- The Washington Times - Monday, October 12, 2009


“News early Friday that the Nobel Peace Prize would go to President Obama shook the journalistic establishment,” Eleanor Clift wrote Friday at www.newsweek.com.

“Perhaps it was a spoof, just like the ‘Saturday Night Live’ parody last weekend that made fun of Obama for his meager record compared with his grandiose campaign promises. The right will make it seem like a kids’ trophy for soccer participation, rather than accomplishment. That’s overly harsh, but correct in the sense that the award is more aspirational in recognizing what this gifted young president can do than about concrete achievements. …

“Coming as it does so soon after his failure to win the Olympics for Chicago gives it the whiff of a consolation prize. It also points up the gulf between how Obama’s conservative critics shape the debate in this country, and how much of the world looks at Obama. …

“The Norwegian Nobel Committee was driven by a belief in Obama’s potential, along with a rejection of Bush-era policies. Coming just [8[1/2]] months into Obama’s first term, the prize is far from an unalloyed blessing. It creates expectations that a single human being, even the leader of the Western world, is unlikely to fulfill. And rather than dispel the unfortunate narrative advanced by ‘SNL,’ it is likely to feed into it,” Mrs. Clift said.

“The parody wouldn’t be funny if there wasn’t an element of truth.”


“In the last three months, much has been made of a supposed military ‘coup’ that whisked former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya from power and the supposed chaos it has created,” Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, writes in the Wall Street Journal.

“After visiting Tegucigalpa last week and meeting with a cross-section of leaders from Honduras’s government, business community, and civil society, I can report there is no chaos there. There is, however, chaos to spare in the Obama administration’s policy toward our poor and loyal allies in Honduras,” Mr. DeMint said.

“That policy was set in a snap decision the day Mr. Zelaya was removed from office, without a full assessment of either the facts or reliable legal analysis of the constitutional provisions at issue. Three months later, it remains in force, despite mounting evidence of its moral and legal incoherence.

“While in Honduras, I spoke to dozens of Hondurans, from nonpartisan members of civil society to former Zelaya political allies, from Supreme Court judges to presidential candidates and even personal friends of Mr. Zelaya. Each relayed stories of a man changed and corrupted by power. The evidence of Mr. Zelaya’s abuses of presidential power - and his illegal attempts to rewrite the Honduran Constitution, a la Hugo Chavez - is not only overwhelming, but uncontroverted. …

“The presidential election is on schedule for Nov. 29. Under Honduras’s one-term-limit, Mr. Zelaya could not have sought re-election anyway. Current President Roberto Micheletti - who was installed after Mr. Zelaya’s removal, per the Honduran Constitution - is not on the ballot either. The presidential candidates were nominated in primary elections almost a year ago, and all of them - including Mr. Zelaya’s former vice president - expect the elections to be free, fair and transparent, as has every Honduran election for a generation. …

“In a day packed with meetings, we met only one person in Honduras who opposed Mr. Zelaya’s ouster, who wishes his return, and who mystifyingly rejects the legitimacy of the November elections: U.S. Ambassador Hugo Llorens.”


“Pull together the loose threads of recent events and President Obama’s vision for fighting the war on terror becomes one very scary picture. Scary, that is, for innocent Americans,” New York Daily News columnist Michael Goodwin writes.

“From interrogation to adjudication, the White House plan offers more legal protections to terror suspects and less to our nation. It’s a kinder, gentler tilt that favors bad guys and raises the risk of attack at home because it compromises national security to promote other concerns and values,” Mr. Goodwin said.

“One thread is Attorney General Eric Holder’s misguided decision to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether CIA agents broke the law in aggressive questioning of suspects captured in Iraq and Afghanistan. Holder, who shamelessly gave Bill Clinton the legal [OK] to pardon megacriminal Marc Rich, has little mercy for the agents who risked their lives to protect America.

“Knowing Holder stands ready to second-guess its every move is reportedly sending chills through the spook agency.

“Another scary thread is the plan to take the job of terror questioning away from the CIA and move it to a new group in the FBI. The move is part of an effort to treat terror as just another law enforcement problem, a downgrade that led the White House to drop the words ‘war on terror.’

“As the new unit’s rules show, the downgrade is more than just semantics. The unit will be limited to noncoercive techniques, meaning even sleep deprivation is out. …

“Scary thread No. 3 is the plan to close the Guantanamo Bay prison and move some of the worst terrorists to American prisons and give some detainees trials in civilian courts. Playing by the legal rule book raises the chance mad killers will walk free because of the vast defendant protections built into our criminal justice system.”


George Will suggested last week that President Obama’s self-referential speech on behalf of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics may lead to his being known as the ‘vain’ president,” Fred Barnes writes in the Weekly Standard.

“Maybe, but worse things have been said about a president and probably will be if Obama declines to send substantially more troops to Afghanistan and rejuvenate his counterinsurgency strategy. He’ll be called a ‘weak’ president. And the label will stick,” Mr. Barnes said.

“A weak president is vulnerable, politically and otherwise. In Jimmy Carter’s case, being seen as weak in dealing with Iran and the Soviets was a major factor in his defeat by Ronald Reagan in 1980. Americans don’t like pushovers, especially pushover presidents. Obama is at risk of becoming a pushover.

“Afghanistan is his test. Public support for the war has fallen sharply this year, especially among Democrats. And Obama’s liberal base is pushing him to rebuff Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander in Afghanistan, and scale back the war effort. Reversing course on a critical issue of national security because of domestic politics - that’s an act of pure weakness.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes .com.

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