Would it surprise her fans to know she did not believe in America showing off its military might with parades and ostentatious displays? After all, she had aligned herself with the far more jingoistic end of the country’s political spectrum for her entire adult life. Still, Peggy Noonan of the Order of the Sisters of Infinite Befuddlement came from good, humble Ohio stock, solidly rooted in Midwestern values. She had been uncomfortable with the martial victory parades after the first Gulf War, though she didn’t sour on George W. Bush’s aircraft carrier landing until after the occupation of Iraq had gone off the rails.

She sighed and cracked some more ice into her glass. She would never live down that Hardball appearance. Damn that Chris Matthews and his jokey Irish bonhomie and that sixer of Iron City he’d brought into the Green Room just before showtime! “C’mon Peggy, you’re not too good to drink a good old Pennsylvania brew, even with a liberal, are you?” he had growled, popping open a can and waving it under her nose so that the boozy scent opened her pores and lightning exploded across the reward center of her brain, and she heard her voice as if from a great distance say “I suppose two or three couldn’t hurt…”

The world in the 20th century liked the America that could do the job and the Americans who modestly did it. It wouldn't feel so warmly about an America that made such a show of its prowess and power.

We think any Iranians familiar with the overthrow of Mohammad Mosaddegh might disagree with you on that first sentence, Peggy. And more than a few natives of several South American countries. And some folks in Southeast Asia. And a few Middle Eastern nations. And that’s just off the top of our head. Imagine if we put some research into it. As for the second sentence, duh. Perhaps the founding of that Al-Qaeda group you might have heard something about was a clue?

John McCain has it exactly right. (I don't think I've ever written that sentence.) He told CNN that as soon as the U.S. learned that hundreds of children had been kidnapped and stolen away by a rabid band of terrorists in Nigeria, we should have used "every asset that we have -- satellite, drones, any capabilities that we had to go after them." He told the Daily Beast: "I certainly would send in U.S. troops to rescue them, in a New York minute I would, without permission of the host country." […]

Mr. McCain said that if he were president he would have moved already, and that is not to be doubted.

The same John McCain who said he wouldn’t violate Pakistan’s sovereignty to go after Osama bin Laden? Okay then. If we are grateful for anything during every foreign policy crisis of the Obama presidency, it is that John McCain can do little more than spout off to the Daily Beast and the hosts of the Sunday morning political chat shows.

There is nothing wrong with taking action -- when possible -- that is contained, discrete, swift, targeted, humanitarian and, not least, can be carried through successfully.

Whenever a couple of dozen medical students are in danger on an island defended by a handful of Cuban construction workers, America will be there!

And then shutting up about it. That might remind the world -- and ourselves -- who we are.

Shutting up about it? That horse is so far out of the barn it has died of old age while running wild in another county. And does anyone think that a President McCain -- or, dog forbid, Vice-President Palin -- would not crow to the high heavens over a successful military mission? You’d hear those two in space.

So, my dream: We go in, rescue the kids, get out, go home, and say nothing. […]

They (the Obama administration) probably assume that the American people in general, on hearing of any rescue mission, would say, "Oh no, American involvement in another war -- stop, don't do it!"

But that's not what the American people would think. They'd just think of the little girls. "Is it possible to go in there with a few hundred troops and save the girls and get out? Then do it!" And when word reached them that America had done it, they'd feel proud.

Some of us are actually with you on that last one, lady.

So to sum up: Peggy Noonan, a woman with no military experience and no particular insight into what the administration may be doing about the kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls beyond what she has read in the paper, would like us to throw a few hundred troops into the jungle to save those poor kids. News flash: You have to find the girls first, and last we checked the United States military is actually participating in the effort to do just that, even though foreign experts think a successful rescue is at best a long shot. It is doing so quietly, perhaps so as not to embarrass our ally Nigeria (even if its president is a hapless dipshit running a corrupt petro-state), and to deny any more free worldwide press to Boko Haram and its leader, Abubakar Shekau, who at the end of the day is basically a backwoods hick with a Messianic complex and too many heavily armed followers. He’s Cliven Bundy in jungle camo. You don’t want to give this guy any more legitimacy than he’s already gotten.

In other words, the Obama administration and the U.S. military are going about this whole thing quietly, below the radar, exactly the way Peggy Noonan is advocating. But all she has heard is John McCain saying what he would do, so she assumes, apparently, that nothing is being done because she can’t imagine the terrible law professor in the White House doing it.

Dear Lord. Someone get us an Iron City or five.



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