We also have come to expect that irrational behavior takes a brief hiatus when Congress goes home on recess and the president of the United States heads out of town on vacation. This year is the exception that proves the rule. POTUS may be playing golf on Martha's Vineyard and Congress may be out of town, but this week, irrational behavior disorder -- "IBD" for short -- went viral, here and around the globe.
The Obama family started the IBD epidemic by setting off on their "working vacation" with two separate U.S. Air Force flights from Washington to the Massachusetts coast, requiring hundreds of military personnel, Secret Service agents and support staff to cancel or abbreviate leave. No one has figured out yet how much this little caper has cost the taxpayers.
On Aug. 20, just as the first family was getting into the swing of things on their little island paradise, Libyan rebels launched their own version of a "Thunder Run" into Tripoli. The Transitional National Council promptly caught a case of IBD and announced it had "liberated Libya from the dictator" Moammar Gadhafi. In Benghazi, the TNC's "chairman," former Gadhafi "justice minister" Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, told the international media that the rebels had "captured three of Gadhafi's sons" and "surrounded Gadhafi's Bab al-Aziziya palace" in Tripoli and that "escape is impossible." We also were told, "All of the country will be in the hands of the TNC very shortly." Turns out it was another case of IBD.
The rebel advance -- and the anticipated demise of the murderous Moammar -- was briefly celebrated with exuberance in our household. Back in 1987, Gadhafi sent his goons to kill us. Thanks to the FBI and special agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, his thugs missed their prey. We certainly aren't going to miss him.
As it turns out, our dose of IBD was short-lived compared with the case caught by the White House spin doctors on Martha's Vineyard. They wanted the American people to focus on the "improving economy." On Sunday morning, CBS ran a prerecorded interview with President Obama, in which he acknowledged "an unemployment rate that is still too high" and then baldly claimed that the administration has "actually made the right decisions" and that he expects "to be judged a year from now on whether or not things have continued to get better."
It's the "continued to get better" part that confirms a diagnosis of severe IBD, compounded by rhetorical euphoria syndrome, or RES. When Obama was sworn in as our 44th president, the unemployment rate was about 7.5 percent. It's now 9.1 percent. Millions of Americans have lost their homes and are out of work. Some experts say the housing market has yet to hit bottom. American manufacturing productivity continues to drop. U.S. financial and commodity markets are on a roller coaster, and our government's credit rating has been downgraded.
That's not exactly what a re-election campaign strategist wants us to be thinking about. On Monday, after British Prime Minister David Cameron announced he was "cutting short" his holiday "to address the crisis in Libya," the O-Team trotted POTUS off the golf course so he could tell us that "the future of Libya is now in the hands of the Libyan people." Obama did not mention his March 22 pledge that the military operations he had authorized would be over in "a matter of days and not weeks."
It turns out that all of this was more IBD and untreated RES. By Wednesday, when Libyan rebels succeeded in their sanguinary fight to capture Gadhafi's compound in the heart of Tripoli, the despot had disappeared. His palace was looted, but the megalomaniac who ruled Libya and terrorized the world for seven days short of 42 years had fled.
With Gadhafi still in hiding, U.S. officers say depots full of Libyan weapons -- including man-portable surface-to-air missiles -- may already be in the hands of radical Islamic terrorists. Stockpiles of nuclear materials and precursor chemicals for making nerve agents and mustard gas have yet to be recovered by French and British special operations personnel. And Pentagon planners are looking at options in case Libya descends into anarchy. One officer describes such a scenario as "Somalia on steroids."
Obama supporters now claim his policy of "leading from behind" has been vindicated by the demise of the Gadhafi dictatorship. Though the regime finally has collapsed, only those diagnosed with irrational behavior disorder believe that the people of Libya will realize the president's promise of "a peaceful transition to democracy" any time soon.
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.