By lex, on December 13th, 2009
For what it’s worth, I thought that the president gave a measured speech ** in Copenhagen Oslo, flipping conventional criticism of his speaking style on its head by expressing personal humility and national pride. It is hard to avoid saying “I” when reluctantly receiving a prestigious prize, but especially after a history of world-wide apology tours for the actions of the nation he leads, it was gratifying to hear him say this:
I begin with this point because in many countries there is a deep ambivalence about military action today, no matter what the cause. And at times, this is joined by a reflexive suspicion of America, the world’s sole military superpower.
But the world must remember that it was not simply international institutions — not just treaties and declarations — that brought stability to a post-World War II world. Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms. The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest — because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if others’ children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity.
This is no longer candidate Obama, running against Bush/Cheney, these are the words of a man who seems to have finally understood the burdens of his office while overseas including representing all of us, regardless of whether we agree with his health care reform plan.
Which is why this message on the cover of Time magazine is so wrong at so many different levels –
Not just wrong, but wrong-headed. It was his war when he took the oath back in January of this year. His war as a serving US senator. His war as a US citizen.
It’s our war too, yours and mine. Our sons and daughters are fighting it, as are the sons and daughters of our closest allies. Their losses are our own. The forces arrayed against them are wicked and vile and not all of these are Afghan jihadis and al Qaeda terrorists.
Yes, some of those hostile forces lived in cave warrens in the Hindu Kush, burned schools that dared to teach girls, left “night letters” on the doors of those who dared to dream of a world without tyranny, and left IEDs in the path of those who have fought to realize that dream. But others lived comfortable suburban lives far from the battlefields and abused the sacrifice and bravery of our troops sent forth under the terms of our binding Constitution to do the nation’s bidding and they did so for crass partisan gain. They abused the common bonds of our social compact, the ties of our shared nationhood that still represent the last, best hope for humanity.
Not all or even most of those who opposed our nation’s wars did so out of such venal and base motives, but some did *.
It is one thing for our degraded national media to pitch the president’s decision in partisan political terms, they are barely evolved from last century’s yellow journalists and perhaps it will help them sell a few more magazines. But there some whose political opinions I generally agree with that have watched the president commit additional forces with scarcely disguised glee, eager geese hoping to cook sauce for the gander should our efforts in Afghanistan stumble or fail. These are not my countrymen, nor are they my allies. Like those who cheered our failures on the other side they are mere parasites, dependents upon those so vastly more brave and with so much more character that they must seem as if from a different species.
It was his war all along, and ours too.
Always has been.
* 09-22-2018 Link Gone; no replacements found – Ed.
** 09-22-2018 Original link gone; replacement found – Ed.