This afternoon, President Obama gave a major policy speech at the National Defense University near Washington D.C. It was a tough slog to listen to him rant on and on or to see his haughty demeanor on display again. The tone of voice he uses is accusatory and I don’t understand why more commentators don’t pick up on that. He always looks like he’s going to send someone to detention.
Here’s some of what he said along with some commentary:
Obama started off talking of 9/11. “Thousands were taken from us,” he said. No, thousands were brutally murdered. He makes it sound like they just drifted off in their sleep.
“We quickly won in Afghanistan (thank you President Bush and Don Rumsfeld) and then shifted our focus to Iraq.” Parentheses mine, but you knew he wouldn’t waste time getting to Bush and insisting that Iraq was a mistake.
Terrorism brought up issues of security vs. privacy, Obama said. “In some cases I believe we compromised our basic values by using torture to interrogate our enemies and detaining individuals in a way that ran counter to the rule of law.” Mr. President, have you closed Gitmo yet? Did you watch Zero Dark Thirty? If we hadn’t used torture, you would never have gotten Bin Laden.
“The decisions we are making now will define the type of nation and world that we leave to our children.” Yes, that’s what’s so scary about what you want to do!
“No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” He attributed that quote to Madison.
“What we can do, what we must do is dismantle networks that pose a danger to us.” I don’t think Madison envisioned the shrinking of the modern world or that you could send a missile to your enemy in a matter of hours. I’m suspicious whenever Obama quotes a Founding Father.
“So after I took office we stepped up the war against al Qaeda, but also changed its course. We relentlessly targeted al Qaeda’s leadership. We ended the war in Iraq…we pursued a new strategy in Afghanistan.”
He could have said that he really gets a kick out of watching drone strikes kill people from the safety of his office. About that new strategy – doesn’t seem to be working so well now.
“We unequivocally banned torture, affirmed our commitment to civilian courts, worked to align our policies with the rule of law and expanded our consultations with Congress.” Hmm. We haven’t gotten anyone recently either, have we? You may have affirmed the commitment to civilian courts, but even New Yorkers don’t like the idea of Khalid Sheik Mohammed getting a nice trip to New York and putting another bull’s eye on their backs. What consultations with Congress? Are you hallucinating?
“Today Osama bin Laden is dead and so are most of his top lieutenants. There have been no large scale attacks in the United States and our homeland is more secure.” You bragged early on about yourself, Mr. Obama, but no large scale attacks in the U.S.? What was Fort Hood? What was Boston?
“Our alliances are strong and so is our standing in the world,” Obama continued. Can’t help but think of Putin keeping our Secretary of State waiting three hours for his appointment. There was nothing but humiliation in that Putin tactic. I don’t remember Sec. Rice having to wait.
“We are safer because of our efforts.” He then mentions Benghazi and Boston. Maybe it’s just me, but that seems contradictory.
He continues: “The threat has shifted and evolved from what came to our shores…we spent well over a trillion on war, helping to explode our deficits and constraining our ability to nation build here at home.” Wow, suddenly you’re a penny pincher. As commander in chief, our defense should be your first concern. Obviously you resent any money spent on the military. If anyone exploded our debt it’s you! Nation build at home? Build what nation? The new United Socialist States of America?
Obama continued and unequivocally said that Al Qaeda did not plan the attacks in Benghazi and Boston. He can be unequivocal because the media will always back him up, even if evidence it was Al Qaeda came forward.
“Homegrown extremists, this is the future of terrorism,” he said, meaning that U.S. citizens are our enemy. Doesn’t that give him the right to spy on our own citizens in his world thinking?
He went on to say that the way we got Osama Bin Laden will not be the way of the future. Too much risk. He threw in one of his favorite Paakeestan pronunciations, along with a professorial “moreover” or two. Sometimes his reputation as a great orator completely escapes me.
The purpose of this speech, aside from his love of hearing his own voice and the chance it gives him to switch from the IRS scandal, appeared to be to tell us we’re going to have to depend on other nations and their cooperation for help; we’ll have to spy on our own citizens; and Bush spent too much.
We already knew that, didn’t we?