In his appearance on Bill O'Reilly's show, Fox News strategic analyst Ralph Peters again showed how much he cares about American lives. While attacking President Obama's comments on Libya, which he called "mega wimpy," Peters dismissed the administration's reasons for refusing to call for Moammar Gadhafi's outright ouster, saying U.S. concerns for the safety of Americans living in the country are "pure spin."
This isn't the first time Peters has shown blatant disregard for the safety of Americans abroad. In 2009, Peters suggested that the Taliban kill a U.S. soldier it had captured if it turned out the soldier was a deserter.
Tonight, discussing the worsening violence against government protestors in Libya on The O'Reilly Factor, O'Reilly agreed that Obama's response to the situation there "is beyond wimpy," adding: "Gadhafi is a terrorist. He's a killer. Everybody knows it. So the moment that Libya went up, if I were president, I would've said not only do we want this guy out, we want this guy in Guantanamo Bay." He then stated; "We asked the White House this, and this was their response. They didn't come out against Gadhafi in the beginning because they wanted to get all Americans in Libya out of there. And they felt that if they had attacked Gadhafi verbally, that Gadhafi would have sent his thugs to kill Americans." Turning to Peters, O'Reilly asked: "You say?"
PETERS: That's pure spin. Gadhafi knew and knows that if he touched an American, that's the excuse we need and we'd be in there. Even Obama couldn't stop himself from sending in air strikes, special ops, marines, whatever. And so, that's just another red herring because this is -- it's -- Obama is a very smart man, but he's Hamlet -- always wringing his hands: "To be or not to be." And we need a president who makes decisions, who takes firm stands. And he needed to say today, if not much sooner, Gadhafi's government has lost all legitimacy. Gadhafi must go.
In 2009, Peters blasted Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl as a "liar" and speculated that he was a deserter. Peters went on to say: "If when the facts are in, we find out that through some kind of convoluted chain of events, he really was captured by the Taliban, I'm with him. But if he walked away from his post and his buddies in wartime -- I don't care how hard it sounds -- as far as I'm concerned, the Taliban can save us a lot of legal hassles and legal bills."
Peters' remarks set off a flurry of angry reaction from military and veteran quarters. The Pentagon reportedly said that his remarks "could endanger" the captured soldier. Then-vice chairman of VoteVets.org Brandon Friedman wrote that "proposing that an American soldier should be executed by the Taliban is extraordinarily inappropriate at best -- regardless of whether or not the soldier is a deserter." And 23 veterans in Congress (Republicans and Democrats) criticized Peters and Fox News. (In the midst of this criticism, Peters changed his tune on Bergdahl, saying: "I do hope for his family's sake this guy comes back safely.")
In December 2010, reporting on previously unseen footage of Bergdahl released by the Taliban showing the captured soldier, CBS News stated that Bergdahl is "the only known American serviceman being held in captivity in Afghanistan." CBS went on to report that "the brief clip was likely shot months ago and gives no new evidence of his present condition."
It's one thing to call for the ouster of a known dictator and human rights abuser; it's another to do so faced with the prospect of putting in danger hundreds of Americans still stuck in Libya amid mounting violence. As The New York Times reported:
With 35 diplomats and their dependents in the country, as well as about 600 other American citizens, the administration has worried that threatening Colonel Qaddafi personally could provoke him to take Americans hostage.
On Monday, the State Department ordered its diplomats to evacuate Libya. But the effort has been hampered by a shortage of seats on commercial flights and the refusal of Libyan authorities to allow flights chartered by the United States government to land in Tripoli. The State Department chartered a ferry, with a capacity of 575 people, to sail from the Mediterranean island of Malta to Tripoli.
But rough seas delayed the ship's arrival, a senior official said, and made several consular officers aboard seasick on the passage over. Now the ship is tied up at a pier in Tripoli, waiting for the seas to calm.
The fact that Obama has taken a firm stand -- listing "the safety and well-being of Americans" as the administration's "highest priority" -- also seems to have been lost on Peters. Moreover, in his remarks on Libya, Obama stated: "I've also asked my administration to prepare the full range of options that we have to respond to this crisis. This includes those actions we may take and those we will coordinate with our allies and partners, or those that we'll carry out through multilateral institutions."