Mr. McCain said that if he were president he would have moved already, and that is not to be doubted.
There is nothing wrong with taking action—when possible—that is contained, discrete, swift, targeted, humanitarian and, not least, can be carried through successfully. And then shutting up about it. That might remind the world—and ourselves—who we are. And it might have very helpful effects down the road. “If we do that, the Americans may come.” Leave the monsters guessing.
So, my dream: We go in, rescue the kids, get out, go home, and say nothing. Our troops would be happy with that: They like their jobs and like doing good, but the showbiz aspects that sometimes follow their actions only lead to distraction and discord. The White House would have to dummy up too, which would be hard for them. Staffers always want to make a president look good, and Obama staffers seem to think their primary purpose is to aggrandize the president. But there would be no network special with a breathless Brian Williams giving us the tick-tock on how it all went down and how the president kept his cool when all about him others were losing theirs.
What happened would, of course, get around. The world would know in time. But we would say nothing, like dignified people who use their might not for praise or power, but to achieve a measure of decency in the world.