There was plenty to criticize in Obama speech ending the ‘global war on terror’

In an earlier posting I remarked that Obama’s speech this past week at the National Defense University was basically a unilateral capitulation in the “global war on terror.”

In the 7,000-word speech he said “a perpetual war — through drones or Special Forces or troop deployments — will prove self-defeating, and alter our country in troubling ways,” and he outlined his plan to win the hearts and minds of people who wouldn’t mind cutting out our hearts. We’ve tried the hearts-and-mind strategy and it never ceases to fail.

But I was kind compared to Newt Gingrich, who called the speech “just stunningly, breathtakingly naïve.”

The former Speaker of the House added:

“He says at one point ‘wars have to end.’ Well, [Leon] Trotsky said, ‘you may not care about war, but war cares about you.’ I mean, right after you have somebody beheaded in London, you have a bomb go off in Boston, you have the Iranians … every day trying to penetrate our system with cyber, you have an Iranian nuclear program underway and the president announces cheerfully, ‘the war’s going to end because I’m not happy being a war president.’”

Bret Stephens at The Wall Street Journal called message delivered in the speech Obama’s “Retreat Doctrine:”

“It’s alluring to think that, merely by declaring an end to ‘continual warfare,’ we can end continual warfare; that we can define our problems as we’d like them to be, rather than take them as they are and have them define us in turn.

“Thus the operating assumption of Mr. Obama’s speech, and for that matter his entire presidency: Saying it makes it so.”

Obama at National Defense University capitulating.

Stephens also pointed out the absurdity of Obama’s claim that war has cost us “well over a trillion dollars … exploding our deficits and constraining our ability to nation-build at home,” when the federal government has spent $31.3 trillion since 2002. The war has hardly exploded our deficits. It is the lavish spending from Washington on all those stimulus programs, entitlements, ObamaCare, green energy and so much more that is the problem.

Even the Obama-friendly New York Times pointed out a few incongruities, including the fact this Nobel Peace Prize recipient has a “kill list.”

According to the piece by Peter Baker, Obama is trying to repair his legacy:

“He wanted to be known for healing the rift with the Muslim world, not raining down death from above.

“Over the past year, aides said, Mr. Obama spent more time on the subject than on any other national security issue, including the civil war in Syria. The speech he would eventually deliver at the National Defense University became what one aide called ‘a window into the presidential mind’ as Mr. Obama essentially thought out loud about the trade-offs he sees in confronting national security threats.”

The Times tale ends aptly with a quote from South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, “At the end of the day, this is the most tone-deaf president I ever could imagine, making such a speech at a time when our homeland is trying to be attacked literally every day.”

“But this war, like all wars, must end,” Obama said Thursday. The best way to end a war, like a fistfight, is to win. Just dropping your hands to your side is an invitation for trouble.

It reminds me of a really, really old Aggie joke — with Obama playing the role of the assistant coach from Texas A&M dispatched to Austin  to win the hearts and minds of the Longhorn’s coaching staff and discover the secret as to why the Longhorns kept beating the Aggies in football.

The assistant coach went straight to then coach Darrell Royal (that’s how old the joke is) and asks, “Why do you beat us every year?”

Royal replies, “Because Aggies are stupid.”

The coach asks, “What do you mean?”

“Allow me to demonstrate,” Royal answers and holds his hand up to a brick wall and says, “Hit my hand.”

When the coach obliges, Royal pulls his hand away.

Back at College Station, with his right hand in a cast, the assistant is asked by his head coach what Royal said. He replies, “He said Aggies are stupid.”

“What do you mean?”

“Allow me to demonstrate.” The assistant holds his left hand in front of his face and says, “Hit my hand.”

Ramirez cartoon today

30 comments on “There was plenty to criticize in Obama speech ending the ‘global war on terror’

  1. nyp10025 says:

    Of course, Trotsky never said that. Gingrich simply pulled that quote out of his keister.

    As a former editor, I’m sure you can understand my disbelief that we can take seriously anything you guys say if you can’t even get your quotes straight.

    By the way – precisely what is this “war” that you wish to keep waging? With the Taliban? With Chechnian teenagers in Boston? With Iran? With Somali pirates? With drug-fueled Nigerians in Brixton?

  2. War/dialectic:

    “Burnham does not recognize the dialectic, but the dialectic recognizes Burnham, that is, extends its sway over him.”

  3. nyp10025 says:

    “War,” “Dialectic”

    What’s the big diff?

  4. nyp10025 says:

    I mean, as another well-known Jewish fella once said, “Blessed are the war-makers.”

  5. nyp10025 says:

    “The only thing we have to fear is peace itself.”

  6. nyp10025 says:

    “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what war can do for you—ask what you can do for war.”

  7. Speaking of winning the hearts and minds, this is from an editorial today in Investor’s Business Daily about a Navy helicopter shot down during a rescue mission in Afghanistan, killing 38:

    “Like Benghazi, where rescue teams were ordered to ‘stand down,’ suppressive fire was forbidden as the Chinook flew into disaster.

    “The rules of engagement prevented suppressive fire from being aimed at the tower firing on the Chinook.


    “Billy Vaughn, Aaron Vaughn’s father, recalled how a three-star admiral explained this breach to the grieving families: U.S. forces couldn’t fire back, the admiral said, because ‘we want to win hearts and minds.'”

    Read More At Investor’s Business Daily:

  8. nyp10025 says:

    In other words, it is a bad idea to indiscriminately fire into civilian areas.

    Because, as Leon Trotsky once said, you may not care about dead Afgan children, but their parents care very much about you.

  9. Steve says:

    A soldiers job is to break things and kill people.
    If we want to win hearts and minds we need to stop sending soldiers. Lets send diplomats like Ambassador Stevens, cause, like, you know, that worked so well and all.

  10. Nyp says:

    Steve – what is our military objective in Afganistan? To take the enemy’s capital city?

  11. Steve says:

    Military objectives are accomplished by killing people and breaking things. Winning hearts and minds is not the job of the military. That is the job of politicians and diplomats.

    The official statement:
    The stated goal was to ensure that al Qaeda terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime were put out of operation and the terrorist scourge was eradicated from Afghanistan.

    Unfortunately this, like many other non wars, has morphed into a completely different thing.
    Whatever it was made our politicians think the USA would win where the Soviets failed is beyond me.

    Read merlin for yourself. Warning, its rather convoluted. My own brother was activated and sent to both Iraq and Afghanistan. He is 48 years old. A bit up there if you ask me, they are getting desperate for his skill set. Thankfully he is back now, safe and sound.

  12. Perhaps, we should also care about the parents of dead Navy SEALs.


  13. nyp10025 says:

    Perhaps we should also care about the 16 civilians, most of them women and children, who were slaughtered by Staff Sargent Robert Bailes, who will plead guilty to murder on June 5.

  14. Steve says:

    16 civilians vs 3000 civilians. We are currently on the wrong end of the deal.

  15. nyp10025 says:

    Not really. Over 14,000 afghan civilians have died in the past six years alone.

  16. Steve says:

    Everyone of them the fault of the USA, of course. It has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with extremism in that part of the world, nothing to do with previous wars (Soviets), nothing to do with being an impoverished population. Nah, its ALL the fault of the good ol’ USA.

    The military is meant to break things and kill people, that is its primary function. It is not a police force.

    These guys have part of the equation. They just don’t follow it to the conclusion.

  17. Athos says:

    It’s stunning to see the God King defended (with sophistry) by such a “useful idiot”, as petey.

    Maybe the self preservation gene was removed from these progressives at birth.

    It’s a shame we can’t hear from Daniel Pearl, eh?

  18. Rincon says:

    I like the Chinese approach. Just leave ’em alone. Seems to work for them. Why do we insist on being the world’s policeman?

    As for a trillion dollars, a Brown University study disagrees. They say the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan was closer to $6 trillion. This is in addition to an already massive defense budget every year.

  19. Athos says:

    Nobody wants to mess with 2 billion Chinese, Rinny. They may be throwback, anal, 7th Century blood lust, religious zealots, but they aren’t crazy!

    And is it just me, or is the number “trillion” so large that it doesn’t seem real? (Let alone 6, or 16 trillion!)

  20. nyp10025 says:

    The “Cold War,” Mr. Mitchell, was a metaphor, not an actual war. The United States was not at war with the Soviet Union, and the President did not have wartime powers continuously from 1947 through 1990. The AUMF, in contrast, is an effective declaration of war and a delegation to the executive of the power to use military force and invade countries. You would like that ability to exercise power without constitutional accountability to extend into the infinite future — since you have no practical or realistic definition of when then “war” would end.

    Pretty remarkable, coming from a self-professed defender of the Constitution.

  21. Athos says:

    petey’s last post perfectly illustrates my point that the self preservation instinct has been genetically bred out of progressive liberals.

    A little Darwin, anyone??

  22. My point was not about what constitutional powers Obama might assume or surrender but about his lack of will power or staying power.


  23. nyp10025 says:

    No, point is whether continued operations against terrorists who pose threats to the United States should continue to be carried out under a wide-ranging war resolution passed by Congress more than a decade ago for the purpose of authorizing the military actions that overthrew the Taliban government in Afganistan. Do you favor maintaining that executive war-fighting authority in perpetuity? Or not?

    All the rest about President Obama’s “staying power” is just blather, particularly in light of the fact that he has taken far more agressive action against terrorism than his predecessor ad that he continues to take much more agressive action — as Waliur Rehman found out to his detriment earlier this month.

  24. How comforting to the widows and orphans of those killed in Benghazi.


  25. Nyp says:

    Wow – that’s all you got?

  26. Athos says:

    petey, you never pass the opportunity to confirm you’re just a child.

    “particularly in light of the fact that he has taken far more agressive action against terrorism than his predecessor”

    More delusional ravings from the mind of a naive liberal progressive!


  27. Rincon says:

    Athos, are you saying that the Taliban, etc, are more afraid of the Chinese than they are of us?

  28. […] fact the president recently told us we are not at war with Muslim jihadist, we are at […]

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