Sunday, March 13: Violence and casualties in Bahrain and Yemen escalate, and Libyan rebels are driven out of Ras Lanouf amid calls from the Arab League for a no-fly zone. U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine units, experts from the U.S. Department of Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and civil disaster teams deployed to assist earthquake/tsunami victims arrive in Japan after an explosion at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power complex. White House press secretary Jay Carney provides two written statements summarizing U.S. relief efforts and another five-line release that "strongly condemns the violence" in Yemen and Bahrain while urging "restraint." Obama had no public events posted on his official White House site, but he did have an opinion column posted in Tucson's Arizona Daily Star, calling for new "gun-control enforcement measures."
Monday, March 14: Saudi Arabia dispatches U.S.-trained and -equipped special operations units to Bahrain without consulting with or informing Washington. In northern Japan, a second nuclear reactor explosion injures 11. Obama began his day at 10:20 that morning with a visit to a public school in Virginia, where he spoke about "reforming education." He later met with Denmark's prime minister and then with the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus. That evening, he attended a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee.
Tuesday, March 15: Pro-Gadhafi forces capture Ajdabiya and Brega in the east and move toward the rebel stronghold at Benghazi. Bahrain declares martial law, and Oman places security forces on alert to deal with anti-government protests. In Japan, the nuclear safety alert goes from level 4 to 6 on a 7-point scale. Obama spent part of his morning taping segments for ESPN on the upcoming NCAA basketball tournaments. While the U.S. House of Representatives was voting to fund the U.S. government for another three weeks, the president found time for media interviews on education reform and meetings and a dinner with U.S. military commanders.
Wednesday, March 16: Anti-regime rebels, pounded by Gadhafi's air force and artillery, begin retreating toward Egypt. Increasingly violent protests rock Bahrain and Yemen. A third explosion and fire at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant threatens rescue workers. Rumors of spreading contamination prompt some Americans to start buying potassium iodide to prevent radiation poisoning. Asked about these fears, Dr. Regina Benjamin, the O-Team's surgeon general, said, "We can't be over-prepared." A subsequent "clarification" stated that "she wouldn't recommend that anyone go out and purchase" it now. That afternoon, as the U.S. stock market plunged, the president made time for brief meetings with the USAID administrator, met with his "senior advisers," canceled plans to receive an award for "government transparency" and headed off to yet another DNC event.
Thursday, March 17: U.S. citizens are warned to evacuate Japan. As Gadhafi's forces prepare to assault the remaining rebel strongholds in Libya, the U.N. Security Council debates what to do. Before celebrating St. Patrick's Day at the White House, O'Bama visited the Japanese Embassy, had our U.N. ambassador announce we may have to "go beyond a no-fly zone" in Libya, and told the world he is part Irish.
All of these tough decisions on Libya, the Middle East, the disaster in Japan, a teetering U.S. economy, the lack of a federal budget, basketball games, golf outings and DNC fundraisers are taking a toll on our chief executive. So it's only fair he should take a taxpayer-funded spring break in Rio de Janeiro.
Oliver North is a nationally syndicated columnist, the host of War Stories on the Fox News Channel, the author of the new novel Heroes Proved and the co-founder of Freedom Alliance, an organization that provides college scholarships to the children of U.S. military personnel killed or permanently disabled in the line of duty. Join Oliver North in Israel by going to www.olivernorthisrael.com.
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