Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

And we’re back

For the last month I’ve been almost as quiet as Clarence Thomas. No more! And no, I did not give up blogging for Ramadan. Let’s review the month: –My condolences to the families of the SEALs lost on Aug. 5. Oddly, I think I know the valley where they went down — I remember going ...

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

For the last month I've been almost as quiet as Clarence Thomas. No more! And no, I did not give up blogging for Ramadan.

Let's review the month:

--My condolences to the families of the SEALs lost on Aug. 5. Oddly, I think I know the valley where they went down -- I remember going to a picnic near there in the spring of 1971. We also used to go skiing about 15 or 20 miles NE of the crash site. Even had a rope tow, and nice views of the Koh-i-Baba range.  

For the last month I’ve been almost as quiet as Clarence Thomas. No more! And no, I did not give up blogging for Ramadan.

Let’s review the month:

–My condolences to the families of the SEALs lost on Aug. 5. Oddly, I think I know the valley where they went down — I remember going to a picnic near there in the spring of 1971. We also used to go skiing about 15 or 20 miles NE of the crash site. Even had a rope tow, and nice views of the Koh-i-Baba range.  

–I’m not fed up with President Obama. I agree with the observation I saw that he is less reckless than his political opponents. I don’t think he has been given sufficient credit for that.  

–But I am fed up with Obama’s Lincoln imitation. Here he is in Iowa in mid-August: “First of all, democracy is always a messy business in a big country like this. We’re diverse, got a lot of points of view. We kind of romanticize sometimes what democracy used to be like. But when you listen to what the Federalists said about the anti- Federalists and the names that Jefferson called Hamilton and back and forth — I mean, those guys were tough. Lincoln, they used to talk about him almost as bad as they talk about me.” Actually, they talked much worse about Lincoln, and the country was in a much worse situation.

–Nice job wrapping up the Libyan war. This strikes me as a victory for the Libyan rebels, for NATO and for Obama. Turned out leading from the rear worked — the United States achieved its aim, yet is not on the hook for the aftermath. Let the Libyans figure it out. Not one American died in this fight, as that is a good thing, in many ways. Was this Suez ’56 in reverse?

–The Syrian military may be showing signs of splitting. It would be nice to see Assad go the way of Qaddafi. Iran worries about this happening and advises Assad to lighten up.

–Commentary on the British youff riots struck me as a mirror in which everyone blamed it on whatever they didn’t like. Col. Blimp types blamed multiculturalism. (I actually think Europe doesn’t have a multi-culture–we Americans do have one, and it works, generally. The UK and the Euros simply have societies that generally tolerate the presence of other minority cultures.) My favorite column blamed the Americanization of Britain, as if we invented riots.  

-If corporations are people, as candidate Romney asserts, why can’t they be sentenced to jail, like regular people? Or even executed, like they do in Texas?

–And then there was this headline of the day:

Liberia’s General Butt Naked seeks redemption

Maybe first, put on some pants.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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