Not a Paper Tiger...but maybe a Cardboard Cowboy?

Long before 9/11 America was dismissed throughout most of the Middle East and much of the rest of the world as a paper tiger. Failures by the Clinton Administration to strike back at Al Qaeda when they struck us lethally and bloodily on our own soil at New York City's World Trade Center in 1993, the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam and the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole in Aden in 2000, led far too many wild-eyed fanatics in this world to conclude that the world's only superpower lacked the fortitude to confront those who bloodied its nose and killed its citizens with impunity.

I've often wondered if those plotting the downfall of the Great Satan during Clinton's eight years didn't take heart and encouragement from the disclosures that the leader of the Free World's testosterone aggressions were obviously directed inwardly and not towards them.

Back in those days the term paper tiger floated about the Internet and the ether as a frequent epithet applied to the world's most militarily powerful but politically impotent nation. Then came two seminal events: first, the election of George W. Bush and second, the attack on 9/11. Those who had become emboldened by the lack of serious response from an attacked America during the eight years of the effete Clinton Administration badly misunderestimated his cowboy successor. Their attack on America finally awakened the sleeping giant because the sleeping giant wasn't sleeping around anymore. The born-again type now occupying the Oval Office took a much less politically correct and sanguine view of Islamic fanaticism than did his predecessor.

Saddam Hussein, the most despicable of America's enemies in the Middle East must have finally realized that the paper tiger and the cowboy riding the tiger were obviously made of stronger stuff in that millisecond when he hit the terminal length of that rope around his neck. His uber-vicious little buddy al Zarqawi may have had a split second to come to a similar realization that he was in the tiger's maw  in that moment before his cruelty and viciousness were crushed into oblivion by those jaws.

Now here we are with the Ultimate Leader of Islamic Fanaticism with his skull double-tapped by a Navy SEAL, one of the paper tiger's very sharpest front teeth and surely his followers are coming to realize that they aren't facing the same toothless tiger that allowed them to grow to power in the 90's. We may still have a squeamish, politically-correct liberal sitting as commander-in-chief, but what we don't have is a docile, compliant electorate willing to sit back and absorb lethal bite after bite from these jihadist snakes. Obama reportedly dithered almost sixteen hours, unwilling to make the hard call demanded by his CIA and military leaders until it finally sunk into his political brain that inaction could lead to colossal failure with the voters in 2012 should his uncertainty and weakness become public.

America, especially the military and intelligence arms, will now be recognized by the bad guys as no longer being a paper tiger. My fear is that those same bad guys still view our president as nothing more than a calculating, cardboard cowboy, greedily grabbing all the credit where it's only partially due. Rest assured, the zealots will challenge us mightily in the future.

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