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Michael Gerson: No time to lead from behind

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  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 9:59 p.m.

    No reasonable person can deny that this Country is under direct attack by left-wing extremists from both inside and outside our borders. The current administration has adopted a policy of apathy, helpless, and even outright assistance to these efforts. Hopefully the slumbering masses will awaken and rise up before it is too late.

  • E Sam Provo, UT
    Aug. 21, 2014 10:05 p.m.

    And what exactly do you propose, Mr. Gerson? You ought to have some insight here, since it was your old boss who completely destabilized the region with his utterly unjustified invasion of Iraq. What specifically do you propose? Let me guess; send in more troops, now. See why we can't trust your analysis?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Aug. 22, 2014 5:10 a.m.

    I am glad I am not President....... if you say you are going to intervene, you are criticized and told we can't afford to be the worlds policeman. As President, you are told the US can't do it alone, then in the next breath are people complain that you are leading from behind. As President you are told that America doesn't have the appetite to engage in another war as Americans are tired of 11 years of war - but that we need to be doing something.

    The author complains that we need to make a bold statement... but what is that statement to be? Are we to send 60,000 troops back to Iraq. Do we pull the reserves back from their families and jobs again? ISIS needs to be stopped, and I myself have been a harsh critic of Obama with regard to his Syria and Iraq policies. Our response was too late. But I do think the position we are taking now - providing air support to the local troops on the ground is the right, measured response.

    We will gain nothing by becoming "occupiers" again. Ultimately the Iraqis need to settle this, with our support.

  • Sorry Charlie! SLC, UT
    Aug. 22, 2014 5:14 a.m.

    For years pundits on both sides have told us that the US should not be the world's police force. Now that we have a President who seems to believe that, it is suddenly a bad idea. Why the change?

  • mhenshaw Leesburg, VA
    Aug. 22, 2014 5:20 a.m.

    >>See why we can't trust your analysis?

    When you've decided in advance that sending in more troops is the wrong answer no matter what the problem is, it's your analysis that can't be trusted. Ruling out solutions before defining the problem is politics, not analysis.

    The nature of the problem must dictate the solution.

  • IMAPatriot2 PLEASANT GROVE, UT
    Aug. 22, 2014 5:43 a.m.

    IMO, since WW II the United States has carried the load of the European countries it helped to liberate. It is time for them to step up to their own world responsibilities and allow the U. S. to reduce it's financial and human commitment to do their jobs for them. Unfortunately, most of these countries have become feckless and bankrupt by their own political and social policies.

  • Ronite Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 22, 2014 6:00 a.m.

    Maybe the President senses that this is a trap.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Aug. 22, 2014 7:48 a.m.

    "No reasonable person can deny that this Country is under direct attack by left-wing extremists from both inside and outside our borders."

    Of course a reasonable person can deny such attacks. In fact a reasonable person would deny such accusations. To think the President, Eric Holder or Nancy Pelosi are left wing extremists is to view the world from an extreme position yourself. Remember position is relative, both in math and the world.

    As to the rest of the world, those who wish us harm are not leftist extremists. They are religious extremists. This point is not just a semantic difference it goes to the heart of the attempt by the right to link the President with ISIS. Not by contract but by intent.

    It is wrong it is dishonest and it is morally repugnant.

  • RC in WJ WEST JORDAN, UT
    Aug. 22, 2014 8:43 a.m.

    Nice to see the daily DN red meat anti Obama Rant! I'm certainly glad the DN is "politically neutral" anyway I think that was how they put it last Sunday in their Op-Ed.

    I'm thankful for a POTUS that uses his head (bring it on Pubs)!

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Aug. 22, 2014 9:23 a.m.

    No matter how you spin it the fact is America and the world are in a much better place now than we were when the neo-cons and GWB was the "decider". The perception, and conservative sales job, that radical muslims can be defeated is a pipe dream fueled by men with large egos and the military industrial complex Eisenhowser warned us about. BO's nuanced policy of international containment and safety at home has made our country and the world a much safer place. How many more hundreds of thousands have to die before the neo-cons and an uninformed public realize their vision of Americanizing the world is unattainable? America needs to keep the sabre rattling rhetoric to Faux News and their minions contained otherwise America is likely to make another poor decision that will kill thousands of innocents and waste billons of dollars.

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Aug. 22, 2014 9:26 a.m.

    Per John Charity Spring - ISIS is a left wing socialist organization? Wow! That takes some real serious mind bending to get your head around that one.

    "The current administration has adopted a policy of apathy, helpless, and even outright assistance to these efforts"

    Care to expand on this "assistance to these efforts" might be? The world gets you hate Obama... but surely you have to have something that backs statements like that in effect say we are aiding ISIS... that is a pretty strong accusation. Please back it up with something.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 22, 2014 9:53 a.m.

    @JCS
    "No reasonable person can deny that this Country is under direct attack by left-wing extremists from both inside and outside our borders"

    ISIS is a lot of things but left-wing is hardly any of them. (Which is not to say they are right-wing, either, mostly just wing-nut).

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 22, 2014 10:31 a.m.

    I wonder if President Obama, and other Democrats have more empathy now, and can understand the tough decisions George Bush had to make when HE was President, and the threats we had back then.

    Probably not.... they won't own one piece of this. Probably blame ISIS, the caliphate growing in the middle-east and every shingle thing that happened during his Presidency has nothing to do with his leadership... they are all because of Bush... Classic...

    ===========

    I think President Obama is facing many of the same tough decisions George Bush was faced with. Not a 9/11, but a growing problem in Iraq, Syria, and other countries that don't directly impact us, but have an indirect impact on US interests.

    I praise Obama for avoiding all out war so far. But I don't know how long he's going to be able to hold out before something BIG happens in Iraq, Syria, Israel, or Iran... Can he hold out and do as little as possible there for 2 more years?... so he can blame it all on the NEXT President? Maybe he can....

    But if he HAS to act (like Bush did)... what then???

  • Sven Morgan, UT
    Aug. 22, 2014 11:16 a.m.

    FT said:

    "No matter how you spin it the fact is America and the world are in a much better place now than we were when the neo-cons and GWB was the 'decider'."

    The middle east is on fire, terrorism is on the rise, Iran and North Korea are ramping up their Nuclear weapons production/capabilities under this Community Agitator, and you can sit here and make this type of comment? Talk about ignoring reality.

    If things were so great under this Marxist, Community Agitator, the Democrats wouldn't be making the next elections about "The Republican's War on Women." They would instead be running on this guys "outstanding record."

    Sorry, but your ridiculous claims have no basis in reality. Why are the Democrats running from Obama's record on foreign and Obamacare if it's so stellar?

    :-D

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 22, 2014 1:08 p.m.

    BO is in over his head. always has been.

    when you "lead from behind", project an image of weakness and disinterest, the thugs of the world take notice and take advantage.

    Too bad BO is wasting all the gains we made in the middle east by his wafflings and incompetence. The situation is MUCH more unstable now than when BO took over. Way to blow, it, BO. but then, what else could we expect from this incompetent?

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 22, 2014 1:27 p.m.

    "No time to lead from behind, huh?"

    Michael Gerson really misses his old boss, GW Bush, who didn't hesitate to jump right in with thousands of American troops and kill Arab Muslims . . . Over 100,000 of them, wasn't it?

    How did all that work out anyway? Anyone remember?

    And even though GW was such a big, strong, can-do Republican He-man . . . far more Americans were beheaded during his time in office.

    Why do you suppose that is?

    Fortunately, our current President is a lot smarter than GW.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 22, 2014 1:47 p.m.

    Hey 2 bits –

    “But if he HAS to act (like Bush did)... what then???”

    . . . Sounds like you’re trying to rewrite history again.

    GW didn’t HAVE to attack Iraq under false pretenses with overwhelming force, kill 100,000 Iraqis and 4,000 Americans, waste trillions, and destabilize the Middle East for years to come.
    He didn’t HAVE to do that at all. And the world would be much better off now if he had not.

    But GW was WEAK in several areas . . . He gave in to military commanders who are always ready to show off what they can do, and he failed the United States in so many ways.

    The devastation he left this nation was UNPRECEDENTED.

    Obama is no GW, thank goodness, and he doesn’t care a fig about what few million “Conservatives” have to say about his leadership.

    They have no idea of what constitutes good leadership.

  • RC in WJ WEST JORDAN, UT
    Aug. 22, 2014 1:50 p.m.

    Re: lost in DC

    Get another glass of the Koolaid, turn up the volume on the AM Radio! After you have your daily fix, give us an example of "Leading from Behind"!

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    Aug. 22, 2014 2:08 p.m.

    @Sven
    Conservative's biggest campaign fodder is selling fear and peddaling mis-information. BO a marxist? You need to study up on history if you think that's a true statement. Just because one hears Sean Hannity or Rush Limbaugh say something doesn't make it true. On the contrary it's probably got no substance, just entertainment to pad their pocket books.
    BO's foreign policy is working just fine, unless your a fan of thousands of Americans dying overseas in a place where we have little influence or high regard.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 22, 2014 2:45 p.m.

    @GaryO,

    When I said, "But if he HAS to act"... Meaning what if something happens, and he is forced to actually act (and not just talk). Something like 9/11 (except this time from ISIS), or a leader killing hundreds of thousands of his own people (oh wait that's already happening... and he decided to back down from his red-line). Or what if Iran or North Korea offers to sell nukes to a terrorist organization like ISIS or Hamas???

    I know some of these are hypothetical. Some of them have already happened. But what I'm trying to do is to get you to THINK... about if your rhetoric would change IF... Obama had to make a huge decision like George Bush did after 9/11...

    Would your thinking change then? (I mean if there was another 9/11 style attack from ISIS or Hamas). I HOPE it would.

    Obama doesn't have an equivalent to 9/11 (thank God). But IF something DID happen (that forces him to act)... would you still stand on the old anti-Bush rhetoric... or would you (and Obama) change?? That's what I'm asking...

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Aug. 22, 2014 2:55 p.m.

    You know I don't think the righties on this page have any idea who ISIS is and where they come from.

    Their existence is directly due to GWB. Sorry 2bits but it's true. They are the old Al Qaeda in Iraq that didn't exist until Bush blew the country up.

    To GWB's credit he did run them out of the country by buying off the Sunnis and putting more troops in certain areas.

    Their success now is directly attributable to the Sunnis allowing them to operate because they are sick of Maliki and the Shiites.

    It took the Iraqis to defeat ISIS the first time and only they can defeat them this time. Obama has done exactly the right thing by getting Maliki out. Now he has room get the Sunnis on our side again.

    It's not leading from behind it's strategy something chicken hawks know nothing about.

  • deseret pete robertson, Wy
    Aug. 22, 2014 3:17 p.m.

    We all would like peace -- But not peace at any price -This type of terroriste are not going to go away.We will have to ever vigilant in order to keep them in check.No one wants to go to war but it is going to be a long haul if we don't attack this army fast and furious. A tap on the shoulder will not work.Nor will Obama showing them his phone and pen.The biggest problem we have now is that we have a waterboy for a commander in chief.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 22, 2014 4:10 p.m.

    @pragmatistferlife,

    Re: "Al Qaeda didn't exist"... "ISIS didn't exist till"... Blah blah...

    That's carefully constructed revisionist history. I know, you hear it on MSNBC frequently. Or maybe you thought it up yourself.... Regardless... Let's analyse both assertions.

    The "Al Qaeda in Iraq didn't exist" story is the same as the "ISIS didn't exist story". Exactly the same. Just the President is different.

    They both existed before Bush or Obama took office.... just under different labels, but the same people, doing the same things. Just hadn't been recognized and labeled by the US Media yet.

    Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (leader of al qaeda in iraq until killed in 2006)... was in Iraq doing his thing BEFORE Bush became President. Maybe they weren't CALLED "Al Qaeda in Iraq".... (yet)... but they existed, and were doing the same things BEFORE we labeled them "Al Qaeda in Iraq".

    Same with ISIS. They existed before Obama... But became labeled "ISIS" during Obama Admin.

    ==============

    Think... There were Al Qaeda cells in the USA before Bush took office. Are you really intellectually pliable enough to BELIEVE there weren't any Al Qaeda in Iraq then too??? maybe called something else...

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 22, 2014 4:22 p.m.

    Hey 2 Bits –

    “IF... Obama had to make a huge decision like George Bush did after 9/11...??”

    Oh . . . I get it . . . You mean if Obama was so completely and incredibly irresponsible as to ignore all warnings and just let Terrorists make a major attack on the United States?

    That’s not going to happen.

    Don’t forget. We have a responsible Democrat as President now . . . Not some irresponsible Laissez Faire Reaganite who thinks the nation (including its national security) is just going to run itself and be fine.

    So the kind of irresponsibility that led to 911 is NOT happening under this administration.

    Although Republicans loved the blundering buffoonery of the GW Bush administration and still remember fondly the dotage of Reagan and his insistence that “the Government that governs best, governs least,” the fact remains that responsible governance demands a certain amount of commitment, competence, effort, and common sense.

    And those are qualities the Republicans just don’t seem to have anymore.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Aug. 22, 2014 6:24 p.m.

    Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (leader of al qaeda in iraq until killed in 2006)... was in Iraq doing his thing BEFORE Bush became President.
    Patently false. Al-Zarqawi was in Iran, Jordan, and Afghanistan before Bush. In addition you have no idea the extent of my library and resources MSNBC is hardly a source.

    " Same with ISIS. They existed before Obama... " Again false. They became ISIS in 2013. As I said in my original post they were Al Qaeda in Iraq after Bush started the war, were run out by the surge to Syria, then became ISIS.

    " Are you really intellectually pliable enough to BELIEVE there weren't any Al Qaeda in Iraq then too??? " Pretty much yes. At least none of any consequence under Sadam Hussein.

  • Vanceone Provo, UT
    Aug. 26, 2014 1:38 p.m.

    Someone mentioned questioning that Obama has helped ISIS. It's true.
    In fact, Obama is consistently on the side of radical Islam.
    1) He encouraged the Muslim Brotherhood to overthrow Mubarak, and after Egyptians got tired of the beheadings and rapes and evil and turned to their military, he denounced the military taking over.
    2) He overthrew Qaddafi and left nothing but a vacuum, to which the radical Muslims took over. Today, Obama is savaging Egyptian airplane attacks on radical Muslims occupying Tripoli--a clear siding with these animals.
    3) Obama probably armed ISIS in the first place--what do you think that whole Benghazi thing was about? Our ambassador was killed shortly after meeting with a representative from Turkey and mysterious shipments of something.
    5) Obama declared how he was against Assad and supporting ISIS in the Syrian Civil war, and ignored any moderates.
    6) Obama and John Kerry basically sided with Hamas in the recent war, to the point Israel and Egypt told John Kerry to go home.

    All of this points to Obama supporting radical Islam, every chance he gets.