- - Thursday, September 4, 2014

It’s hard to stay a step ahead when you’re busy catching up. In the back-to-school rush, this is the motto for most Americans. It’s a pithy adage for daily life. But it’s crass for presidential policy. Still, playing catch up seems to be the motto for the Obama administration, especially when it comes to foreign policy and defense.

What I’m about to say is rather pessimistic and might get me in trouble. But what the heck, my current haters are starting to like me, and I need new ones anyway.

Although it’s been fun to watch liberal reporters squirm as their adored leader bumbles his way through a press conference, and although it’s great to see former Gov. Mitt Romney vindicated after President Obama’s childish mockery of his stance on Russia, this is a result of a serious situation. Our country is facing an imminent threat with no defense strategy.

With just a week’s notice, Mr. Obama had an immediate strategy for dealing with the unrest in Ferguson, Mo., yet even with a year’s notice, he didn’t have a strategy for the violence and unrest in Syria. Isn’t it a priority of the federal government to present a ready defense against foreign enemies?

Russia, Israel, Egypt, Iran; this list of threats could easily be left over from the desk of the secretary of defense circa 1973. Therefore, no president of the United States should be caught off guard by the current conflicts that threaten our national security.

Some argue that these crises were resolved decades ago, so it was OK to ignore them. I say that is naive and we must pledge to never again elect a president with that attitude. It’s like having your home burglarized, then disarming your security system once the police catch the criminal. After a threat is revealed and contained, security measures should increase, not decrease, so daily life can continue in some semblance of peace.

We all suffer when our commander in chief is so obviously dumbfounded by Islamic threats and publicly admits he’s unprepared. Our nation should be able to spring into action as soon as the first American journalist is beheaded (note facetious tone). Instead, it takes a second beheading for this administration merely to scratch its head in bewilderment. How many beheadings do there need to be before real action is taken?

Liberal pundits have tried to defend this by saying it is unwise to publicly reveal our defense strategy. OK, I get that. I argued that point when these same pundits criticized President Bush for not detailing his strategy after 9/11. It’s like a Superbowl coach announcing his playbook on the eve of the big game. It might quiet the critics, but now the opponent knows what to expect.

Mr. Bush was successful in instilling a sense of safety in the American public. When a threat arose, he would basically say, “Trust me, I got this.” And we would! Sure, his critics would clamor for more detail, but for the most part the general public felt that if we were attacked again, we’d be ready.

“Trust me, I got this,” is much different than “Uh, I don’t have a plan yet.”

Mr. Obama has not earned our blind trust when it comes to our national safety. He vowed to defend our NATO allies. He vowed to take a strong stance against Russian aggression. Yet even his most beloved supporters are questioning his ability to take the necessary action.

Which leads me to the final, and rather pessimistic, point of this column. Realistically, what can we do? The threat is eminent, especially as we near the anniversary of the horrific 9/11 attacks. Terrorists are nostalgic about this date and like to commemorate it with another attack against America.

Now here comes the part that’s probably going to get me in a lot of trouble …

Terrorists would relish nothing more than to attack America on our home turf on the anniversary of 9/11. The cracks in our security are so huge that this could happen. Defense strategies have been tossed around on the Sunday talk shows: boots on the ground, airstrikes, arm the Ukraine. Yet Mr. Obama has already proven that he is either unwilling or incapable of taking appropriate action.

You and I can petition Congress and demand they do something. After all, Congress has the power to declare war. Yet, even with an overwhelming public outcry, will they take such controversial action right before the mid-term elections?

Do you trust the president and Congress to actually do something about the immediate threats? If not, what practical measures can we, the general public, take? This isn’t a rhetorical question. I’m asking for your feedback.

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