Monday, March 28, 2016


President missing in action

The recent twin bombings, terrorist attacks in Brussels that killed 31 people and injured at least 270 sent shock waves throughout Europe.

About 75 years ago, it was the same.

Although the enemy back then was a different one, shock waves were being sent throughout Europe, as Nazi Germany attacked Poland.

And on the day before the Normandy invasion, D-Day, General George S. Patton Jr. told the soldiers of the U.S. Third Army on June 5, 1944, “We’ll win this war, but we’ll win it only by fighting and by showing the Germans that we’ve got more guts than they have; or ever will have.”

Fighting and showing. Fighting and showing. It’s not bragging if you can back it up, as Muhammad Ali often said. And of course, America did back it up – throughout the war. The Allies backed-up German forces across Europe, liberating Paris and 100 concentration camps in Germany, as Hitler found himself defeated; not by chance, but by American grit and determination, and by those who made the ultimate sacrifice, so that man might live free of the darkest atrocities, and live, instead, in peace with one another.

Today, our nation’s response to threats of terror around the world is very different. Our response today is not to fight, or show. It’s to talk.

“We defeat them in part by saying you are not strong, you are weak,” President Barack Obama declared about ISIS. “We send a message to those who might be inspired by them to say you are not going to change our values of liberty and openness and the respect of all people.”

Obviously, Obama forgot the schoolyard lesson, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” How can telling ISIS that they are weak defeat them?

But, only a few years ago, while campaigning for president, he took a decidedly more forceful tone, when he was at war with his political adversaries (and not terrorists), saying, “[We’re] going to punish our enemies and we’re going to reward our friends.” When he was running against John McCain, in fact, he was even more pointed, “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.”

And it’s this preoccupation with politics, rather than peace, or prosperity, or practicality, that is why so many Americans have given up on elected officials, altogether. They know something is missing in our country. And I miss it too. And it’s the ordinary things, admittedly, that we might have always taken for granted.

I miss a president who wants to win. Who doesn’t apologize for the sacrifices that our men and women in uniform have made, for so many nations around the world. Who doesn’t go around the world telling everyone that America “sometimes makes mistakes” and that “we are not perfect.”

I miss the America where genuine difference of opinion was debated without anyone being labeled a racist, bigot, greedy, selfish or an imbecile.

I miss a president who encourages the independent, American spirit of ingenuity, hard work and the pursuit of the American dream.

I miss a president who inspires success without conditioning its achievement on government bureaucracy or income redistribution.

I miss a president who doesn’t conduct himself as a politician running for office, when he has already been elected to the highest office in the land and has a duty to all Americans, and not just certain special interests.

A president should be the leader of our nation first, and defender of our Constitution, not a leader of a “movement.”

And that’s why I say I miss what some might have considered ordinary at one time; like fighting for what’s right and best for the cause of freedom, and not what’s only politically correct.

Only then will those who intend to do us harm know – like the Germans learned from those brave soldiers in Normandy – that we Americans have more guts than they have, or ever will, but to defeat them … we need a president who believes that too.

Louis R. Avallone is a Shreveport businessman and attorney. He is also a former aide to U.S. Representative Jim McCrery and editor of The Caddo Republican. His columns have appeared regularly in The Forum since 2007. Follow him on Facebook, on Twitter @louisravallone or by email at


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