Jonah Goldberg

But Congress passed the Pay Our Military Act to fund the military through the shutdown. Administration officials first stonewalled Congress' efforts for clarity on the issue, then the lawyers eventually determined that because the act didn't specifically include the word "benefits," they couldn't err on the side of helping grieving families.

In other words, when asked to make a judgment call, and knowing that Congress wanted the benefits paid, this administration still claimed its hands were tied by the fine print. Given how often the White House routinely ignores the plain meaning of the law -- and the will of Congress -- when it suits its political agenda, logic dictates that it denied the benefits on purpose.

Moreover, by its own account, the White House says it knew for weeks this would happen. During all the back-and-forth, the White House did nothing to remedy the situation. It only sprang into outraged action when suddenly faced with a PR nightmare.

"The president was very disturbed to learn of this problem," Carney told the press Wednesday. And once he did learn of it, Carney insisted, he ordered the Defense Department and the Office of Management and Budget to fix the problem "today."

When Fox News White House correspondent Ed Henry asked Carney when the president found out, Carney indignantly refused to answer. It's not hard to guess why: because the president either knew all along, or his underlings believed they were following his plan.

Let me say it again. The president confessed. It's his express policy to punish innocent bystanders in order to score partisan points. That order has gone forth like a fatwa to the bureaucracy. And it is only when that policy blows up in his face that Obama becomes "very disturbed."

When terrible things happened on George W. Bush's watch -- Katrina, Abu Ghraib, etc. -- the immediate liberal response was to insist that Bush had in fact ordered or wanted the terrible things to happen.

Now we have a president openly admitting it -- and no one seems to care.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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