You Should Have Seen the One That Got Away

Daily Best of the Web   —   Posted on September 19, 2014

The following is an excerpt from’s “Best of the Web” written by the editor, James Taranto.

big-fishYou Should Have Seen the One That Got Away
“Police Reel In Two Alabama Men for Cheating in Fishing Tournament”–headline, FoxNews, Sept. 18

What Would We Do Without Experts?
“No Use Fighting the Tide of Online Journalism, Experts Say”–headline, Japan Times, Sept. 17

He Did It by Occident
“Joe Biden Refers to Asia as the ‘Orient’ “–headline, Mediaite, Sept. 17

If Convicted, He Is Expected to a Peel
“Police: Video Shows Suspect Robbing Store With Banana He Swiped From Counter Near Cashier”–headline, FoxNews, Sept. 17

Hey, Kids! What Time Is It?
“Time to Stop the Sob Stories About Student Loan Debt”–headline, Forbes, Sept. 18

Another Vietnam?
“The U.S. military campaign against Islamist militants in Syria is being designed to allow President Barack Obama to exert a high degree of personal control, going so far as to require that the military obtain presidential signoff for strikes in Syrian territory,” The Wall Street Journal reports.

“The parallels are terrifying,” writes Sean Davis of, who quotes from Edgar Puryear’s 2001 book, “American Generalship,” which quotes in turn from Gen. William Westmoreland’s memoir:

In his book, [Westmoreland] commented critically on interference in his decision-making, writing: “Instead of round-the-clock raids, Washington authorized only two to four raids a week and those by only a few dozen planes at a time. . . . Interference from Washington seriously hampered the campaign. President [Lyndon B.] Johnson allegedly boasted on one occasion that ‘they can’t even bomb an outhouse without my approval.’ Washington’s timidity was an outgrowth of the advice of well-intentioned but naive officials, and of its effect on a President so politically oriented that he tried to please everybody rather than bite the bullet and make the hard decisions. . . .”

Meanwhile, Reuters has this report from aboard Air Force One:

President Barack Obama would consider requests to “forward deploy” U.S. military advisers with Iraqi troops “on a case-by-case basis” if they are needed, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Wednesday.

“They would not be personally or directly engaging the enemy,” Earnest told reporters traveling back from Tampa with Obama.

Yesterday we noted that Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, seemed to be contradicting the president when he said: “If we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the President.”

If we understand the Earnest statement correctly, the White House and Dempsey views of the matter are converging. But that’s a big if. Even if this president is capable of making a difficult decision, he appears completely unwilling to be straight about it.

For more “Best of the Web” click here and look for the “Best of the Web Today” link in the middle column below “Today’s Columnists.”