Four strikes against the Obama administration
There's something about second presidential terms: They don't always go well.
President Ronald Reagan had Iran-Contra, President Bill Clinton had Monica Lewinsky and President George W. Bush had Iraq. Just in the past few weeks alone, President Barack Obama has had four strikes against him.
Strike one: The VA health care failure
In 2007 while campaigning to be president, Obama said, "No veteran should have to fill out a 23-page claim to get care, or wait months -- even years -- to get an appointment at the VA."
Last month, the Washington Times reported:
President Obama's transition team was warned in 2008 that repeated audits showed the Veterans Affairs Department was misreporting wait times for medical treatment, including one audit revealing delays nearly 10 times worse than the department was officially acknowledging.
In other words, the White House knew about excessive wait time problems at the VA prior to even taking office. They just waited until Dr. Sam Foote exposed it to the public to take action. Shame on them for doing nothing for six years. Strike one.
Strike two: Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl
On May 31, the Obama Administration traded five high-ranking Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay for a United States soldier, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The administration hailed it as their "last, best opportunity" to bring Bergdahl home after five years in captivity. They'd been trying to work a deal with the Taliban to free the American for years.
Almost immediately after the news broke that Bergdahl was freed, questions started to arise about the circumstances surrounding his kidnapping.
Several soldiers who served with Bergdahl said he left his post before morning roll call. Others have called it desertion. A couple more stated Bergdahl left their remote camp in Eastern Afghanistan to seek out the Taliban.
It's a good thing the American soldier is not in enemy hands anymore, but if he did leave his post, he should be charged in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Strike two comes from the lack of acknowledgement that Bergdahl may have abandoned his post and left his brothers-in-arms behind. Some may have even been killed on missions looking for the missing soldier.
Strike three: Central American refugees
It's being called a humanitarian crisis. Thousands of unaccompanied minors are arriving at American border check points from Central America, claiming asylum. So many are arriving the United States government isn't really sure how to respond.
That's been evident by the lack of answers the Obama administration is offering. At a press conference on Thursday, Department of Homeland Security Sec. Jeh Johnson pointed to the growing problem. Last year, 24,000 unaccompanied minors from Central America arrived in America. Halfway through this year, the number has already reached 48,000 after news reports have urged children to head to America to seek asylum. Asylum seekers won't be turned away, the news reports.
Apparently, The Department of Homeland Security's best option was to bus several of the immigrants -- children included -- to Phoenix and Tucson from Texas. Now they are going to fly them to other states because all the holding areas in Arizona are filling up.
The Obama administration is not responsible for causing this humanitarian crisis, but they are responsible for solving it. So far all they've offered is moving people around. DHS hasn't said what will happen to these children next either. Will they be sent home? Will they be placed in foster care? Do any of them qualify for any type of legal status?
From Washington, it's mostly silence. The lack of preparedness, answers and vision is why this is strike three against President Obama.
Strike four: Iraq
Just over 10 years after Saddam Hussein was captured by American forces, Iraq seems like it is on the verge of falling apart. A terrorist network described as more extreme than al-Qaida has taken over key cities in that country. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) currently controls a good portion of Syria and a significant section of Iraq, as they close in on Iraq's capital city of Baghdad.
If they gain power, former dictator Hussein's Iraq would look like Disneyland.
The news out of Iraq prompted Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) to rip the president.
"The first thing is get rid of this national security team, which has been a total failure."
House Speaker John Boehner accused President Obama of being asleep at the wheel, saying, "It's not like we haven't seen over the last five or six months these terrorists moving in, taking control of Western Iraq. Now they've taken control of Mosul. They're 100 miles from Baghdad and what's the president doing? Taking a nap!"
Meanwhile, Obama is said to be weighing his short-term military options, including air strikes. On Friday, the president stated his administration has been working with Iraqi leaders for the past year to help them deal with rising threats from groups like ISIS. He also said it was up to Iraq to solve this problem, as there won't be any American troops on the ground.
Back in January, the president told The New Yorker ISIS was like the al-Qaida "JV team" even after they took over the Iraqi city of Fallujah:
The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a JV team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn't make them Kobe Bryant. I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.
Does he really think a "JV" terrorist organization can take over almost half of Iraq in less than a year? Or did the administration not recognize just how powerful ISIS has become?
Maybe the truth is he just doesn't want the United States to be involved in Iraq at all, even after we invaded the country and helped set up their government. That's understandable. However, it's not wise to watch a "JV" terrorist organization grow to become an all-star team.
Right now, this current administration is lacking one major thing: Leadership. Strike four.
All of these situations are difficult to solve but this isn't about asking for perfection. It is about asking for more from the White House. More transparency, more answers and certainly more leadership.
Mr. President, we're waiting.
Rob Hunter, Host, Rob & Karie