Why Obama Is the Weakest President Since Ronald Reagan

The embassy attacks won't trump all the other things Obama has done.

On Aug. 31, 1983, a South Korean airliner flying from New York to Seoul drifted off course and entered Soviet airspace. After tracking the civilian plane for more than two hours, Soviet fighter pilots were told to shoot it down. They did, killing 269 people, including 60 Americans. It was one of the most shocking atrocities of the Cold War.

It occurred during the first term of perhaps the most staunchly anti-Communist president America has ever had, Ronald Reagan, an advocate of robust military power. And how did Reagan respond? He called it a "crime against humanity," and then, um, postponed some cultural exchanges with the Soviets.

Some of his admirers were aghast at this display, as Steven Hayward notes in his 2009 book, "The Age of Reagan." New York Times columnist William Safire said Reagan "has acted more pusillanimously than Jimmy Carter." Polls showed most Americans thought he had done too little, prompting the president to ask, "Short of going to war, what would they have us do?"

Conservatives invariably claim that any show of weakness emboldens aggressors and endangers peace. But just six years later, the Soviet empire collapsed. By 1991, the Soviet Union was gone. Maybe in his restraint, which looked disgraceful at the time, Reagan was acting wisely.

Barack Obama has never done anything that could compare to Reagan's limp response to this wanton slaughter of innocents. But conservatives with short memories regard Obama as the most feeble, weak-kneed president since ... well, since Jimmy Carter.

They are employing a narrative that has worked for them at least since the Carter era: Weakness breeds aggression, and strength deters it. Democrats are weak, and Republicans are strong. When anything goes wrong overseas under a Democratic president, it's because no one respects or fears him. Otherwise it wouldn't happen.

Of course, Democrats used to have great success depicting Republicans as the party of Herbert Hoover, whom they blamed for the Great Depression. But they had to give that up after Reagan presided over an economic boom. Reality no longer supported the narrative. Voters knew better.

That's the GOP's problem with Obama. He expanded the war in Afghanistan, used U.S. air power to topple Moammar Gadhafi, and rained drone missiles on terrorists in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Hmm. Was there something else? Oh, right! He killed Osama bin Laden.

Americans seem to have noticed. In the latest CNN/ORC International poll, Americans trust Obama more than Mitt Romney on foreign policy by a margin of 54 percent to 42 percent.

But in the aftermath of the violent protests this past week, Romney's campaign reverted to type. "It's a terrible course for America to stand in apology for our values," he said. His chief foreign policy adviser, Richard Williamson, insisted the demonstrations erupted because "the respect for America has gone down, there's not a sense of American resolve."

Really? So why was there a wave of fierce anti-American protests across the Middle East in 2003, as President George W. Bush was preparing to invade Iraq? The State Department was so alarmed it advised Americans to avoid 17 different countries across the region and beyond.

Our diplomats have nothing to fear when we're strong? Under Bush, there were violent attacks on American embassies in Yemen, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, India and Turkey. A U.S. diplomat was assassinated in Sudan. Another was murdered in Pakistan.

Those are not proof that Bush was weak or even wrong in his foreign policy. They are proof that the president of the United States is not the Lord of the Universe. Even if he does everything right, nasty developments will ensue.

Certainly they did under Reagan. A U.S. Army major carrying out routine monitoring in East Germany, as allowed under a U.S.-Soviet agreement, was shot to death by a Soviet sentry. An American reporter was arrested on phony espionage charges in Moscow, forcing Reagan to negotiate to get him released. A barracks in Beirut was blown up, killing 241 American military personnel.

But somehow, these episodes did not discredit Reagan among conservatives or the broader public. The embassy attacks likewise won't trump all the other things Obama has done.

The claim that the GOP represents strength against a president who is fatally weak and uncertain has worked for Republicans before. If the Democrats ever nominate Jimmy Carter, it might work again.

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It's campaign season. (Probably perpetually now.) Each party is struggling to define the other, because heaven knows they would turn voters off if they defined themselves.

  • Question of Auban||

    "He expanded the war in Afghanistan, used U.S. air power to topple Moammar Gadhafi, and rained drone missiles on terrorists in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Hmm. Was there something else? Oh, right! He killed Osama bin Laden."

    And in the process he has further trampled upon the liberties of Americans. And don't forget that he has summarilly executed U.S. Citizens using drones without even giving them a trial first.

    I wish to hell he WERE a weak president.

  • Question of Auban||

    "The embassy attacks likewise won't trump all the other things Obama has done."

    Such as further eroding our Constitutional rights, putting us even deeper in debt, and causing an increase in food and fuel prices?

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Reagan also limped out of Lebanon after 241 US Marines were killed by terrorists. But wingnuts will be wingnuts and they attack Carter out of their stupid fealty to Fat Rush's orders. Quite a few post here.

  • Question of Auban||

    I stopped listening to Rush even for seconds at a time after he claimed in an interview with Greta Van Sustern that "If the election were held today, I believe anyone could beat Barack Obama except Ron Paul." He has lost all credibility.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Actually, Carter and Ron Paul have more in common than RP does to Republicans/Obama. Both are dovish deregulators who didn't and wouldn't raise income taxes.

  • Question of Auban||

    If the only two people on the ballot were Jimmy Carter and Obama I would vote for Jimmy Carter. If the only two people on the ballot were Jimmy Carter and Mitt Romney I would vote for Jimmy Carter. If the only two people were Jimmy Cater and George W. Bush I would vote for Jimmy Carter. If the only two people on the ballot were Ron Paul and Jimmy Carter I would vote for Ron Paul. I will agree that Jimmy Carte is better than he is often given credit for.

    Ronald Reagan? Reading Murray Rothbard's contemporary writings on Ronald Reagan is quite enlightening. He is not the small-government low-tax president that he is often portrayed to be. No, Reagan was not the monster he is often painted to be by the left either. But he is certainly not the idol of conservatism that Rush claims he is.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    I voted for Reagan and would again under the exact same scenario.

  • Question of Auban||

    I was in elementry school when Reagan was president.

  • Drake||

    I was in High School when Carter was President. He became synonymous with failure and weakness.

  • Question of Auban||

    "He became synonymous with failure and weakness."

    So have Bush II and Bush III (who is sometimes called Obama).

  • wareagle||

    if you're voting for Carter under any circumstances, you have ceded all notions of credibility.

  • Question of Auban||

    "if you're voting for Carter under any circumstances, you have ceded all notions of credibility."

    Death by hanging is less painful than death by fire. But I should have specified that this is only assuming that the elections are free and fair, I am skeptical that our elections are now anything close to fair.

  • T o n y||

    The only thing the Rush-iverse knows about Carter is that he was a 1-term Democratic president, and that's the only reason they like comparing Obama to him: wishful thinking.

  • Question of Auban||

    Tony, it is interesting. My grandfather hated Carter for "giving up the Panama canal". When I was younger I did too. That is until I learned more about the circumstances under which the Panama canal came under U.S. Control - I now agree with Carter's decision to hand it over.

  • sarcasmic||

    I stopped listening to Rush when they went all keyboardy and shit, but then they got over it and I started listening to them again.

  • Question of Auban||

    Which of their albums is your favorite?

  • sarcasmic||

    2112 of course.

  • db||

    You can't discount that Grace Under Pressure is one of their best albums ever. The synth days of Rush may not have pleased the superficial fans looking for more Tom Sawyer, but they produced some excellent lyrics and brilliant music.

  • Pi||

    Their latest album should be a high water mark for what all aging 60 year old rockers should strive for, seriously. It's easily the best album they've put out in the wake of Moving Pictures.

  • db||

    It is a stunningly good album.

  • Drake||

    Yet our Ambassadors make the same idiotic mistake they did in Beirut - Marines on guard without ammo.

    One of the dumbest things Reagan did was preventing the Israelis from completing the destruction of the PLO.

    The Marines in Beirut (I knew several) did exact much payback, as did the USS New Jersey, before leaving.

  • Restoras||

    Must have sucked to be on the receiving end of 16" shells.

  • Calidissident||

    WTF were our marines doing there in the first place?

  • Drake||

    Saving the fucking PLO from the Israelis.

  • Lord Peter Wimsey||

    Well, I don't march to Fat Rush's orders, and I don't care for Republicans, but attacking Carter is what decent, thinking people do every day.

    Carter spent four years ass-raping the American economy while walking around with Arafat's balls in his mouth. He intervened on Arafat's behalf when Saudi Arabia tried to isolate the fat terrorist fuck. This was AFTER the White House had Arafat on tape ordering the murder of U.S. Ambassador to the Sudan, Cleo Noel. Carter even ghost-wrote some of Arafat's speeches.

    Non-intervention? Carter's policies were interventionist in the extreme, both as president and ex-president. He just preferred to intervene on behalf of terrorists and murderers. Fuck him and fuck anyone who won't attack him.

  • Question of Auban||

    I agree that Carter deserves to be attacked - he was a typical U.S. President. Like almost all U.S. Presidents he deseves to be attacked. On foreign policy he may have been bad but certainly not as bad as more recent U.S. Presidents.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Democrat Kirsten Powers:

    "I have defended the Obama administration against the complaints from the right that they have run an 'apology tour' in the Middle East because I believe the US should admit when we make mistakes, such as the accidental burning of Korans. But what we shouldn't do is affirm the wrongheaded view that people should be protected from the free speech of others.

    Worse, our leaders shouldn't let our enemies know that when they kill our people and attack our embassies that the US Government will act like a battered wife making excuses for her psychotic husband. Wake up: we weren't attacked because of a movie made by an American. We were attacked because there are crazy religious fanatics who hate the United States. We didn't ask for it.

    Egypt's President Morsi reportedly asked Obama 'to put an end to such behavior'—presumably freedom, constitutional rights and the like -- as it led to the making of, in his eyes, the offensive movie."

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion.....z26j8LNIA2

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    There were no apologies from Obama on that "tour" - that is another wingnut lie.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    You obviously can't fucking read:

    ""I have defended the Obama administration against the complaints from the right that they have run an 'apology tour' in the Middle East..."

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    She didn't explicitly call them liars like I am.

    She just said she defended Obama against "complaints".

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "She didn't explicitly call them liars like I am."

    Like anybody gives a fuck what you're calling someone.

  • wareagle||

    give me a goddamn break. The Obama tour, Europe during the campaign and Cairo after, was full of listing America's real and perceived sins. For a POTUS, that is horseshit.

  • Question of Auban||

    "We were attacked because there are crazy religious fanatics who hate the United States. We didn't ask for it."

    Who do you mean when you say "We"? Just curious. I will agree that I did not ask for it and Ron Paul did not ask for it. But those who have supported a belligerent foreign policy HAVE been asking for it. It is interesting you bring up battered wives. Sometimes wives put up with abuse for decades and then something relatively small that the husband does is a trigger, the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Sometimes the wives kill their husbands. The vermin in DC have been abusing these people for decades with their belligerent foreign policy. This movie, which I have not seen, may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Are you asking Kirsten Powers? She probably doesn't read the Reason comments.

  • Question of Auban||

    That depends, do you agree with Kirsten Powers on this issue? You have not indicated that you disagree. If you do agree with her I am asking YOU.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "That depends, do you agree with Kirsten Powers on this issue?"

    If the issue is, did "we" ask to be attacked because of some idiotic movie, then yes, I agree with her that "we" did not.

  • Question of Auban||

    "If the issue is, did "we" ask to be attacked because of some idiotic movie, then yes, I agree with her that "we" did not."

    So then I can only assume you agree that the United States government should have a non-interventionist foreign policy? "We" always includes oneself in the English language in case you need a refresher on your grammar.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "So then I can only assume you agree that the United States government should have a non-interventionist foreign policy?"

    Since this has nothing to do with the article, which is about whether free speech is a valid reason for attacking someone, I'll just let you assume whatever you want.

  • Question of Auban||

    Perhaps you did not read what you yourself posted. Kirsten Powers claimed: "Wake up: we weren't attacked because of a movie made by an American. We were attacked because there are crazy religious fanatics who hate the United States. We didn't ask for it."

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "you yourself"

    When you're finished with the lesson on redundancy we'll talk about articles and themes.

  • Question of Auban||

    You are evading the core issue. And, perhaps you have never heard of the concept of emphasis.

  • wareagle||

    Powers is more right than wrong. Obama's pre-campaign European tour and post-election Cairo speech was chapter and verse on America's real and imagined wrongs. That is bullshit. Violence as the default reaction to anything is who these barbarians are.

  • sarcasmic||

    A lot of people think that when Ron Paul and others say that the 9/11 attacks were a result of foreign policy, that they are legitimizing the attacks. As if Ron Paul says the attacks were deserved. That's totally a straw man argument.

    If you go around poking people in the chest do you deserve to be kissed upside the head with a baseball bat? Probably not.

    But would you have been attacked had you not gone around poking people in the chest? Again, probably not.

  • Question of Auban||

    Very good analogy.

  • SugarFree||

    If you admit that they are any consequences to military adventurism and international bullying, the terrorists win.

  • John||

    The underlying assumption with your analogy is that people who are being poked are in no way aggressive or have their own reasons for conflict. That of course is not true. People like Ron Paul believe that 9-11 was the result of US actions for two reasons.

    1. They refuse to understand that there are some actions and things that are beyond the country's control.

    2. They refuse to believe that some people in the world cannot be placated or reasoned with.

    The sad fact is that Paul undercuts his own arguments about foreign policy by peddling this fantasy. Our foreign policy may be bad. There may be good reasons to do things differently. But "it will get them to stop hating us and prevent things like 9-11" isn't one of them. His refusal to understand that is why Paul couldn't get above 30% in the primaries even though he is right about virtually everything else.

  • Fluffy||

    I don't think that a Paul foreign policy approach would suddenly make Islamic fanatics love rainbows and unicorns.

    But completely transforming these assholes into peace-loving nonviolent conflict mediation specialists isn't necessary. All that's necessary is to make the US irrelevant to their disputes.

    If they hated us for our freedom, they should have hated us even more 100-150 years ago, when we were more free and they were more pre-modern. But they didn't give a damn about the United States at all. We were completely irrelevant to their concerns. The only time the US came up in an Arab's mind in 1925, it was when they were thinking, "Hey, those Americans got their independence from Britain, maybe we can, too!"

  • John||

    All that's necessary is to make the US irrelevant to their disputes.

    Which is impossible. A 150 years ago there wasn't any such thing as a mass media. So it didn't matter what we did here. With mass media, our very existence is a threat to them and their way of life. There is no way to get around that.

  • Randian||

    With mass media, our very existence is a threat to them and their way of life. There is no way to get around that.

    That might be the funniest thing I will read all day.

    I assume you have some sort of evidence that the clans and tribes of Southwest Asia will gather for their weekly 'let's hate American Celebrity Women for their ankles' Falafel Night.

  • John||

    If you want evidence, perhaps you should visit the Middle East. First, we were not attacked by the tribes of Afghanistan on 9-11. We were attacked by Saudi Arabians and Egyptians. Go to those countries sometime. And what you will see is a lot of people who given a choice would love to come to the US and live just like Americans. And a few other people who are religious fanatics who incredibly insecure about themselves and their religion.

    They don't hate us for our "freedoms". They hate us for out culture and our way of life. The western way of life is totally antithetical to a religious Islamist way of life. But, most people given a choice will choose and are choosing the former. No amount of fortress America talk and apologizing is going to change that.

  • sarcasmic||

    The goalposts are moving! The goalposts are moving!

  • John||

    Would you shut up. The adults are talking. Go jerk off to that women in the Daily Fail who has no body fat or something.

  • sarcasmic||

    Go jerk off to that women in the Daily Fail who has no body fat or something.

    Ad-hominem for the win! Go Red Tony! You're The Awesome!

  • Fluffy||

    150 years ago there wasn't any such thing as a mass media. So it didn't matter what we did here. With mass media, our very existence is a threat to them and their way of life. There is no way to get around that.

    100-150 years ago, the Arabs hated the British, the French, and the Turks, and didn't give a damn about the US one way or the other.

    That was not due to the lack of mass media.

    It was due to the fact that the British, French and Turks wanted to rule the Arabs, and we didn't.

    They didn't hate the Turks because of their freedom. They didn't hate the Turks because of their alien way of life. They didn't hate the Turks because of mass media depictions of brazen Turkish harlots.

    They hated the Turks because the Turks had conquered them and ruled them.

  • John||

    It was due to the fact that the British, French and Turks wanted to rule the Arabs, and we didn't.

    That is true. And we still don't want to rule them. If we did, we would have invaded and taken over Egypt and installed a colonial government. We have never done that in a single middle eastern country. So you can't say we are like the Turks. We are not. Both Afghanistan and Iraq have their own governments and are anything but colonies. And we had never so much as invaded a middle eastern country before 9-11.

    So you cannot say that 9-11 happened because we were like the Turks and the British.

    Try again.

  • Fluffy||

    The British effectively ruled Egypt during the reign of Khedive Tewfiq.

    In fact, you had a situation at that time where Egypt was nominally part of the Ottoman Empire, but was actually being ruled by a local strongman, who was the pawn of the British.

    But despite the apparent complexity of the situation, the Egyptian populace didn't have very much trouble figuring out who to hate: first the British, then the Turks, then the Khedive, and a little leftover hate for France for old time's sake.

    Direct rule isn't necessary, dude.

  • John||

    Direct rule isn't necessary, dude.

    So the US effectively ruled Egypt under Mubarak the way the Engish did in the 18th Century?

    You have any evidence for that? Come on fluffy, that is complete horseshit and you know it. You are so wedded to this idiotic argument you are reduced to claiming that the US effectively ruled Egypt from 1980 to 2011.

    That is called losing an argument.

  • Marshall Gill||

    But they didn't give a damn about the United States at all. We were completely irrelevant to their concerns.

    The two Barbary Wars? Oh, you mean after we kicked the shit out of them they left us alone?

  • Fluffy||

    Of all the historically-illiterate nonsense that neocons have been trained to spout, this is probably the worst.

    The Barbary pirates didn't give a damn about our freedom or way of life either. They stole from everybody they could.

    You may as well claim that Jean Lafitte hated our freedoms.

    I can't decide whether this is the stupidest thing people say about history, or whether "The Munich conference proved that Churchill was right and you should never negotiate ever!" is stupidest.

  • Azathoth!!||

    The Barbary Pirates justified what they did in the name of Islam.

    They didn't know dick about the US, it's freedoms or our way of life.

    And our country, being 25 years old, didn't have much of a foreign policy at all--but they most certainly were not meddling in the Middle East at the time.

    The problem, Fluffy, is that then, as now, they justify themselves in the name of Islam.

    Perhaps we can, from this, conclude that the problem is not anything we're doing but rather the problem has to do with Islam itself.

  • ||

    BINGO!

    I just posted this quotation yesterday on here as well:

    It was written in their Koran, that all nations which had not acknowledged the Prophet were sinners, whom it was the right and duty of the faithful to plunder and enslave; and that every mussulman who was slain in this warfare was sure to go to paradise. He said, also, that the man who was the first to board a vessel had one slave over and above his share, and that when they sprang to the deck of an enemy's ship, every sailor held a dagger in each hand and a third in his mouth; which usually struck such terror into the foe that they cried out for quarter at once.

    Letter from Thomas Jefferson and John Adams in 1785 describing the response from Tripoli's ambassador Sidi Haji Abdrahaman when queried "...concerning the ground of the pretensions to make war upon nations who had done them no injury".

    Must have been BOOOOSH!

  • sarcasmic||

    Great straw man, Red Tony! Your Halloween decorations must be pretty awesome!

  • Randian||

    His refusal to understand that is why Paul couldn't get above 30% in the primaries even though he is right about virtually everything else.

    I love the part of the comments section when one particularly solipsistic individual claims that "if only Candidate X would believe in Y (where the value for Y is 'what I the commenter happen to believe') then he would have been successful".

  • Question of Auban||

    John,

    Suppose the guy hitting you with the baseball bat is telling you “The reason I am hitting you with a baseball bat is because you are poking my friends and I in the chest.” I would see a pretty strong connection between the two. Osama Bin Laden and other members of al-Qaida have TOLD us in videos and other media that the reason for the attacks is our foreign policy.

  • John||

    Considering that Al Quada has attacked countries like Norway and Indonesia and Spain that have no such foreign policy, that would seem to be not the case.

  • Randian||

    Indonesia was a strike against Westerners.

  • John||

    Westerners not Americans. That is the point.

  • Question of Auban||

    Spain was attacked because it was an ally of the US in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Indonesia it was Australians who were targeted at a resort. Australia was also an ally of the USA in Iraq and Afghanistan. It pays to be friends of the vermin in DC doesn't it!

  • John||

    Yeah Auban,

    Al Quada murdered a bunch of tourists in Bali because of Australia's government. That is total fantasy. They attacked Bali because Bali was a place where Muslims and Christians got along and Muslims were westernizing. They blew up a night club. There is a reason for that.

  • Question of Auban||

    Funny, I don't remember hearing any bin Laden message railing against Bali Muslims and Christians' westernizing. But I do remember several railing against the foreign policy of vermin in DC.

  • John||

    That is because you were not paying attention and hearing what you wanted to hear. They could have struck a lot of places. They chose Bali for a reason. They choose Bali because of what was happening there. If they just wanted to attack Australia, they would have blown something up in Sydney. But they didn't do that.

  • Question of Auban||

    "That is because you were not paying attention and hearing what you wanted to hear. They could have struck a lot of places. They chose Bali for a reason."

    OK, in that case I await your link to a youtube video in which an al quida spokesperson says that the reason for the attack in Bali is because of Bali's westernization.

  • ||

    Well, thankfully propagandists never lie, so I ALWAYS trust the stated intentions and motivations of any political, religious, or terrorist organization. For example, did you know that all Hitler wanted was native German resettlement of the Sudetenland? What, you actually think he hates Jews and wants to commit genocide? Really? You got any links? Because that's not what he said!

  • sarcasmic||

    The underlying assumption with your analogy is that people who are being poked are in no way aggressive or have their own reasons for conflict.

    No. When you go poking aggressive people in the chest, you shouldn't act all surprised when they punch you in the mouth.

    Derp!

  • ||

    These might be the stupidest analogies ever conceived, but John's is much closer to reality. It's more like going to a bar with a mixed crowd, running into some guy who is bitter enemies with a couple of your best friends and hates you by extension, having him heckle you and call you a faggot all night, til he finally throws a beer bottle at your head, and then you go over to confront him and get into a brawl. Sure, if you had different friends, or if you stayed home instead of going to the bar you wouldn't have gotten hit upside the head with a beer bottle or gotten into a brawl, but your choice of friends and venue isn't a real reason to call you out and throw a beer bottle at your head.

  • Calidissident||

    Why does everyone assume this has to be an either/or situation? I mean, is it not possible for there to be more than one contributing factor? I would agree that the culture over there makes it more prone to resort to violent terrorism. That doesn't mean the government's foreign policy doesn't motivate people to act against the US, or make it easier for the radicals to recruit new members and gain sympathy from the general population. And the supposedly biggest threat to the US (Iran) is a classic case of blowback. We would not be dealing with that if not for the 1953 coup. And don't you think that the fact that Ron Paul is right on virtually everything else, and the establishment is wrong on virtually everything else, is a clue that maybe he isn't wrong on this and they aren't right?

  • Marshall Gill||

    But would you have been attacked had you not gone around poking people in the chest? Again, probably not.

    Because the only people attacked are American? The only countries to be attacked by Islamists are ones with aggressive foreign policies?

    Theo Van Gogh made a movie showing how evil Islam is to women. Is that "poking people in the chest"? There couldn't have been a more pacifistic person in the world.

    Any chance, ANY chance that Islam has something to do with it? The US has been fighting with Islamic powers since our inception. If our President had prayed facing Mecca five times a day for the past 100 years they could still go to the time we "poked them in the chest" when Jefferson invaded Tripoli.

  • Randian||

    I guess that this must be the ideal state of affairs. After all, no one in the American Government has done anything wrong, so all of this is just hunky-dory.

  • John||

    Sure they did things wrong. But even if they had been perfect, we would still have a lot of enemies. As I said above, the point is not that US foreign policy is perfect or the US is without sin. It is that whatever those flaws are, fixing them isn't going to get religious Islamists to stop hating us or making war on us.

  • sarcasmic||

    It is that whatever those flaws are, fixing them isn't going to get religious Islamists to stop hating us or making war on us.

    No one is making that argument except you and your straw man.

  • John||

    Then you are not making an argument. If you are not arguing that changing this will get them to stop making war on us, what the hell is your point?

  • sarcasmic||

    what the hell is your point?

    My point is that you are wrong when you claim that the attacks were a result of them "hating our freedoms" or whatever Red Tony nonsense you like to spout.

    When you get stung by hornets after stirring up their nest, it's pretty dumb to go blame the hornets for it.

    Which is exactly what you are doing.

    That's my point.

  • John||

    Then your argument is that if we change they will stop making war on it.

    So stop accusing me of making strawmen when in the next post you admit to the very argument.

  • sarcasmic||

    Then your argument is that if we change they will stop making war on it.

    You could infer that, but I'm not making that argument. I'm not saying anything about what our government should do, or how they would react.

    I'm saying that you are wrong when you hold our government completely and totally blameless for 9/11.

    That is all I am saying.

    Nothing more than that.

    You are wrong.

    That is my only point.

  • John||

    You could infer that, but I'm not making that argument. I'm not saying anything about what our government should do, or how they would react.

    Then you are just crying over spilled milk and don't have a point. If changing things wont' get them to stop making war on us, who cares what caused it in the past?

  • sarcasmic||

    Then you are just crying over spilled milk and don't have a point.

    Yes, John, I do have a point. My point is that you are wrong.

    If changing things wont' get them to stop making war on us, who cares what caused it in the past?

    I'm just trying to be honest. That's not something you know much about when you're being Red Tony. Maybe you should learn.

    Now that you've moved the goal posts, let the personal attacks begin!

    Go Red Tony!

  • ||

    John is usually on the losing end of these arguments, but I hate to admit it - he's got you here. You're acting like a child and your argument, to the extent that you have one, amounts to "NUH UH!" A particular foreign policy stance is embedded in your logic, but you don't want to own it because you know that John has a point. That 9/11 wasn't all about American troops in the House of Saud (which happened decades earlier), or previously non-existent American colonialism in the middle east. And if it wasn't all about that - if we didn't wholly and completely bring 9/11 on ourselves, if the fundamentalist religious extremists who perpetrated the act actually do bear some responsibility for their actions, the "they're over here because we're over there" meme suddenly has a hint of complication to it.

  • sarcasmic||

    Any chance, ANY chance that Islam has something to do with it?

    Is there ANY chance that the hornets that stung you may have resented your stirring up their nest?

  • Question of Auban||

    "Is there ANY chance that the hornets that stung you may have resented your stirring up their nest?"

    Brilliant!!! I love it!

  • ||

    Simplistic bumper stickers comparing complex human interactions to irrational, non-thinking insects. Yes! Perfect! Home run! Hoorah! Hear hear!

  • Azathoth!!||

    None whatsoever. Hornets can't resent.

  • Randian||

    This movie, which I have not seen, may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

    Reverse American Exceptionalism strikes again.

    Not everything every nation or group of peoples does or does not do is in response to the American Government's actions. I wish we would stop being so narcissistic.

  • John||

    ^^THIS^^ The movie might have had something to do with the incident in Egypt. But it had nothing to do with what happened in Libya or elsewhere. That it did is just being peddled as a lie to cover up the fact that the State Department had no security around an ambassador in a unstable area with intelligence that said there was going to be an attack.

  • Question of Auban||

    "Not everything every nation or group of peoples does or does not do is in response to the American Government's actions. I wish we would stop being so narcissistic."

    I thought Randians were individualists? Who is "we". But we need only listen to what the actors here say to discern their motives. They have told us many times - over and over - it is the foreign policy of the vermin in DC that motivates them.

  • ||

    And as I pointed out earlier, you can ALWAYS trust propagandists from terrorist organizations to tell you the truth.

    Nevertheless, I don't think the American government sponsored the YouTube video that we have been told is responsible for instigating these killings and demonstrations, so you'll have to find some new copypasta anyway.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "The vermin in DC have been abusing these people for decades with their belligerent foreign policy. This movie, which I have not seen, may have been the straw that broke the camel’s back."

    There would be a point here if some "vermin in DC" had made "this movie"

  • Question of Auban||

    The movie may have been a spark but the reason the riots got as large and lasted as long as they did indicates other causes. Osama Bin Laden and other members of al-Qaida have TOLD us in videos and other media that the reason for their attacks is our foreign policy.

  • ||

    ...indicates other causes.

    Nope, that can't be. Simply can't. We can't infer that information. Because we were TOLD that the YouTube video is the reason for these demonstrations. We were TOLD! And we are obligated to take terrorist organizations at their word. After all, they TOLD it to us!

  • Bill||

    It's just a coincidence that it happened on the anniversary of 9-11.

  • Marshall Gill||

    There is just too much stupid in this article to even know where to begin. I think the fact that Shriek agrees with Chapman says it all. Stupid agreeing with stupid.

  • Mike M.||

    Chapman is even more brazen in trying to get his boy reelected than Weigel was in trying to get him in four years ago.

  • Drake||

    What a stupid article. The Cold War was a completely different situation than today's world. Fell free to debate whether or not Obama is a wimp (I'll give a reserved yes), but comparisons to what Reagan was dealing with are meaningless.

    During the Cold War, we faced a determined enemy with whom we were very evenly matched in terms of conventional and nuclear weapons. "Retaliation" against the USSR is a stupid idea.

    As for the Islamic terrorists of the day, they were the equivalent of buzzing gnats while we were staring down the Russian Bear. Back then the President didn't brag on TV when SEALs killed a few.

  • Randian||

    Yes, a measured response in the face of an enemy who has 10,000 nuclear weapons is not the same thing as a measured response to an enemy who likes to grenade cafés and schoolyards.

  • Question of Auban||

    "But in the aftermath of the violent protests this past week, Romney's campaign reverted to type. "It's a terrible course for America to stand in apology for our values," he said."

    I am certainly no Romney fan and I strongly disagree with most of his foreign policy stances but if ... and I mean IF - what he is referring to is apologizing for a stupid movie that may or may not have sparked the riots I would agree. The U.S. government has done many, many horrible things in Southeast Asia and Northern Africa – things it would be very appropriate to apologize for. But we should NEVER apologize for freedom of speech. People in this country have the right to insult any religion or sacred cow they want. I have not seen the video in question and cannot speak to its veracity or quality – but people have a right to say even very hurtful things. This tradition of free speech is something to be proud of.

  • Question of Auban||

    Make that Southwest Asia, although decades earlier it did horrible things in Southeast Asia as well.

  • Plisade||

    I watched the "trailer" on youtube this weekend. It is horrible, in terms of movie quality, in every way. I just can't believe anyone would take it seriously enough to riot and kill over.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "I watched the 'trailer' on youtube this weekend. It is horrible, in terms of movie quality, in every way. I just can't believe anyone would take it seriously enough to riot and kill over."

    It's not a reason to kill over. This is:

    "A pro-al Qaeda group responsible for a previous armed assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is the chief suspect in Tuesday's attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya, sources tracking militant Islamist groups in eastern Libya say.

    They also note that the attack immediately followed a call from al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri for revenge for the death in June of a senior Libyan member of the terror group Abu Yahya al-Libi."

    On Monday Ayman al-Zawahari calls for revenge for a Libyan terrorist killed in a drone strike and the Stevens is killed on Tuesday, but people are still talking about a ridiculous movie.

  • sarcasmic||

    Duh! Of course people are going to blame the movie! Can't blame Dear Leader or The Troops for inciting violence by killing people! Oh no! It's because of some obscure youtube video that no one has ever heard of! Couldn't be a result of the actions of the government!

  • Question of Auban||

    Brilliant!

    Why would anyone be the slightest bit upset at having bombs dropped in their neighborhood killing friends and family members? It must be that movie!!

  • sarcasmic||

    Why would anyone be the slightest bit upset at having bombs dropped in their neighborhood killing friends and family members? It must be that movie!!

    You got it! John Red Tony would be proud!

  • ||

    Yeah, that makes total sense. Because Libya despises us for bombing the shit out of Ghaddafi and installing our imperial puppet regime and all those ground troops who wantonly rape and kill their women and children.

    Oh, wait a minute. They actually begged us to intervene, and we don't have any combat troops stationed there. OOPS. Gonna need a new bumper sticker now.

  • wareagle||

    It's not a reason to kill over.

    the strain of Islam involved does not reasons, just excuses.

  • Question of Auban||

    "the strain of Islam involved does not reasons, just excuses."

    I am impressed with your knowledge of the doctrines of Islamic branches. Where did you study Islamic theology?

  • Redefiler||

    There are honest studies of Islamic theology? I think you can cover Islam and all it's 'mysteries' in one short sitting. It's a religious cult, and Muslims believe their religious cult is a waiver from exercising their brains. In a lot of significant cases, a waiver from behaving themselves in an international context, especially when it comes to killing civilians (our's, other countries', their own).

    The study of Islamic theology is inherently flawed in the same way a study of Harry Potter theology is, because you have to elevate the 'theory' based not on real content but on superstitious filler. If you want to teach about Islam, here's the most relevant fact to modern humans: if you want to increase your risk of become a loser on planet Earth, there's no better method than becoming a Muslim. Your odds of increasing your wealth are tiny, getting laid are severely diminished, risk of beheading astronomically increases and your available cultural literature art is comparatively non-exsisntent/non-accessible/non-relevant. The worst places on the planet are almost all in Muslim countries. All this plus you can't relieve any boredom of living in a horrible climate under horrible conditions, thru masturbation, without fear of getting blackmailed into suicide bombing. Thus is Islam, spoketh the prophet.

    Are there some amazing parts of Islam that I missed? I gotta warn you, I'm not a Coldplay fan, so shitty imagery and shrill meandering poetry are not going to rate.

  • ||

    Wait, you mean a thorough study of an issue is important to weighing in on its effects on international geopolitical events? I thought that since al Qaeda TOLD us that their understanding of Islam justifies killing that that was enough? I mean, they TOLD us that American foreign policy is responsible for their terrorist activities, and we take them at the word, right? Are you saying you don't believe al Qaeda when they TOLD us about their violent understanding of Islam and jihad? How could you possibly question that? I mean, they TOLD us!

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Needz moar "Wow".

  • db||

    I'll buy that for a nickel, LOL.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    So a passenger plane is shot down after deviating into Soviet airspace, and Reagan blames the Soviets, not the pilot, for a "crime against humanity."

    Organized "rioters" break into an American embassy and kill several people, including the ambassador, and Obama blames a movie.

    Yeah, totally the same thing. Nailed it again, Chapman!

  • Fluffy||

    If "willing to engage in authoritarianism and extraconstitutional violence" = strong, then by any conceivable standard Obama has been "strong" and Reagan was "weak".

    Obama is probably the "strongest" Chief Executive in the western hemisphere since Pinochet stepped down, actually.

    Chapman might have included here that the reason Obama is portrayed as weak because stupid children weight symbolic nonsense higher than actual actions. So if Obama gives lying speeches where he mumbles apologies while drone-murdering anyone he wants, those idiot children see the completely empty and worthless words of his speech as "Runnin' down 'Mericuh!" and declare him feckless.

    The problem with Obama is feck.

  • sarcasmic||

    Yeah! Feck him!

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Fargin' Bastiches. Iceholes!

  • sarcasmic||

    Deck! I'm gonna betchslap you, shetbag!

  • John||

    The problem is that he is the worst of both. You are right. It is hard to call someone who has used drone strikes so frequently "weak". But remember why he uses drones. He uses drones so much because he doesn't have the strength or the vision to capture and try these people either through the civilian courts or military tribunals. But he knows he can't just let them operate. So he takes the easy way out and just kills anyone he thinks might be a threat.

    In one sense that is anything but weak. In another sense it is totally weak and cowardly. At the same time, publicly, he is totally obsequious to these people. Put those two together and it is no wonder no one has any respect for him.

  • Fluffy||

    Yes, of course.

    I have a completely different standard of strong and weak, by which Obama is utterly weak.

    But the conventional standard is "Who bombs the most and obeys the Constitution the least?" and by that standard Obama is Duke Nukem.

  • Randian||

    "Hail to the King, baby"

    His Lordship the Imperator is coming to my town again today. Yay...traffic snarls and a shut down city center! Thanks for 'stimulating the economy', m'lord.

  • John||

    Part of what made Reagan a "strong" President was that he was totally unapologetic about the country and its values. He called the Soviet Union what it was. That made a huge difference. Obama in contrast is exactly the opposite. How you defend your country and values intellectually is just as or more important than how you defend it with bombs. And on that account, Obama is a complete failure.

  • wareagle||

    I continue to find it amazing how the anti-war morons camped out in DC religiously in the early months of Iraq, but are struck dumb when Obama engages in serial droning. That part of the left evidently deactivates during Repub administrations.

  • Bill||

    Obama has been running for re-election since before he took office, ok, maybe not that long, but just about.

    He is willing to violate almost any principle that he and his party claim they hold in order to NOT give the Republitards ammunition to use against him.

    Hence, no tax raises, no rational drug policy, no backing off Gitmo or the Patriot Act, and no decrease in the military or in wars abroad. He also knows that wars make American president's popular at least initially.

    So he is being a very good politician, but a horrible human being. But he'll probably get re-elected. He is also very arrogant, maybe even more arrogant than Bush and Romney.

    They all suck, they are and will continue to fuck this country up and there is nothing we can do about it except vote our conscience and hope enough do that people will take notice. Then when things go really, really bad, maybe we'll have a shot. Or maybe we'll end up with an even more authoritarian gov't but eventually people will notice and change it and it will have happened under progressives and neo-cons.

  • Almanian's Evil Twin||

    Obama's not weak in the "kills lots of brown people" sense. He feeds the warboner well. He's weak in the "follows the constitution" sense, or in terms of "at least do something helpful instead of fucking up everything more if you're going to trample the constitution ."

    So "weak"? Nah. He's just "awful".

  • Drake||

    He "Followed the Constitution" in Libya? Which part of the Constitution gives the President to make war without Congress?

  • SugarFree||

    Please submit your sarcasometer for calibration.

  • Drake||

    It's in the shop now - Chapman broke it.

  • SugarFree||

    Send him the bill.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Chapman just wanted Reagan to nuke Moscow for the KAL shoot down. It would have been the only way to be sure.

  • Tim||

    He does seem resentful.

  • Drake||

    Maybe Chapman wanted Reagan to arrest the Producers of "Red Dawn" (I think the movie came out a few months after KAL). Obviously we provoked them. It would have been Obama's "strong" solution.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Ouch - that one stings!

  • SugarFree||

    Pro-tip: Taking a girl named Dawn to see Red Dawn on a first date is a bad idea.

  • Drake||

    Was she a commie? That would be ironic.

  • SugarFree||

    She was too tall to be a commie. Blonde demon witch, but not a commie.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    It's all very well to mutter vaguely that the U.S. government should be "strong" or should "get tough". But the people saying these things always seem rather short on specifics.

  • Drake||

    Instead of apologizing, tell the Islamic world - "Tough shit, we have free speech here."

  • Fluffy||

    Don't look for specifics. If you go by specifics, Obama has done every last thing that people demanded Carter do.

    All the stuff Carter didn't do that led to people calling him weak? Obama does it. It doesn't make any difference.

    Bomb people, assassinate people, intervene in internal politics, take sides in civil wars, topple governments, ratchet up sanctions, occupy countries with boots on the ground. All of it. Obama's done it all. It doesn't make any difference.

    We make fun of the peacenik left because they continue to support Obama - stupidly. They're stupid, because they mistake Obama's rhetoric for the substance of his rule. Those dumbasses! But here's the thing: the people complaining Obama is too weak are doing the same thing. They are also dumbasses.

  • John||

    But here's the thing: the people complaining Obama is too weak are doing the same thing. They are also dumbasses.

    No they are just partisans trying to win an election.

    The peaceniks are worse because they are going to turn right around and find a fierce moral urgency as soon as the other team is in office.

  • Question of Auban||

    "The peaceniks are worse because they are going to turn right around and find a fierce moral urgency as soon as the other team is in office."

    I thought I should point out that not ALL peaceniks are sniveling leftist hypocrites, though many of them are. The folks at antiwar.com are VERY consistent and principled. From all indications Cindy Sheehan also seems to be a very principled person who is consistent in her criticism of war. But I will agree that many of those who protested when Bush II was in office seem oddly silent now that Bush III is in office.

  • ||

    Ok, if I was going to be cynical and give the GOP some advice I would tell them to make the following argument:

    "People voted for Obama, because they thought Bush's policies on the War on Terror, Iraq, and Guantanmo, were wrong. The Democrats argued against those policies. They said that Guantanamo was torture, that the war in Iraq was lost, and that the war on terror had destroyed our civil liberties. Well, as it turns out Obama changed his mind pretty quickly once in office. He kept the Guantanamo Bay detention center open, the surge worked, and he followed Bush's timeline to withdraw our troops from Iraq, he's continued our policy of targeting Islamic terrorists with drone strikes, he's supported the Patriot act and given our intelligence services the tools they need to keep America safe.
    All those things were Republican policies that the Democrats argued against. So let's just say it right out. We were right. They were wrong, and once they got into office and looked at the intelligence and the facts, they realized it too. The fact that Obama continued and expanded Bush's policies once in office is an admission that those were the correct policies.

    Obama and the Democrats should stop running against Bush, considering they've adopted his foreign policy, and just admit that they were wrong to attack his foreign policy in the first place. "

  • Mongo||

    According to most Republicans I mingle with, Obama freed all of the Gitmos; didn't surge enough in Afghanistan; and gutted the Patriot Act.

  • ||

    See, they've got completely the wrong idea about this. Obama adopting their policies proves them right. That's the line they ought to be taking.

  • Mongo||

    Must be the skin color.

  • ||

    No, they're just so used to being on opposite side of the partisan divide that they don't recognize when Democrats are agreeing with them. It's confusing and unfamiliar.

  • Azathoth!!||

    It's because they adopt the policies while still screaming about how wrong they are--and then getting defensive when they get called on the policies.

  • ||

    That would be the Democrats. Except, since the Republicans are too the right of them it's hard for them to call them on being wrong. The Democrats would have to argue against themselves, but that would be bad for The One.

  • Mongo||

    One of the passengers on KAL 007 was the US Representative Larry McDonald, a very conservative, very anti-Communist, John Bircher Democrat!

    Reading about him, he had this paranoia of the country being overrun by Commies.

  • Drake||

    Is it paranoia if you are right?

  • Question of Auban||

    No, it is not, and I would agree that this country is being overrun by commies. Just look at the nominees for President of both major political parties!

  • Agile Cyborg||

    American must be muscular and maintain an iron-fist over those goddamn brown people so they don't fucking kill us. Wait, we've done that and they still kill us, Steve, you fucking wafflebrain!

    How 'bout we just get the hell out of goddamn Dodge and QUIT trying to fix the goddamn world, Steve?

  • iyeubnsns||

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  • Francisco||

    Sounds good. Let's keep it illegal.

  • 4thaugust1932||

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