Peggy Noonan’s Broken Soul


I’ve read a slew of blog posts over the past few days suggesting that Peggy Noonan has finally and comprehensively gone crazy. The evidence is her latest column, which starts with “We are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate” and goes downhill from there. But I don’t get it. This isn’t Noonan’s worst column ever. It’s not even her worst column in the month of May. That would be last week’s column, in which she accused President Obama of refusing to send rescue teams to Benghazi because he thought it might hurt his reelection chances. I’m not making that up, and I’m not exaggerating. Here’s what she wrote:

The Obama White House sees every event as a political event. Really, every event, even an attack on a consulate and the killing of an ambassador. Because of that, it could not tolerate the idea that the armed assault on the Benghazi consulate was a premeditated act of Islamist terrorism. That would carry a whole world of unhappy political implications, and demand certain actions.

….All of this is bad enough. Far worse is the implied question that hung over the House hearing, and that cries out for further investigation. That is the idea that if the administration was to play down the nature of the attack it would have to play down the response—that is, if you want something to be a nonstory you have to have a nonresponse. So you don’t launch a military rescue operation, you don’t scramble jets, and you have a rationalization—they’re too far away, they’ll never make it in time. This was probably true, but why not take the chance when American lives are at stake?

Noonan basically thinks that Barack Obama sat in the situation room on September 11th last year and was asked repeatedly, Do you want to send in a FAST team? How about the C-110 force in Croatia? Should we scramble F-16s? Can we send in a team from Tripoli? And each time, Obama stroked his chin, stared up at the ceiling, and decided that attempting to save American lives might hurt his reelection chances. So he said no.

There is, literally, not a single politician in the country that I would suspect of doing something like that. Not even the ones I loathe. Not Dick Cheney. Not Richard Nixon. Not Darrell Issa. Not Newt Gingrich. Not anyone. I think you’d have to go all the way up the ladder to Josef Stalin to find that degree of cynicism and callousness.

But that’s apparently what Noonan thinks of Obama. This is the work of a broken soul who happens to have a bit of writing skill. But broken nonetheless.

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