Saturday, July 12, 2014
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Obama's Profile in Courage

I didn’t vote for Barack Obama. Not the first time. Not the last time.

Obama's Profile in Courage

President Barack Obama pauses after answering questions from members of the media on Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Speaking about Syria, the president said he hasn´t made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he´s considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria´s government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
President Barack Obama pauses after answering questions from members of the media on Friday, Aug. 30, 2013. Speaking about Syria, the president said he hasn't made a final decision about a military strike against Syria. But he says he's considering a limited and narrow action in response to a chemical weapons attack that he says Syria's government carried out last week. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

I didn’t vote for Barack Obama. Not the first time. Not the last time.

I didn’t vote for John Kerry, either.

I have never voted for a Democrat for President of the United States.

But for the first time, I am exceptionally proud of both of them. Literally overnight, they have shown what they are made of. As dust will soon settle on what will be America’s successful mission in Syria, it will be clear that President Obama’s and Secretary of State Kerry’s words and actions will merit a profile in courage.

More coverage
Should the U.S. retaliate against Syria?
Yes, no matter what.
 
  259 (15.0%)
Yes, but only with U.N. support.
 
  334 (19.3%)
No
 
  1053 (60.9%)
Not sure
 
  83 (4.8%)
Total votes = 1729

In his 1955 best-selling book, the then-Junior Senator from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy, wrote that an ordinary political figure becomes a statesman when he makes a decision that challenges even his own world perspective -- a decision that may hurt his political standing.

“In whatever arena of life one may meet the challenge of courage, whatever may be the sacrifices he faces if he follows his conscience – the loss of his friends, his fortune, his contentment, even the esteem of his fellow men – each man must decide for himself the course he will follow,” JFK wrote.

Obama and Kerry had a lot of foreign friends before today. Tomorrow, they may very well be on their own. The U.S. may very well take unilateral action against Syria. Not surprisingly, there won’t be support from the United Nations or the international community. Surprisingly, with the British parliament voting against military action, we won’t have one of our staunchest supporters watching our backs.

Instead, we will be on our own – fighting a war that the American people will condemn more than Iran, more than North Korea, and more than Vietnam.

And peace-loving Democrats will join Obama-hating Republicans, hand in hand, in condemning every major Democratic leader that supports this effort, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who has said, “It is clear that the American people are weary of war. However, Assad gassing his own people is an issue of our national security, regional stability and global security,” later adding, “What Assad has done is outside the realm of basic human rights. On this evening’s call, I expressed my appreciation for the measured, targeted and limited approach the President may be considering.”

Yes, you’ve got to wonder what planet we are living on when Democrat Pelosi supports U.S. intervention in the Middle East while Republican House Majority Leader John Boehner seems to be doing all he can to delay it.

Democrats supporting war? Republicans opposing it?

What is this? A sick and twisted desire by President Obama to have his Nobel Peace Prize rescinded?

Let’s look back at October 9, 2009 – the day that Obama first spoke about winning the the world’s highest award for peace. He stated that he did not feel he deserved the award. He was right. He didn’t deserve it at that point. He won the award because, pure and simple, he wasn’t George W. Bush or any of Bush’s disciples (meaning Republicans). Obama knew he didn’t have any accomplishments to justify the award. But in his acceptance speech at the White House, he made a remark that is especially noteworthy today, saying that the U.S. was “a country that's responsible for ending a war and working in another theater to confront a ruthless adversary that directly threatens the American people and our allies.”

He wrapped up his speech by saying, “That has always been the cause of America. That's why the world has always looked to America. And that's why I believe America will continue to lead.”

Little did Obama know how true that would ring today.

Whether you like it or not, we are the world’s leader, and the unfree world looks to us for help.

They look to us because they know that America has always made it a moral obligation to help those who could not help themselves. They look to us because they know that even with our challenging domestic issues of homelessness, recession and crime that we will save the world when the evil death squad is around the corner. They look to use because they know that the American values of not standing idly by are what makes our country the greatest country on this planet.

John Kerry understands that. “The question is whether we — we collectively — what are we and the world going to do about it,” Kerry stated today.

“Fatigue does not absolve us of our responsibility,” Kerry declared. “Just longing for peace does not necessarily bring it about.”

You have made the compelling case for intervention, Secretary Kerry. America has a responsibility. If we don’t act now, our enemies will never again care about what we say. North Korea, Iran, and now Syria need to know if they cross the line that we will respond – swiftly, appropriately and painfully.

Thank you, President Obama. Today, I am proud of you, and you have earned your peace prize. In today’s world, we cannot have peace without war.

John Featherman
About this blog
John Featherman is a contributor at Philly.com and writes about politics and consumer-related issues. Reach John at john@featherman.com.

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