political convention

political convention

Friday, August 22, 2014

ISIS Beheading: President Putts While Cheney and Others Hit the Rough

Has anyone noticed the gaunt features and tired demeanor of President Obama lately? It’s not surprising with the unrelenting deluge of crisis and turmoil he’s faced since taking office: Deep economic disaster, bitter and obstructive hatred from Republicans, a Congress significantly controlled by right-wing crack pots, two wars, Libyan crisis, Syria, Iraqi dissolution, Putin, Ukraine… The latest of these challenges is the Islamic terrorists group called ISIS, which now controls large swaths of Iraq.  Last week, ISIS fighters beheaded an American hostage, journalist James Foley.  President Obama went on television to sadly console Foley’s parents.  And then he promised “relentless” pursuit of the terrorists.

It is hard to imagine being President of the United States. To go on television to discuss the gruesome murder of a fellow citizen and then to address his parents is a task that would leave most ordinary people emotionally exhausted.  Most people would never want to do it again and probably would never have to.  Not so for Obama. 

A month before Obama's televised remarks,  the United States military on the President's orders secretly attempted to rescue James Foley and at least one other hostage.  The special forces operation failed because ISIS had moved the hostages just before the raid. No one knows whether other plans are in the works to save remaining ISIS prisoners or what other torturous decisions await Obama.  Despite being on vacation, the President looked careworn before the cameras.

Afterward, Obama went for a round of golf. The New York Times reported that former vice president Dick Cheney told Fox News, the President “would rather be on the golf course than he would be dealing with crisis.”  A New York tabloid headlined: Prez tees off as Foley’s parents grieve.”  According to the Times, liberal blogger Ezra Klein tweeted that “golfing today is in bad taste.” Times columnist Maureen Dowd contributed flimsy satire on presidential golf through the ages. 

It isn’t publicly known how the President felt or if his exhausted appearance improved after an hour or so of relaxation on the golf course.  Perhaps returning to the cacophony of Washington or sitting alone in silence while anxiously ruminating about the next crisis, or standing by for the next fateful phone call, would have done wonders for his state of mind. 

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