By Doug Magill
When things go wrong in your command, start searching for the reason in increasingly large circles around your own desk. General Bruce Clark
There is such a thing as narcissistic personality disorder which may include the following symptoms:
- React to criticism with rage, shame, or humiliation
- Take advantage of other people to achieve his or her own goals
- Have excessive feelings of self-importance
- Exaggerate achievements and talents
- Be preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence, or ideal love
- Have unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment
- Need constant attention and admiration
- Disregard the feelings of others, and have little ability to feel empathy
- Have obsessive self-interest
- Pursue mainly selfish goals
There have also been a number of recent studies that have indicated that narcissists are often mistaken for leaders and end up in leadership positions. Unfortunately, once in such positions narcissists tend to become more power-focused and possibly destructive. Certainly their self-absorption does not diminish, nor does their lack of empathy.
While not often discussed, Obama’s apparent narcissism has gotten him to the presidency, but it has not gained him the respect of those around him. There are numerous stories from even members of his own party of how difficult he is to deal with and how condescending he is in dealing with beliefs or concerns that do not match his own.
Future historians will unearth a wealth of detail on his confidence in the primacy of his own beliefs, and how it has crippled him in being able to negotiate and compromise, and masks his lack of decisiveness and courage.
Clearly the Benghazi debacle illustrates this. From indifference to the fate of his ambassador to the unwillingness to take responsibility for the lack of security before the attack and the Alfred-E-Newmanesque response to the attack itself Obama is showing his lack of empathy and concern. He clearly is not demonstrating leadership.
Leaders take charge and lead. Narcissists look for how to avoid looking bad.
By this time there should have been someone accountable and fired. What we are getting is finger-pointing and excuses, while there has been no clarity in understanding what happened, and no honor for the president, his administration, and our country.
Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty died fighting. Acting against orders their sense of honor compelled them to provide assistance to our ambassador and others that were in the compound under attack. They knew what it meant to make a decision, show leadership and risk all that they had for someone else.
What a contrast to a president that in every difficult situation looks to find a way to avoid being responsible.
We don’t know the exact circumstances yet, but it appears that Woods and Doherty faced impossible odds (100 to possibly 200) and yet caused enormous casualties in the attacking terrorists (early rumors are 60). By themselves, without knowing whether they would be relieved.
Make no mistake, we had military assets in the area, and it wouldn’t have taken much (even a strafing drone might have caused consternation due to the reputation of the U.S. military). Yet, our president – who is ultimately responsible – allowed inaction to be the order of the day. That was a decision.
Yet Woods and Doherty saved lives by allowing others to escape, while the president was absent and found no difficulty in heading to Las Vegas the next day for a campaign event. We will never know why Obama was indifferent to the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, and to the deaths of people under his command. In all probability it just didn’t fit the narrative in his head and he didn’t believe it really mattered. Or perhaps he felt it would damage him politically and felt he could escape it by not dealing with it and figuring out who to blame later.
Contrast that to Lincoln, who understood that he owned the direction of the Civil War, who never wavered in his acceptance of all that it entailed, and was unafraid to fire and replace generals in rapid order until he found one who would do what would win the war: fight.
Or Eisenhower, who prepared two letters before the D-Day invasion, one giving credit to the troops who won the day, and one placing all blame on his shoulders should they have failed.
That’s what leadership means. Own the failures and place the glory on those who actually made things happen. Unlike Obama and those who call themselves liberals, taking credit where none is deserved, and have no mirrors in regard to mistakes. They have disgraced us before (who can forget the abandonment of our ally, Vietnam, after we had won a war for them), and will do so again while glorifying victims and fearing heroes.
There was a time when leaders understood honor. Something that will never be associated with this administration.
William Travis, the leader of the garrison at the Alamo understood risk. While under siege and before his death he wrote a letter to the people of Texas asking for reinforcements and concluding, “If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible and die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country. Victory or Death.”
Woods and Doherty deserve to be in that pantheon of heroes with William Travis, where people like Obama and those in his administration will never tread.
Doug Magill is a freelance writer and voice-over talent. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org