Obama’s Uncertain Trumpet
11 Sep 2013 by Roman Dmowski
The speech was a disaster. He was asking for support for a military operation that he already appears to have abandoned, due to the savvy deus ex machina of Putin’s WMD proposal.
Rhetorically, it also lacked a strong affirmative case and instead, by going point by point through various objections, allowed his critics to determine its cadence and substance.
But there were two things I really hated about the speech.
One, his flippant dismisal of the threat of retaliation. He said, “We don’t dismiss any threats, but the Assad regime does not have the ability to seriously threaten our military. Any other — any other retaliation they might seek is in line with threats that we face every day.” Huh? What about their fancy anti-ship missiles. Our chief defense to that is the CIWS, a Gatling gun that shoots missiles as they approach, at the last moment, a mile or two away from the target. I doubt our sea sparrow missiles can intercept one of these things. Some may recall the CIWS failed spectacularly when the USS Stark was shot with an Iraqi exocet missile back in the 80s. The latest Russian-made anti-ship missiles can probably sink an aircraft carrier and have a range of 180 miles. One may not make it. But 10 or 50. It could be a disaster. These stockpiles incidentally were the target of an Israeli strike a year or so ago. And there is also their buddy Iran and its extensive terrorist apparatus.
I also found the following rhetorically weird:
And so to my friends on the right, I ask you to reconcile your commitment to America’s military might with a failure to act when a cause is so plainly just.
To my friends on the left, I ask you to reconcile your belief in freedom and dignity for all people with those images of children writhing in pain and going still on a cold hospital floor, for sometimes resolutions and statements of condemnation are simply not enough.
What a caricatured and negative view of the right, as if our concerns for military sterngth are not tied to patriotism and national security, whereas all the idealism can be found on the left. And this “reconcile” talk is a weird way to say, “you guys need to realize I am promoting your principles better than you.” Of course, no principle of military strength requires us to go to war every chance we can. And the “plain justice” of a “blue on blue” Shia-Sunni struggle where al Qaeda is on the side of the rebels we are helping is far from obvious.
Obama boxed himself into a war he has no real passion to fight. He has no passion in general, other than for himself and his favored constituencies. So he always sounds, weak, soulless, and totally unpersuasive in this area. Where Russia has a savvy, patriotic leader who fights for his nation’s interests–and in this case, the interests of the civilized world–we have an anemic, half-hearted, idiot who has no idea what he’s doing, doesn’t even understand his own countrymen, and is surrounded by other idiots, such as Kerry and Samantha Power, who also have no idea what they’re doing. The contrast in style and capabilities of the two nations’ leadership could not be any more clear.