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« How to write a critical review | Main | Critical thinking may lead to misogyny! »

December 04, 2009


That was indeed a strange speech. I cannot call it incoherent in the way a Bush or Palin speech could be. But coming from a well spoken man like Obama, it was choppy, tedious - more a laundry list of why and when than how. The time is now past to harp on the fact that Afghanistan (which Obama had called the "good war" during his campaign) is Bush's war. He knew that when he became president and it is time to take a leadership role now. Either we wage a full fledged battle against the Taliban and read the riot act to Pakistan or we get out before more young lives are wasted in a half hearted enterprise.

A friend and I talked about the speech the day after. Both of us were very dissatisfied with what we had heard - "a palpable sense of dismay" would be the way to describe it.

I think the laundry list feel was maybe because of the hyped expectation. Obama was trying encapsulate in a nutshell for the larger TV audience why he chose to send so many more troops, when most feel he needs to focus on the economy and healthcare, rather than waste lives and money. The '9/11, terra terra, booga booga' approach was Bush's style to justify the same, but Obama could only trot out the same old reasons, albeit in more polished language than the former. It doesn't turn the vinegar into champagne, unfortunately.
His March 27 speech is much clearer and more specific. He should have used a not-much changed recast of that speech, but may not have wanted to be as obvious, for whatever reason.

Obama came across as less than inspirational because he doesn't in his heart, believe in this war. The article you have linked to excoriates him for not using the word "victory." Obama knows that there can be no victory in a war of ideologies. Victory/ Defeat, War / Peace are all a crapshoot now. There is probably as good a chance of Islamic terrorism withering on the vine by our fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan / Pakistan, as there is by our leaving. For all you know, if the US leaves, Pakistan may have a greater incentive to crack down on the extremists, now that its own stability is at stake. At the moment though, Pakistan is playing a passive aggressive role - afraid of the Taliban, yet not wholly against their ideology in principle, so long as their anger is aimed at the US.

Joe Klein strongly agrees with you, Ruchira.

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