Free Markets, Free People

The Iraq speech (update)

Let’s just say I was “underwhelmed”.  As a friend ask in an email, “where did the great speech maker go?”  I can only contend that this speech was like a task you know you have to do, but really don’t want to do.  And the results are usually along the lines of what you saw or heard last night.

The big questions were would he acknowledge success, victory or George Bush?

While he didn’t come right out and acknowledge success with that word, his “turn the page” comment implied success.  Victory?  No way, no how does that enter into the speech.  And his acknowledgement of George Bush explains why:

As we do, I am mindful that the Iraq War has been a contentious issue at home. Here, too, it is time to turn the page. This afternoon, I spoke to former President George W. Bush. It’s well known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset. Yet no one could doubt President Bush’s support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security. As I have said, there were patriots who supported this war, and patriots who opposed it. And all of us are united in appreciation for our servicemen and women, and our hope for Iraq’s future.

How does one who so adamantly opposed a war he ended up in charge of characterize it as anything but a mistake that somehow, in general, turned out well?  After all he was a “patriot who opposed it”.  And please, let’s turn the page.

No acknowledgment of the fact that the surge worked when all – to include our “patriot who opposed it” said it wouldn’t.  And even though he and his staff are now trying to rewrite history, it’s clear he was against the surge and claimed it wouldn’t work.

“I am not persuaded that 20,000 additional troops in Iraq is going to solve the sectarian violence there. In fact, I think it will do the reverse.” – Senator Barrak Obama in response to the PSOTUS. (January 10, 2007 on MSNBC)

Of course, they had precisely the opposite effect.  Why this is so difficult to acknowledge even when there’s video of him saying it remains a mystery.

And, of course, even with the acknowledgment of Bush, Obama couldn’t resist a shot as well:

Unfortunately, over the last decade, we have not done what is necessary to shore up the foundation of our own prosperity. We have spent over a trillion dollars at war, often financed by borrowing from overseas. This, in turn, has short-changed investments in our own people, and contributed to record deficits. For too long, we have put off tough decisions on everything from our manufacturing base to our energy policy to education reform. As a result, too many middle class families find themselves working harder for less, while our nation’s long-term competitiveness is put at risk.

That “trillion dollars” for war is not what has put us in the financial shape we’re in today.  And anyone following the news knows that. That canard has been laid to rest.  However, if you read the paragraph carefully, you find the usual lefty talking points firmly embedded in the substance of the message.  Government is the answer and is the entity which should be making “tough decisions” about everything “from our manufacturing base to our energy policy to education reform”. Of course not acknowledged in the paragraph is its previous decisions about those areas has given us what we have today.  A pure mess.

Even in a speech about ending the combat mission in Iraq, Obama seems unable to avoid politicizing it.  And, as usual, the blame Bush card – not as blatant as usual – is played.

Acknowledging the role of the military and the sacrifice of the troops, as well as the herculean job they did in filling roles outside their job description, was a good and appreciated part of the speech by all, I’m sure.

The rest – eh.  The usual boilerplate, wordy finger-pointing delivered in an uninspired and flat speech.  You can always tell when someone doesn’t have their heart in something.  My guess is he’s not over his vacation-lag yet. 

Perhaps – after that arduous night’s work, it’s time for another one.

UPDATE: And finally, Joe Biden is heard from on the subject:

Vice President Biden said the day after President Obama’s Oval Office address that the debate over who deserves credit for removing troops from Iraq isn’t “worth arguing about.”

And why is that Mr. Biden? Oh, yeah:

“At the end of the last administration, the transition was in place.”

Yes it was – which is another explanation for the lackluster speech marking the end of the combat mission in Iraq.




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15 Responses to The Iraq speech (update)

  • As I have said, there were patriots who supported this war, and patriots who opposed it

    >>> No there weren’t.  There were patriots who supported this war, and Democrats who played politics with it at every turn, hoping for defeats to score political points.

    Patriots?  *SNORT*  Sorry Barry, I don’t forget those years.  Because at the beginning you ALL supported it (when the polls said you had to) , and then when you needed to win elections, it was suddenly “Bush lied” or “I was duped” or some such  twaddle.

    Patriots who opposed?  LOL  Yeah, like ANSWER and Code Pink and Mother Sheehan?  Like “General betrayus” MoveOn? Like Harry Reid who declared the surge a failure before it started? Like YOU who did the same thing?

    Nice try at rewriting history pal.  Patriots who opposed?  LOL  that’s the funniest thing I’ve read all week

    • Technically, there were patriots who opposed the war. There were even patriots who supported it, then turned against it, but did so in a mature manner. Then there were some of the Dem leadership who, finger in the wind, claimed they were lied to…and the war could not be won, etc.
      I also don’t blame Obama for not claiming victory…what if Iraq heads south? After all his party and the MFM did with the Bush Mission Accomplished sign, I think no president from here on out will ever claim victory in a war.

  • I usually don’t listen to Obama, but since I was waiting for NCIS to come on, I preserved.
    The speech didn’t strike me as worthy of a prime time pre-emption, and frankly, even though it was relatively short, it was repeatious … and a bit boring.  This would have been just as easily delivered at Ft. Bliss yesterday.
    The surprise for me was when Obama tried to pivot to the “Middle Class”.  I’m thinking, a war and peace speech and this clown is bring up class .. WTF.
    This would have been just as easily delivered at Ft. Bliss yesterday, where the “Middle Class” stuff would have been obviously out of place.
    Finally, the tone of the speech was certainly weird for Obama.  Plainly, while the Commander-in-Chief had to give this speech, Obama seems pained that he was required to acknowledge this event .. an event that showed he kept one of his promises .. one for his legacy.

  • Yet no one could doubt President Bush’s support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security.

    Would that the same could be said about his successor!

    Vice President Biden said the day after President Obama’s Oval Office address that the debate over who deserves credit for removing troops from Iraq isn’t “worth arguing about.”

    Yep, because anybody with half a living brain cell knows the answer, so arguing about whether or not Bush deserves the credit is a lot like arguing whether or not President Lincoln deserves the credit for preserving the Union.

    This is a pretty lousy circumstance we find ourselves in.  Thanks to the relentless, short-sighted, and frankly disgraceful partisanship of the left during the past several years, we find ourselves unable to relish the fact that WE WON.  Can’t have Bush getting any credit, you know, and CERTAINLY can’t discuss our victory in explicit terms lest people be reminded that it was won despite the explicit and emphatic opposition of The Dear Golfer and the rest of the democrats.

    I haven’t and won’t read the speech, but would I be wrong to guess that the Iraqis didn’t get any credit from The Dear Golfer, either?  I ask because I recall quite a lot of scorn and outright vitriol directed toward them from the democrats in years past: lots of insinuations (if not outright accusations) that they weren’t “standing up” and that we were doing the work for them.  This is their victory, too.

  • I agree with Neo. Wrong subject, wrong place and wrong tone. If it were me I would have delivered it at Ft. Lewis to the Stryker brigade that just left Iraq. And I also would have the front few rows filled with veterans of the 3d ID and the Marines who broke into Baghdad in 2003.
    That said, didn’t he look kind of orange? Or is it my TV?

    • Clearly, Obama seems conflicted between his Left-wing upbringing and being the Commander-in-Chief of the US military.  Any achievement in this area, seems to make his skin crawl.

  • It is so gratifying to see you dense righties scrambling to convince yourselves that we wise leftists didn’t have Iraq figured out all along. When we so obviously did. And now we get the credit. Nyah, nyah, nyah.

    Look, Obama is the guy who drove the end of combat operations. He’s sitting right there in the Oval Office when it happened. So he gets all the credit. What’s so strange or devious about that? It’s just reality. Well, just socially-constructed reality, anyway, after our comrades colleagues in the media report it that way and we social academics incorporate that understanding in all our courses and books.

    So you might think that your odious Bush deserves the credit, but your grandchildren will know better after we get through with them.

    Bush should have listened to us from the first, and left Saddam in power. Yes, that would have been much better. Just think, we could have been arguing for seven years about Saddam getting nukes the same way we’ve been arguing about Iran getting nukes. The subtle interplay of those two parties of brown noble savages, playing off against one another to acquire means of mass destruction which of course they would never use… what a great application of our godlike powers of political science it would been to analyze that. I could have gotten all kinds of class materials out of it. But noooo. Because of Bush, it was not to be.

    And don’t start up with how that uncertainty and unrest would have fueled terrorism against us, just don’t start! We could have concentrated on the real problem in Afghanistan, where we could have completely transformed their society by… well, nothing comes to me off the top of my head, and it’s true that I’ve never actually discussed tangible policies in Afghanistan, because I’m a wise moderate leftist pacifist who just can’t think about war and violence too much because it’s icky. Plus, I prefer my noble brown savages to be clean shaven. But I’m sure other wise leftists would have figured out a way to have them become a resort destination by now. If only Bush hadn’t gone into Iraq and caused a whole generation of young men to become basket cases from the psychological stress.

    Also don’t start up with how Obama was against the Surge, preemptively declared it a failure, and then removed all references to his remarks from his website during the campaign. You guys still don’t understand narrative construction. There’s no contradiction in Obama being adamantly against the Surge, and then being silent on it, and then taking credit for its results. No contradiction at all, because we just pull out another multiple truth, in which as Chris Matthews says, Obama is “pluperfect.” That’s a great word, and I’m going to have to start using it in my analysis {analysis, analysis, analysis}, which as I’ve explained before is completely different from opinion because I have advanced degrees.

    I’m incorporating a chapter or two on this whole think in my lastest book “Righties in the Mist: Observing extremists and military basket cases in their own blog habitats.” Oh, I’m sorry, I meant “thing” instead of “think” in that last sentence. It’s just that I hear my Russian wife say it in her charming accent as “think” all the time. She’s a nurse, you know, and understands all about how our healthcare system is broken, and I didn’t either get her through a Russian bride magazine, and she most certainly is not one of those deep cover Soviet agents, no sir, so don’t start up about her dad. Just don’t start.

    Progress on the book is slow because of the constant need to remove giant magenta caterpillars with Sarah Palin’s face from my study. I swear, I think the newest generation of them has even fuller lips and a more ample bosom than before. My wife agrees with me on that, and she has been extremely understanding about it. It was here that helped get me the little pink pills that make me more resistant to them.

  • “Yet no one could doubt President Bush’s support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security.”
    I don’t think any one (even most on the left) had doubts about Bush in those areas.  It is the current president whom many people have doubts about his support, love and commitment.

    • Mal GustoI don’t think any one (even most on the left) had doubts about Bush in [support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security.]

      I wish I could agree, but I remember lefty accusations that Bush actually hated our troops, was thoughtlessly or even gleefully sacrificing their lives, war for oil, etc.  I guess we can be grateful that The Dear Golfer had enough class to recognize that Bush wasn’t actually a war criminal.

    • Yeah, dude…  You haven’t been on the sites I’ve been on LATELY.  Booooosh is a gleeful killer, doncha know…  Oh, yeah, had he ALWAYS had the press with him when he visited the families of the fallen…!!!

  • I could NOT…no matter how much I drank…bring myself to watch THE ONE last night.  I’ve heard it was an awful speech, which is two-for-two from the Oval Office.  Interesting…
    VDH is a great thinker, with an excellent memory (or researchers)–

    The truth about Iraq is that, for all the tragedy and the loss, the U.S. military performed a miracle. After nearly seven years, a constitutional government endures in that country. It is too often forgotten that all 23 of the writs for war passed by the Congress in 2002 — from enforcing the Gulf I resolutions and stopping the destruction of the Kurds and Marsh Arabs, to preventing the Iraqi state promotion of terrorism, ending suicide bounties on the West Bank, and stopping Iraq from invading or attacking neighbors or trying to acquire WMD — were met and satisfied by the U.S. military. It is also too often forgotten that, as a result, Libya gave up its WMD program; Dr. Khan’s nuclear franchise was shut down; Syria left Lebanon; and American troops in Saudi Arabia, put there as protection against Saddam, were withdrawn. Perhaps a peep about some of that—especially the idea that in an oil-short world, Saddam Hussein might have been more or less free to do what he pleased again in Iraq. (The verdict is out on Iran; playing a genocidal Hussein regime against it was morally bankrupt. Currently, Shiites participating in consensual government could be as destabilizing to Iran in the long run as Iranian terrorists are to Iraq in the short run.)

    Furthermore, the destruction of al-Qaeda in Iraq helped to discredit the entire idea of radical Sunni Islamic terrorists, and the loss of thousands of foreign radical Islamists in Iraq had a positive effect on U.S. security — despite the fallacy that we created them out of thin air by being in Iraq.


  • Over at “The American Spectator” they have a piece that proposes that the target audience for this speech was the far Left.  The far Left is the only group of people that Obama could possibly come close to satisfy without some level of rehabilitation of George W. Bush, Obama’s endless foil.

    • The address could inspire only disgust and contempt among those who viewed it. Obama, who owed his presidency in large measure to the mass antiwar sentiment of the American people, used the speech to glorify the war that he had mistakenly been seen to oppose.

      The most chilling passage came at the end of the 19-minute speech, when Obama declared, “Our troops are the steel in our ship of state,” adding, “And though our nation may be traveling through rough waters, they give us confidence that our course is true.”

      It is for this statement, rather than all the double-talk about troop withdrawals, that Obama’s miserable speech deserves to be remembered. It was rhetoric befitting a military-ruled banana republic or a fascist state. The military—not the Constitution, not the will of the people or the country’s ostensibly democratic institutions—constitutes the “steel” in the “ship of state.” Presumably, the democratic rights of the people are so much ballast to be cast overboard as needed.

      I guess that didn’t work.

    • My thought on this is that the left would be pissed because he said something positive about Bush.

      I see this as something of a trap for Obama. If he didn’t say anything positive about Bush, it would be a very odd speech indeed. On the flip side, saying anything positive about Bush would have to rankle his base. Obama’s statement on Bush seems to me to be an attempt to thread that needle, but a poor attempt.