish Obama were less reticent to take a cheese-grater to his critics’ faces, but he proved he could do that in his health care speech to Congress. That event showed that Obama has a penchant for strategy and tactics that Sun Tzu would approve. Obama allowed his health care opponents to blow wind and crack cheeks all summer, letting them to reach their culmination point before counter-attacking.

I hope that’s what he’s up to with the Afghanistan pile of day-old horse lunch. Gen. Stanley McChrystal and the war mafia have made an all-fronts media assault on him, trying to force him into escalating a war in a country that barely qualifies as a nation-state. Obama has allowed what amounts to a military insurrection to take place and has kept his cool. He’s also managed to ward off the war-centric jackanapes in Congress: John McCain, Ike Shelton, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, Lindsey Graham, Joe Lieberman and the rest of those yahoos who insist that he needs to give McChrystal what he wants now, now, now. They remind one of the crown who hung out in Floyd’s Barber Shop in Mayberry.

Howard Sprague: I’m thinking we need to put more troops in Afghanistan.

Goober Pyle: That’s that I think too, if you can call what I think “thinking.”

Gomer Pyle: Shazam!

Floyd: That’s what General McChrystal wants, from what I see on the television, so I think we should give it to him. What do you say, Andy?

Andy Taylor: I think everybody needs to calm down and think a minute.

Opie Taylor: Gee, Pa, Emmitt the handyman says if we don’t fight them over there, we’ll be fighting them over here.

Andy: Well, son, that’s a mighty long way for them to swim and it’s an even longer way to jump.

Opie: Okay then, Pa, I’m going back outside to play baseball with the other kids.

Andy: Don’t break any windows, son.

Obama needs to shed himself of the foreign policy stooges he inherited. They’re baggage loaded with clothes that didn’t fit when we bought them, and the only thing they offer to our society is a propaganda organization designed to convince us that our existence depends on them blowing the third world to smithereens bit by bit.

Obama can’t can all the war stooges in a fell stroke, of course. Our politicians and generals all got where they are by learning how to trim their sails. It will take some time for Obama to unfurl the militaristic mess he walked into.

Here’s hoping he doesn’t lose interest in the project. Here’s praying he doesn’t turn into Barney Fife on us.

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword. Jeff's novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now.


  1. John Bolton always reminded me of an evil Muppet - with all due apologies to Kermit the Frog.

    He's the only person I've ever seen whose mustache preceded him into the room by a full minute.

    My competent, wise and patient grandfather (I used to hold his screwdrivers and pliers for him while he fixed things when I was a little kid) had a mustache, which prejudiced me toward them ever since. Bolton gives mustaches a bad name.

    I like the Andy Griffith parallel. Let's hope Obama keeps a clear head on this one. What McChrystal was doing with his pre-emptive speeches and television appearances was the most amazing piece of close-to-treason manoeuvering I've ever seen.

  2. Anonymous12:28 PM

    I see Bolton and Perle on serious news in the UK, newsnight, paxman not known for his docility, and no one ever says to them "For the past decade everything that has emerged from your mouth has been provably wrong, why on earth should we believe anything you say now"

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