I'm sure you heard about the standoff between the US Navy and the Somali pirates over the weekend? They had an American ship captain held hostage and they were surrounded by Naval destroyers, which obviously created an uncomfortable situation. Naturally, we wanted our American citizen back alive, but he was also the only bargaining chip these pirates had to make it out of the situation alive. Leave it to the Republicans to turn a scary, volatile and delicate situation into a chance to gain some political ground against the Commander-in-Chief. As always, instead of presenting logical ideas that could work, they went to their tried and true tactics of smear and fear. Yes, in the middle of a hostage situation, Barack Obama had the audacity to send in... a hostage negotiator! Here's Newt Gingrich, Glenn Beck, Fox News and the rest of the right-wing propaganda machine to explain how Obama is losing the battle against piracy:
Unfortunately for the Neocons, the story didn't quite turn out the way they had hoped for; the American captain was rescued and the pirates were killed by Navy SEAL snipers. Of course, I don't think the Republicans wanted the guy to die or anything, they just didn't want Obama to look good after they hinged their bets on this situation ending badly. They wanted a situation that would make the president look weak, this is their latest smear tactic after he showed respect to the Saudi king. As always, never mind the glaring Republican hypocrisy of them not saying a word when Bush would invite the Saudi king to the White House and hold his hand or share a kiss.
The goal of making Obama look weak in this situation was to create the illusion that he was succumbing to the demands of terrorists by sending in a hostage negotiator. However, anyone with a functioning brain (therefore excluding Glenn Beck), would know that there is a difference between hostage negotiations and negotiating with terrorists. The negotiations weren't "give us back the captain and we'll give you a million dollars," it was "keep that captain alive or we will be forced to kill you." There was no escape for those pirates and their only choice was to keep the captain alive and be brought into custody or kill the captain and be blown out of the water. That's not a terrorist negotiation, that's trying to save an innocent man's life. The pirates weren't showing any signs of being willing to negotiate and it appeared they were going to kill the captain, so the SEALs were left with no choice but to take them out, luckily the hostage was not harmed in the process.
The thing that confuses me the post about this latest Neocon phony outrage is what exactly did they expect? Did they just want the Navy to blow the pirates out of the water and chalk up Captain Phillips' death as a broken egg in the omelet? I guess it's like their ideas on friendly fire... it's somehow less sad if a soldier is killed by one of our bullets on accident instead of the enemy's on purpose? This just seems like a very strange story to go after the president on because there was no way those pirates were escaping that situation without being captured or killed. Their only argument that seems to remain is the fact that it took awhile to get the situation resolved, but if you go that route, then Republicans once again prove that they cannot tell reality from fiction. Hostage situations take time, often several days, real life is not like "24" and you can't send in Jack Bauer to single-handedly save the hostages before the end of the hour.
Perhaps instead of rushing to judgment, the neocons should take some of that medicine that they prescribed to people like me the last eight years and not be a part of the "blame America first" crowd. This story had a happy ending, an innocent man was rescued and dangerous criminals were brought to justice, yet the Republican Party just had to open their mouths and make themselves look foolish once again... which makes it an even happier ending for me.