Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Two Obama Speeches:

I Corinthians 14:8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

First - The speech Obama should have given:

Having won the war in Iraq, we must now do the same in Afghanistan. After six years of sacrifice and service our national resolve and our military have produced victory in Iraq. The people of Iraq have been brought from slavery and abuse enforced by terror and tyranny to democracy, a fertile garden for the reason that will replace fanaticism and insure rights and freedom. The nation of Iraq changed from the greatest threat to and a sworn enemy of America to a functioning democracy that is an ally against the terrorist threat to America and the peace of the world.

Now it is the time to rescue the benighted people of Afghanistan from terror and tyranny and further secure America peace and safety. The strategies that brought victory in Iraq will be employed to win in Afghanistan.

(Here Obama should have laid out the justice and necessity of the war against radical Islam.) Here are the atrocities against humanity committed by the Taliban and carried out and planed by Al Qaeda: the oppression of women, killing of Christians and Hindus, the complete destruction of human and civil rights, the terror attacks against many nations and peoples, the plan to build a new Caliphate to challenge the west and the United States as a aggressive new super power with nuclear weapons, the “schools” were hate for freedom and democracy are taught -while knowledge and truth are distorted and hidden, the denial of the holocaust, the determination to destroy Israel, the river of heroin flowing to the west. All this and more explains the need for free peoples to stand together against these ruthless enemies of Reason.

We will know we have victory when the light of Reason cleanses the infection of mindless religious fanaticism, when the people of Afghanistan have the rights of life, liberty, and happiness guaranteed by pluralism, tolerance, and reason.

Second – The speech that Obama gave:

The core of the speech indeed was:

Having won the war in Iraq, we must do the same thing in Afghanistan. But then he muddied it all up. He was so desperate to please everyone – to cover his tail in any possible circumstance that may arise that his trumpet blast came across like a "high school" heavy metal riff.

1. Justification:

a. He explained that we went to war because on 9/11.

b. He explained that the Taliban and Al-Qaida corrupted and defiled Islam.

c. He explained how Congress supported the Liberation (my word) of Afghanistan 98 to none in the Senate and 420 to one in the House.

d. He explained how NATO and the UN supported the action in Afghanistan.

e. He then attacked President Bush (though not by name), claiming “we” got distracted by a war in Iraq. He then went on to point out that “we” won that war.

What wasn’t in the speech was the recognition of who the “we” were. It was the Bush/Cheney administration that united the country behind the liberation of Afghanistan, (in much the same way the Obama/Biden administration now hopes to unite us in support of sending troops to Afghanistan). It was the Bush/Cheney administration that consolidated the support of NATO and the UN. And it was the Bush/Cheney administration whose military commander, Tommy Franks, supported by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, crushed the supposedly invincible Taliban and brought an elected, pro-western government into power in Afghanistan, and did it four months.

Obama says "we" will not debate the "need for the liberation of Iraq"; he simply gives his opinion: a set of talking points cooked up to get Democrats elected and responsible for much of the pain that has come from the war in Iraq. Saddam was not a hypothetical threat to America. The vote count for the "War to Free Iraq" in the House and the Senate was almost as supportive and the one Obama lauds for having been cast in support of the Afghan Liberation. Obama’s Secretary of State, who sat stone-faced, (and with egg on her face), throughout the speech, was among the vast majority of Democrat Senators who voted to liberate Iraq.

He proceeded to talk about the “bad” war, and then to point out how it succeeded – (his first applause line). Claiming that the unspecified “we” were successful in Iraq, he neglected to point out that if “we” had listened to Obama and not initiated the surge, “we” would have failed in Iraq. He made the contradictory claims that the past administration had not acted on calls for needed forces in Afghanistan, while, almost in the same breath, he claims that there was no need to send troops to Afghanistan before 2010. It is noteworthy that previously reticent Don Rumsfeld has spoken up to point out that there was never a call for more troops by field commanders during his tenure. The only calls for more troops came in 2008, during the tenure of now Secretary of Defense Gates, and by a general who was not only ignored but fired by Obama.

Obama did call for 17,000 more troops to be sent to Afghanistan in April of this year, four months after he took office, but there is a question as to how many have actually been deployed, even at this late date. The number of troops in Afghanistan is down by 5,000 since September of this year.

Obama made much of the negative and divisive effects of the War in Iraq, but it was the Democrats who divided the nation and Obama particularly who used this division to claw his way into power. He now begs for the unity he destroyed - now that it will be to his advantage. I am willing to unite behind a surge in Afghanistan. I am saddened that the Democrats, led by Obama, were not willing to do the same for success in Iraq. I am grateful that President Bush did the hard thing anyway.

Next, for some inexplicable reason, Obama launched into a rant on the Economy; fallaciously claiming that we are just recovering from the worst economy since the Great Depression. Anyone who knows history, and remembers the Carter years, knows Obama is not telling the truth.

2. Call to action: The U. S. will send 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan and bring them home in 18 months. In that time, three goals will be accomplished:

a) The military will break the Taliban. Obama said that “we” will turn the hateful fanatics.


But Obama does not say what "we" will turn "them" to. President Bush had no trouble telling us how and into what the fanatics needed to be turned in his call for action. In his speech calling for the surge in Iraq, Bush clearly stated the goals of the United States: bringing the freedom to reason to a people who would thus stop indulging in mindless support of terror, murder, and hate.

Obama goes on to praise the responsible withdrawal of troops form Iraq, made possible by the success of the Surge. Once again he fails to recognize that it was the courage of President George Bush, in the face of Obama’s opposition, that made success possible. He continues to laud Bush’s success while excoriating President Bush. What President Bush did not do, and Obama can not do, is set a date certain for success. What does Obama mean by success? [I am continually annoyed that Obama seems incapable of saying the words win or victory.]

b) “We” will work with the UN and Afghanistan to improve civilian government in Afghanistan, a Civilian Surge.

I don’t know how much help the UN was or will be, but again this is exactly what President Bush did in Iraq. It can’t be done in eighteen months, and President Bush would never have made such a hollow and politically motivated pledge.


c) “We” will develop a partnership with Pakistan; sealing both sides of the boarder.

First, Pakistan has long been our ally in this war, and that alliance was strengthened, and an improved Pakistani government put into place, under President Bush. Second, Obama does not even pretend to explain how any improvement is going to be made. We are left to presume he will handle Pakistan as deftly has he has: the Iranian development of nuclear weapons, peace in the Middle East, and the deficit.

3. Obama then provides preemptive answers to his critics:

a) Those who claim that Afghanistan will be another Vietnam and we should cut and run now.


Here Obama’s arguments are a bow to revisionist history. He claims we had no legitimate cause in Vietnam. Realize that the spread of Communism was a real threat to the freedom of Americans, and the mass murder of Vietnamese and Cambodian peoples was the direct result of our cut and run from Vietnam. Realize that the Communist government of Vietnam has destroyed the human and civil rights of its people, and continues to cripple the economic and civil freedom of millions.

b) Those (read Joe Biden) who say we can’t leave but want to maintain our forces at the same inadequate level – leaving the situation open to slow deterioration.

This, by the way, is what did happen in Vietnam.

c) Those who oppose a time frame – a call for open ended nation building. He claims we cannot go beyond 1) our responsibilities, 2) our means or 3) our needs.

Obama then trashes on the one trillion dollar cost of the war thus far. Ignoring that he has been using the successful Iraqi surge as proof that a surge (a word he never usesin refrence to war) can work in Afghanistan. He says he can pull it of for $30 billion; a number he surly pulled out of the air. Obama says we cannot stay in Afghanistan “indefinitely”. I would ask him to tell us when “we” are going to withdraw our troops from Bosnia? from Korea? from Germany?

To support his determination to leave when we reach the pre-set expense account for the war, Obama launched into a diatribe on the economy. He claimed that our power is based on our prosperity, but he does not explain how failure in Afghanistan will save our prosperity. He ignores the fact that another attack on the American homeland will dwarf the expenses of fighting to victory in Afghanistan. How much will it cost to clean up the physical and economic damage of another hijacked airplane bomb, let alone a nuclear attack, on L.A. or New York? His arguments were unreasoned and two dimensional. I wonder if he would use them for dealing with another Katrina type hurricane. (Once we run out of money, let um drown!) He is also claiming he can impose such limits on health care expense. I wonder who believes him.

He then presents ominous allusions to future attacks from Somalia, Yemen, and some place he calls elsewhere.

One is forced to wonder what his expense account limit for these conflicts will be.

He concludes his speech by patting himself on the back: trumpeting the triumph of his diplomacy, glorying in the new ties he has forged with the Muslim world. He claims to have ended torture and promises, again, to close Guantanamo Bay. He also praises everybody he can think of, including school teachers and community organizers. He points to the advancing frontiers of human liberty and praises the folks in uniform. (He finally gets another applause) He ends up with a call to international organizations – the UN and the World Bank.

First, the Muslim world may like Obama, but the radicals who want to destroy American and the things it represents, only like him because he is weak. Second, President George W. Bush also outlawed torture. Third, the only advances of human liberty, since the fall of Communism under Reagan and Bush One, has been the liberation of Iraq and Afghanistan, the great accomplishments of President George W. Bush. Forth, the international organizations Obama praises have had every opportunity to deal with the evils out there in the world, with or without American assistance. They have done no more to curb the atrocities of the Taliban and other Muslim monsters than did Jimmy Carter or Bill Clinton. We can only hope that, with this call for 30,000 additional troops for Afghanistan, Obama will avoid joining that gallery of failures.

Obama gave his entire speech without ever mentioning the word win or victory.

Maybe he does’t know what victory is. I do. A call for it is the conclusion of the speech Obama should have given: When the light of Reason shines down to cleanse the infection of mindless religious fanaticism, when the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan are pluralist, humane, tolerant, and reasonable “we” will be able to “come home” safe.

There has been much made of not allowing Afghanistan to become another Vietnam. I agree, rather let Afghanistan become another Iraq and, (as some of his former supporters now lament), let Obama become another President George W. Bush.

I Corinthians 14:9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be know what is spoken? for yea shall speak into the air.

9 comments:

Dan said...

I liked Pres. Obama's speech a lot more than you did. There were things I disagreed with, and you have touched on a couple of them, but on the whole, I liked the speech.

Lysis said...

Dan,

Why?

Reach Upward said...

I did not watch the speech because I didn't want to be persuaded by the glibness of a good speaker. Reading the speech without the handicap of delivery performance allows for a reasoned approach to the matter.

The President tried to achieve two things.

1) He had to convince Democrats in Congress to support him. The Republicans would support him on this either way. So he had to throw some bones to the Democrats. Ergo, the whole revisionist history thing and the weak (nonexistent) message on 'winning'.

2) He had to make it appear to the public that he was being tough while recognizing the public's unease with protracted military engagements.

The President did OK on both of those scores. Unfortunately, I believe he made a poor case for what it is we are supposed to achieve in Afghanistan with this surge.

What are the mission's actual goals? Are we dedicated to achieving those goals? Those questions were inadequately addressed. The only way anyone has any concept of this is that they are subconsciously expecting this strategy to accomplish in Afghanistan what the surge accomplished in Iraq. If you comb the President's speech, there is little evidence that he and his administration have any such plans or that level of commitment.

On the other hand, it was simply a speech. The actual results will tell the real tale.

Twon said...

I disagree with some of the things that he had to say.

Finch said...

Thank God for clarity.

What Lysis points out, and I completely agree with, is that Obama is afraid to say what he really means. He has to bury the real intent of his speach, and his intended actions, under a pile of political BS.

The problem, fundamentally, goes back to the fact that so many of the listeners whose decisions matter - i.e. voters and politicians - are without clearly stated values and a clear understanding of the mission. Those who know something of the mission, like the president, should clearly state the objectives guiding values.

The harm of the president being so timid is that those who know very little about the mission know even less after they have listened.
They are more confused about what we have accomplished and what we hope to accomplish and know nothing, from his speak, about why we must accomplish those objectives.

Thanks Lysis. I wish I had time to read more of your posts. I'll be watching.

Lysis said...

I am off to run the "Extmep. Prep" room at a Debate Tournament for the next two days. Such are the gifts we give our friends.

Thank you all for your comments. I have enjoyed reading them and am encouraged by your clarifications and points.

Finch,

I am glad you will be watching. We all need a little supervision in this world.

I will have more to say when I have more time

Lysis said...

I see Obama is planning another epic speech on Tuesday; this time on creating jobs. I have no doubt that the media will herald it as wonderful; then forget about it in time for his next speech.

I am forced to recall the speech he gave on race, during his campaign. I was rooting for Obama at the time, and am still thankful we didn’t get another Clinton in the “top job”, but still the speech was an obvious flop. He said it was alright for Jeremiah Wright to be a racist because his grandmother was. The media swooned and said he had ended racial recrimination in America, then has gone on to “race card” at every opportunity.

I don’t like art critics, they opine what is good and bad in art and folks pretend to believe them. I am not impressed with the media’s Obama speech critics. For to long we have been told “it” was a great speech because Obama is a great speaker, even as we are told that a splattered drip cloth is great art because Pollock did it. I would rather have speeches that say something than have an endless flood of media critic hailed speeches that say nothing. Give me Norman Rockwell.

whitedoggy65 said...

I enjoyed this blog. It pointed out many things that are(in my view) very important.

Reach Upward, I share your caution of the presidents speeches, he is a great oralist(though not so much at articulating when he is left on his own),but you should watch his speeches. The choice is yours to be persuaded or not, and if you don't listen and pay attention to what he's really saying,and how he's saying it, how can you possibly make a difference?

Oh, and Lysis, I noticed you enjoy quoting scripture. Here's one of my favorites.

It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.
-Proverbs 21:19

Lysis said...

Whitedoggy65,

Thanks for your comment. You are right – one cannot judge any speech without hearing or at least reading it. Ideas must be seen before we can justly consider them.

As for your scripture: I have the great joy of living in the wilderness for three months each year – and I do not have to live with an angry woman. I have found that THE important woman’s anger is often of my own making; if I behave, she is not angry.