Noxious complaining about the cost of fighting a necessary war? Check.
Disingenuous denial that he dithered? Check.
“Let me be clear”s/”clear”s = 9.
Self-congratulations for sticking to Gitmo closure policy = 1.
Self-referential “As your Commander-in-Chief”s = 2.
References to global jihad = 0.
Charles Krauthammer tonight called the speech “strange,” “defensive,” “hedging,” and full of “uncertainty compounding uncertainty.”
Way to restore America’s standing in the world, eh?
Pray for our troops tonight and every night. They need ’em now more than every.
Andrew Ferguson has a different take on the speech:
Obama is the first Democratic president in forty years to call for a significant deployment of American troops in the national security interest of his country. This is very big news. His predecessor, President Clinton, could give a stirring address dispatching bombers over Bosnia and be confident of the support of his fellow Democrats, because the show of power was purely humanitarian and had nothing to do with keeping us safe from our enemies. With great courage, Obama is trying something that hasn’t been tried within the living memory of most of the members of his party. He may even recall the era when liberal Democratic presidents — Roosevelt, Truman, Kennedy, and Johnson — could lead a fight because it was in the interest of the country to fight.
This is a historical moment, and one we should be grateful for. It’s worth an extra twenty minutes of presidential gassing off. It’s even worth a lot of guff about beginning to pull the troops out by a date certain, no matter what. (I’ll believe it when I see it.) If this is what he needs to mollify his political supporters, let him talk and talk and talk.
Alas, Obama’s “gassing off” is not so much a matter of spouting “essential platitudes” as it is a down payment on future pandering to the Left that will not be in the national security interest of our country.
Paul Mirengoff is dead-on:
Earlier today I wondered whether President Obama’s speech about Afghanistan would sound more like a description of a war plan or a structured settlement of a legal dispute. What I heard tonight tilted decidedly in the latter direction. To be precise, the speech sounded to me like a slick lawyer trying to sell a dubious settlement to a skeptical client or, in this case, set of clients.
Consistent with slick salesmanship – as well as the president’s character – the speech was quite self-referential. Providing a potted history of our military efforts in the war on terrorism, Obama took shots at his predecessor and attempted to cast himself as the hero throughout. Thus, he patted himself on the back for opposing the war in Iraq, on which he blamed the current difficulties in Afghanistan.
Obama also patted himself on the back for bringing the war in Iraq to a “responsible end.” But he failed to mention the surge in Iraq, which was instrumental in turning the tide to the point that it became possible to speak of a responsible end.
The omission was odd inasmuch as Obama was pitching a similar surge in Afghanistan. This meant that the Iraq surge was more relevant to tonight’s speech than any other element of Obama’s potted history. Yet he was too partisan, and too embarrassed by his own opposition to the surge, to mention this vital decision.
It was therefore rank hypocrisy for Obama latter to decry the partisanship that has plagued the war on terrorism.
Bonus emetic: Chris Matthews referring to West Point as the “enemy camp.” But we already knew which side he was on. Vid via Allahpundit:
That’s right. Matthews smeared the cadets for behaving properly and not showing overt political preferences for Obama. He wanted to see more “warmth” — e.g., twitching legs, tears of joy, and fainting a la the Obamedia.
Oh, and yes, MSNBC was still as monochromatic tonight as it is monodogmatic.
If West Point is the “enemy camp,” what does Chris Matthews call Gitmo?
Here’s a clear-thinking cadet who was in the audience sending a clear message of unwavering resolve. Matthews won’t get a leg tingle, but he might wet his pants over it:
Several readers note the active service campaign ribbons and medals on the man’s chest and identify one of them as the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, showing he has been an Infantry Soldier under Combat. D. O’Brien writes: “The Cadet pictured in your piece on President Obama’s speech at West Point (December 1, 2009) is not a ‘traditional’ cadet. He is a former enlisted man – and an Infantryman who wears the Combat Infantryman’s Badge. This award is given only to Infantrymen who have participated in direct-fire engagements against the enemy.”