No sooner did Anwar Al-Awlaki, former go to guy for mainstream media heads in need of a quote about the peacefulness of Islam, go to his virgins courtesy of a beautiful aerodynamic drone, then the State Department called the family of one of his co-terroriststs offer their condolences and apologize for not calling them sooner. And if they had only called sooner, the nearest and dearest could have been treated to a condolence countdown. You are about to be bereaved in 5-4-3-2-1... our condolences.
When Hitler went to the great grease bucket in the ground, Churchill didn't stop by the German embassy to offer his condolences. The President of Ireland, Eamon DeValera did, which tells you all you need to know about him... and about our State Department. When the FBI guns down a mobster in a back alley, it doesn't apologize to the widow. But when a drone sails over Yemen and finds that Al-Awlaki shaped part of Google Earth and erases it, the diplomats kowtow to the survivors.
Even when the O admin kills terrorists, it makes sure to do it as softly as possible while offending as few people as possible, and providing simultaneous sign language translation and transgender role models for the kids.
The schizophrenia goes even deeper because the real reason Bin Laden and Al-Awlaki were killed is because the Obama Administration's liberal policy positions made it too difficult to figure out what to do with them once they captured them. The Bush Administration viewed captured terrorists as a good way to stuff a fish tank to get strategic and tactical information. The Obama Administration sees them as an irresolvable ethical dilemma that can only be resolved by killing them.
You have to halfway admire an administration that unties a Gordian knot over which court to try terrorists in by just killing them, but it's like admiring a lawyer who can't decide what plea to enter for his client and just finds a way to disqualify himself from the case. That's what the O admin did by keeping the ball in the military's court so its notoriously incompetent and terrorist sympathetic AG wouldn't have to face any major moral dilemmas. And then sending their diplomatic messenger boys to apologize for what the military did.
With two ranking Al-Qaeda leaders down, the O should be picking up major national security cred for it all. But picking up national security cred requires actually having a national security policy. Obama has worked hard to send mixed messages, distancing himself from the military, but letting a war that he claimed to oppose go forward anyway. It's not just the economy that robbed him of a solid bump, it was the consistency.
Obama had never identified himself as a War on Terror man and was unable to commit it except when the military he studiously ignored registered a major success, or when one of its generals said mean things about him in Rolling Stone.
Soft power defined this administration and damned it. A power so soft that the administration can't properly take credit for offing Bin Laden without squeamishly worrying about how it will play in the Muslim world. So soft that we couldn't kill Al-Awlaki and his cohorts without irrationally offering our condolences for something that we did. Power doesn't get any softer than that.
Just ask the Russians who are objecting to AEGIS boats off Gibraltar, now part of their sphere of interest. How long will it be before Putin comes around asking about the old Russian colonies in Hawaii and California, not to mention Alaska, which they've always claimed was only a 99 year lease.
China sees us as something between a weak rival and a debtor. They can't decide if they should be going to war with us or offering us a new payment plan. Iran has gotten the run of the region. Assad is coolly slaughtering the opposition, while we spent the better part of our prestige and started a new war to put Islamists into power in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt.
If there's a country that takes us seriously anymore, it's either not on the map or due shortly for a coup. And its leaders know that after a few days of protests when the body count mounts, we'll issue a statement in support of the takeover in the name of peace, justice, democracy and whatever other cold porridge is being served in Foggy Bottom this week.
With Islamists poised to seize outright or play major roles in the more stable countries in the region, the O admin gave him a gift that he would have gladly sacrificed his life for. The beginnings of a Caliphate with minimum collateral damage. What Bin Laden didn't even dream of doing, we did for him.
While Obama abandoned the Iranian protesters, he intervened on behalf of the Mullah's Shiite pawns in Bahrain. Syrian protesters got a shrug, genocidal Islamists in Libya got an air force escort. In Egypt, Mubarak was told to leave, and in Saudi Arabia, the House of Saud is sitting pretty. If the bad guys had given him a checklist of everything he could do to help them, he couldn't have performed any better.
Hunting down Bin Laden and Al-Awlaki suddenly looks like Woodrow Wilson boasting that he finally got Pancho Villa while the Kaiser was pulling up to Buckingham Palace with an American honor guard.
You can't entirely blame Obama for being this incompetent. His war isn't really in Afghanistan or Iraq and his real enemy wasn't an old Saudi making video reviews of Fahrenheit 911 in his cozy Pakistani estate. It's every domestic institution that isn't completely under his control.
If Bush went to war against internal threats, Obama is going to war to consolidate domestic powers as his czars and departments rush to file suit against every state that their Harvard trained geniuses can find on their iPhone's Google Maps app. His war isn't led by the SEALS, but by EPA SWAT teams and killer elite squads of lawyers and spin grenadiers.
Democrats respect systems of checks and balances, because they know that in a system of open elections they're going to be in the minority. Tyrants don't think that way. Their mission is to control everything and then dictate unilateral terms. They don't worry about what happens when they'll lose an election, because they don't really believe it can happen to them.
Whether it's Obama ramming Obamacare throat by any means necessary or Reid using the nuclear options to streamline control of Senate procedures or pro-government mobs gathering to protest aimlessly against Wall Street in what looks like a human twitter feed of idiots-- this is not an operation that has any goal except total power by any and every means necessary.
Bin Laden needed a war against the infidels to build support for a Caliphate. Obama was okay with taking out Bin Laden to build support for a Socialist Caliphate with Biden as his idiot Grand Vizier who's good for nothing but pulling snakes out of turbans. The war in Afghanistan and its dead soldiers mean as much to Obama as the people falling out of buildings in New York to Bin Laden. They're only subsidiary means to a larger objective.
Internationally Obama's advisers backed soft power to remedy all of Bush's big stick knocking about. But as everyone above foggy bottom level knew, soft power is just slang for, "We ain't got it in us no more."
When dealing with rivals who use radioactive weapons to take out critics in London and seize oil reserves by sending in warships full speed ahead, soft power works about as well as tickling a bear with a feather duster while asking him to stop biting your head.
Say what you will about Putin or the Chinese oligarchs, they don't send condolences after they have an enemy knocked off, and they have nothing but contempt for those who do. There is no surer way of showcasing how soft you are, then by killing and then sending a fruit basket. Unless it's a fruit basket loaded with TNT.
Soft power works fine when your reality is defined by game theory, rather than by men who are part of organizations that have wallowed in the blood of millions to get this far. They are singularly underwhelmed by good intentions as anything but the saliva that tenderizes a meal before it's fit to eat.
It used to be that Arab Muslim dictatorships were the ones rendering their maps Judenrein, but these days it's hard to tell apart the Arab League and Obama Nation. And when our friends are our enemies and our enemies are our friends, it's hard to make sense of anything except that we must always be apologetic to our enemies so they become our friends and hostile to our friends so our enemies will want to be even friendlier.
Soft power at its finest is a slushie machine in which you can put anything on one end and it comes out the other end as a shapeless squishy liquid that tastes like nothing unless you add a lot of corn syrup. The media has been doing double duty pouring sugar on all the soft power, which is why some ABC and NBC viewers still don't know how bad the situation is, while every BBC, RTV and Al-Jazeera viewer does.
While we kill them softly with violin music and the occasional drone raid, they're wiping out our economy, doing cartwheels over our foreign policy and fighting over which of them will be the next world power. And they're not doing it softly.