President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court and promptly left town. The preceding week hardly could go down as a high point for him or his administration - but maybe, in certain ways, as a period of personal growth. Time for a break.
Think about it. The week had featured these items on an incomplete list, most related one way or another to national security:
-- In a bizarre at-a-distance debate with former Vice President Dick Cheney, Obama came off second best - not even close - on Guantanamo (Gitmo) and the interrogation memos.
-- On interrogation, la belle Pelosi - a goofy-left Democrat, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, and third in line for the presidency - got caught needing a new perm. She accused the CIA of lying to her - and about her - regarding the simulated drowning ("waterboarding") of three jihad terrorists at Gitmo. And once more Howard Baker's question about Richard Nixon was spreading darkly around the land: What did she know and when did she know it?
-- Obama took multiple and contradictory positions regarding various aspects of the Gitmo matter, lopsidedly lost the support of both lopsidedly Democratic houses of Congress on funds to close the place. He adamantly refused to release the interrogation memos - as requested by Cheney - showing whether waterboarding (etc.) had elicited information saving perhaps hundreds of thousands of American lives.
-- North Korea once again dissed the civilized world by detonating a second nuclear device and testing missiles to deliver them. (Iran works resolutely 24/7 for the same capabilities.) Obama called on America's allies and the enervated, effete UN to "stand up" to North Korea, and pledged to "take action." One supposes the pledge will include - as Obama has insisted regarding Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - "engagement" to convince Kim Jong-il of America's goodness and good intentions in this new day following the dread Bush-Cheney years.
-- Obama went to the National Archives to read key Founding documents in the original, and there orated on the need to live by their principles in connection with such things as Gitmo and the housing and interrogation of jihadists.
-- On a glorious day, in an atmosphere spilling over with those principles, Obama delivered the commencement address at the commissioning exercises for 1,036 Naval Academy graduates. He said, inter alia: "We uphold our fundamental principles and values not because we choose to but because we swear to, not because they feel good but because they help keep us safe."
Ross Mackenzie lives with his wife and Labrador retriever in the woods west of Richmond, Virginia. They have two grown sons, both Naval officers.
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