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Betty Arenson: America is lacking leadership

Posted: September 13, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 13, 2013 2:00 a.m.

Leadership is an essential component in a president, especially when facing military conflict.

Leadership is rightly questioned when one’s leader is continuously mired in accumulating scandals, when he flits crisis to crisis and exhibits ambiguity and vacillation.

President Obama’s and Secretary of State John Kerry’s reasons for striking Syria fluctuate from violating Obama’s “red line” to use of weapons of mass destruction (1,429 killed with sarin gas) to America needing to show strength to Iran to crossing the “world’s red line” to saving refugees.

Clearly, dictator Assad is NOT to be punished.

Now Russia’s in the game — visibly taking Syria’s side. Obama got played, and his Tuesday speech merely reiterated our limbo.

On Sept. 4, Kerry said the U.S. knew of 11 chemical attacks before August this year. With 120,000-plus killed in Syria the past two years, why were the August murders suddenly offensive?

Many contest Kerry’s number, including Anthony Cordesman, a Center for Strategic and International Studies analyst, saying 1,429 number is “absurdly over-precise.”

Britain, France and the highly-regarded Syrian Observatory for Human Rights agree. Observatory head Rami Abdul-Rahman claims Syrian opposition groups exaggerated numbers to sway the U.S. (L.A. Times).

Obama flopped at the G20, yet he and Kerry say America has world allies supporting a strike. Competent leadership would tell those countries to unify, gear up their militaries, open their bank accounts and proceed accordingly.

Instead, President Obama is hustling Americans into the very actions he condemned as a senator and candidate.
Americans are war-weary and Obama-leery and know there are too many unanswered questions.

Between a dictating murderer, al-Qaeda and The Muslim Brotherhood and whatever else, who are the good guys? What is our guarantee the intelligence is precise?

Three days after 9/11, a congressional resolution to confront Iraq passed with a Senate vote of 98 to 0 and House vote of 420 to 1. Forty countries (Iraq Coalition Troops) joined the U.S. 

Later, President George W. Bush was eviscerated over “bad intelligence.” Irrespective of the fact that WMD were found, the “aye” voters jumped ship with “Bush lied people died.”

That prevarication diminished America.

What’s the credible goal now, considering Obama’s stated strategy of merely sending “a shot across the bow”?

Kerry repeatedly parrots “no boots on the ground,” yet he waffled when questioned by SFRC Chairman Robert Menendez, D-N.J., saying, “I don’t want to take off the table an option that might or might not be available to a president of the United States to secure our country. ...”

At the time, “Secure our country” was contradictory to Kerry’s declaration that intervention was for humanitarian reasons.

Aggregating the realities of Iraq/Afghanistan with the immense contradiction and lack of trustworthy leadership, over 70 percent of Americans are against American involvement in Syria’s civil war (CNN/ORC).

All vacillations aside, there is valid thought that a Syrian strike is a timely distraction from many other controversies boiling under this presidency. This includes the elephant in the room: nuclear Iran.

That’s another commentary subject, so for these purposes the home front will be addressed.

Shortly, Americans will face the train wreck of Obamacare colliding with another debt ceiling crisis.

We remain embroiled in investigations of the despicable, if not illegal, acts of the IRS; the NSA amassing records of private citizens’ personal information and activities; the secrecy of the “Fast and Furious” operation and theAmerican murders in Benghazi.

The Sept. 4 Levine Breaking News reported “State Dept. knew of Benghazi Risk,” continuing with “ independent panel of experts found the Department of State failed to protect America’s high-risk embassies and consulates despite knowing they were vulnerable.”

”The assessment, which visited all high-risk missions, reveals that the State Department failed to identify the problematic conditions, had no matrix for determining threatened posts other than ‘experience and intuition,’ and had no intelligence analyst on staff at the five high-risk facilities. 

“Even after Benghazi, security officials never debriefed survivors to review what went wrong.”

That official finding thoroughly explains former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s offensive testimony before Congress a mere four months after four Americans were slaughtered.

The country wanted answers but got her loud, cruel reply, “What difference does it make?”

Equally offensive is America’s leader never commenting on that hard-heartedness.

President Obama focusing on Syria versus the deaths of Americans — as in Fast and Furious and Benghazi — is not leadership.

A country lacking leadership is a country in peril.

Betty Arenson is a Valencia resident, has lived in the Santa Clarita Valley since 1968 and is active in a local Republican Club.


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