“It all seems rather mad doesn’t it? The decision to become involved militarily in the Libyan civil war couldn’t take place within a less hospitable context. The U.S. is reeling from spending and deficits, we’re already in two wars, our military has been stretched to the limit, we’re restive at home, and no one, really, sees President Obama as the kind of leader you’d follow over the top. ‘This way, men!’ ‘No, I think I’ll stay in the trench.’ …America has been through a difficult 10 years, and the burden of proof on the need for U.S. action would be with those who supported intervention (in Libya). Chief among them, of course, is the president, who made the decision as commander in chief. He needs to sit down and tell the American people how this thing can possibly turn out well. He needs to tell them why it isn’t mad.” Peggy Noonan, ‘The Speech Obama Hasn’t Given’, The Wall Street Journal, March 26, 2011
In my column yesterday, I outlined the lack of internal consistency in Barack Obama’s expressed objectives regarding Colonel Gaddafi and U.S. military intervention in Libya. I further outlined the apparent intransitivity of the President’s revealed preferences with respect to the appropriate nature of U.S. actions in pursuit of such internally inconsistent goals. I noted that such behavior may be indicative of insanity as medically defined.
I am not alone in registering such concern. Peggy Noonan (former speech-writer for President Ronald Reagan) raises similar concerns in the above-cited column. She notes that the President has not spoken to the nation from the Oval Office to explain just what his objectives are and to justify what the United States is doing in furtherance of these objectives:
“Without a formal and extended statement, the air of weirdness, uncertainty and confusion that surrounds this endeavor will only deepen.” Peggy Noonan, ibid.
I am torn between judging the President to be utterly out of his depth intellectually in dealing with complex choices and judging him to be insane. I incline to the former judgment because, so far, his observable personal behavior has not demonstrated notable instability. In either case, the President’s advisors are wise to distance him from the television cameras and from the world’s press. It is not in the interest of the United States to advertise that a sitting -president is either intellectually-challenged or technically insane.