Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Conservatives Totally Out To Sea On Obama's Handling Of Pirate Standoff

As far as I know, there's no word of an apology from conservatives who criticized President Obama during the standoff involving Captain Richard Phillips, who was taken hostage by Somali pirates. As the Navy and the president grappled with an extremely tense situation, right-wing pundits pontificated from the comfort of television studios–mostly the studios of Fox News, naturally. Watch (h/t Daily Kos):

Newt Gingrich: This is an administration which keeps trying to find some kind of magical solution that doesn't involve effort and doesn't involve risk and doesn't involve making hard decisions.

Glenn Beck: The U.S. Navy is now looking to the F.B.I. for advice on how to free an American cargo ship captain. Oh, no, they're sending over a hostage negotiator... The U.S. warship is near the pirates' drifting lifeboat and the Navy doesn't know how to fix this one. Wow!

Brit Hume: And what an image it presents to the world of this great military power unable at least so far to cope with this problem. ...Is this the test that Joe Biden warned when he was running against Obama would come? ...Well, I think it is.

What was Obama doing while these great minds were dismayed that the complex event wasn't resolved instantly? The president was assessing the situation and coming to a sensible response, as reported by The New York Times:

The Defense Department twice sought Mr. Obama’s permission to use force to rescue Captain Phillips, most recently on Friday night, senior defense officials said. On Saturday morning, the president agreed, they said, if it appeared that the captain’s life was in imminent danger.

Captain Phillips' life did appear in danger when a pirate pointed an AK-47 at his back. Snipers acted on the president's conditions and killed all three pirates holding the captain.

Does Gingrich still think that the president avoided risk and a hard decision? Does Beck still believe that sending a hostage negotiator is foolish in a hostage crisis and that the Navy didn't know what it was doing? Does Brit Hume now contend that Obama failed the test?

We can all be relieved that these armchair commanders, with their macho posturing and lack of patience, were not in a position to oversee the situation. Fortunately, we had an adult, President Obama, in charge.

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