It's an unwritten law of modern America that a political campaign speech should last no more than 30 minutes. The lecture candidate Barack Obama delivered on the evening of Jan. 24 in the House chamber of the U.S. Capitol came in at just longer than one hour and six minutes. It was full of rhetoric we should expect to hear reiterated from now until Nov. 6. The president's supporters declared his economic message to be "populist." That's liberal-speak for class warfare.
In the days since the State of the Union address, politicians and pundits of every stripe have parsed the lengthy remarks to find parts they can challenge or cheer. There is no doubt about what POTUS intends for the U.S. economy. Invoking what he calls the "Buffett rule," Obama promises to raise taxes on the "rich" until they pay their "fair share" -- an amount he has decided should be 30 percent of income. That's important, but even more critical is what he does and doesn't say about real national security and protecting the American people.
Our chief executive was less than two minutes into his oration when he reminded us that "for the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country." Yet he is failing in his most important duty: commander in chief.
As he walked into the House chamber on Tuesday evening, the president already knew that U.S. special operators had rescued two hostages held by Somali terrorists. He has been told repeatedly by those who carry out these high-risk missions that they want to remain anonymous. But before ascending to the podium, Obama pointedly told Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, "Good job tonight!" Just hours later, Vice President Joe Biden told reporters how he had "been in country, in Afghanistan, in Iraq with these guys, these special operations forces. They are absolutely the most incredible..." By Wednesday morning, unnamed administration officials, eager to claim credit for the success, were describing how "members of Navy SEAL Team 6 parachuted into Somalia" to carry out the rescue.
Disclosure of operational details on how such missions are conducted jeopardizes future operations and makes it more difficult to obtain the cooperation of other countries. But leaks of classified information are now a hallmark of the O-Team efforts to validate a 10 percent increase in special operations forces, from 64,000 to 70,000 personnel, and a 30 percent increase in the number of remotely piloted aircraft -- referred to incorrectly as "drones."
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.