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Speaking the Truth

Gary is an author, trial lawyer, Mequon-area resident and town of Cedarburg supervisor. He is a columnist for the News Graphic and writes for several Wisconsin area magazines and is a national columnist with The American Thinker and PJ Media.  He lives with his wife, Lisa, and has three sons ages 18 to 28. Gary won Ozaukee County in his bid for the Wisconsin Assembly's 60th District in 2011, but came up just 58 votes short.


bum·ble (bmbl)

v.bum·bled, bum·bling, bum·bles


1. To speak in a faltering manner.

2. To move, act, or proceed clumsily.


It is as if Abbott and Costello are dictating American foreign policy. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are learning something Rush Limbaugh has been saying for decades: "Words mean things." Our president is only now beginning to realize that being president is a little different than teaching community organizing on a chalkboard. And our Secretary of State is quickly finding out that unlike the fantasy world of the Senate floor, in the real world what you say and do has consequences.

For over a year the mainstream media has circled its wagons trying to parse and explain the not-so-hidden meaning of Obama’s "red line" comment spoken at a news conference at the White House on August 20, 2012. With regard to a U.S. show of force in Syria, Obama unequivocally stated:

"We have been very clear to the (Bashar Assad) regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation."

Apparently he wasn’t as clear as he thought he was. One year and a day later, we learned that nobody takes our president or the U.S. seriously any more. On August 21, 2013, Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons on its own citizens in east Damascus, gassing as many as 1,300 in one of the worst chemical weapons attacks in decades. This is what happens when government control is handed over to a bunch of liberals who as parents would count to three when their children misbehaved, only to do nothing when they got to three – except to go on to four and five.

On September 4, President Obama realized his bluff had been called. He promptly told reporters in Sweden that he never set a red line. "I didn’t set a red line. The world set a red line," Obama waffled. "The world set a red line when governments representing 98% of the world’s population said the use of chemical weapons are (sic) abhorrent and passed a treaty forbidding their use even when countries are engaged in war."

One day before Obama walked back his red line comment, it was John Kerry’s turn to deliver the punch line. In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry intimated that "boots on the ground" was an option. He subsequently tried not once – but twice – to walk back that comment, calling it a "hypothetical" and later saying he was just "thinking out loud."

Less than 24 hours after Kerry’s authoritative case for military action, the leadership vacuum in the White House became even clearer. President Obama decided to make Congress his scapegoat by passing the decision on to them – after definitively saying that he didn’t need Congress’ approval to use military force.

The Abbott and Costello routine continued when John Kerry’s started counting to three. On September 9, John Kerry announced that U.S. intelligence blamed Assad for the attack and gave Syria a week to hand over its chemical weapons. The State Department promptly explained that Kerry had not been taking his medication, referring to Kerry’s comments as a "rhetorical argument" – whatever that means.

What shouldn’t come as a surprise, however, is that both Syria and Russia took Kerry’s comments seriously. Bashir Assad and Russia’s Vladimir Putin quickly capitalized on the comment, calling it a "workable solution." The coup de grace, however, was Putin’s New York Times editorial admonishing the U.S. to abide by the United Nations’ authority. Amazingly well-written, the article was able to embarrass the U.S. president and America because Abbott and Costello never learned that words have consequences.

The comedy routine wasn’t over. On Thursday, September 19, noting that a "definitive" UN report had proven that the Syrian regime was behind the August chemical weapons attack, John Kerry created yet another red line. He publicly announced that the UN Security Council must be prepared to draw a binding resolution on Syria’s chemical weapons by next week. And so it continues.

The foreign policy "Who’s on First?" routine headlined by the inexperience, immaturity, and insecurity of the community organizer in the White House has painted America into a proverbial corner. The mainstream media crime scene clean up team may help Obama in the bowels of heavily-urban America, but it doesn’t help on the international stage. Obama’s bumbling foreign policy antics complete the trifecta of incompetence for a president whose domestic policy and fiscal failures have already crippled the nation.

Lest we forget, this is the same president who over a year ago, in response to the terrorist attack on our embassy and the murder of four Americans in Benghazi said, "We will bring to justice those who took them from us." More feckless counting, never quite getting to three. Compare that promise with the recycled words he spoke after the recent Navy Yard shooting in Washington, D.C. recently: "We will do everything in our power to see that whoever carried out this cowardly act is held responsible." At some point it just becomes white noise – something to force you to change the channel for mental health reasons. It’s sad, but this is what you get with millions of uninformed Obama-phone voters.

The furious backpedalling and the confusing, contradictory and impotent foreign policy exhibited by the fools on the hill continue to damage America’s standing in the world. It seems that red lines, like the debt ceiling, are meant to be ignored. Or perhaps they are like the US border - more of a rough guideline than a rule really.

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