Politics and instantaneous communication
Obama gave a speech last night about Libya explaining what we're doing and why we're there. It was a fairly defensive speech because he'd gotten a lot of heat for not telling the American people about what we were doing in Libya quickly enough. He went over the timeline, and pointed out that our push to do something started about a month ago and that we put planes in the air less than a week ago.
The response in the news has been Obama is late with his explanation.
Maybe that's true, but let's go back to 1775 for a moment. The revolution began, they say, with 'The Shot Heard 'Round the World.' Only the sound of that shot would have taken about a month to reach Europe in 1775 by sea. And then, another month, or more, before a message could have returned to the colonies. Two months or more, at breakneck speed, just to get word back from England that they knew we were fighting them.
With communications delays like that, you could sit on your reply for a long time, think about how you want to phrase it, run it by a few advisors, and then relax for a couple months after you shoot off your reply.
I got really pissed off yesterday when I realized that the IT guy for one of my clients has screwed up their email server and my emails are being deferred for a day or two. Hell, I get pissed off when I can't send email for an hour. An hour -- can you imagine? Being out of communication with someone on the other side of the planet for an hour? Unacceptable.
So, back to politics… Modern politics are built on practically medieval delays and obstructions. It's built on secrets and the Machiavellian timing of releasing those secrets.
Only now we know everything as it happens. Between the 24/7 news cycle, social media and Wikileaks, it's impossible for a politician to quietly go about his or her business and figure out the best way to tell the public about what they're just figuring out in private.
While everyone seems to agree that the US did the right thing, the right way, at the right time, what Obama gets in trouble for is being slow to give a speech… I'm sure our next President will get in trouble for being too slow to post a blog.