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  • It's Called Morale Mr. President - You Are Supposed to Provide It

    Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower once said: “Morale is the greatest single factor in successful wars.” So why did President Obama choose last night’s address to further disintegrate what morale is left in the fight in Iraq? Choosing the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York was on first blush a wise decision. These are the young men and women who will put their lives on the line, or may have already, to defend the President’s decisions. This is not the “enemy camp” as MSNBC’s Chris Matthews described them. And these are not merely props in a photo op as President Obama poorly joked while at Osan Air Base in South Korea earlier in November.

    But when President Obama chose to give a full throated, campaign-like outburst against the Iraq war and former President Bush to the future troops who may be deployed there, a gripe that was also heard by the troops already based in Iraq, he crossed a line that no other President would have, or has previously, crossed. This was not a speech designed for an audience of brave souls willing to lay their life on the line for this great nation, but a speech designed to appease a political base in desperate need of conciliation. But let’s be clear, this was a muddled and defensive speech to begin with.

    While he spoke of the importance of preventing another September 11, he also never used the word “win” or “victory” but merely mentioned a “successful conclusion,” implying the end trumps the result. He enlightened the audience on his naïve position that the U.S. can lead the way to a nuclear free world, which is not only unrealistic, but entirely unilateral and again informs the troops serving our nuclear interests that their future is uncertain.

    He spoke out against Guantanamo Bay, another policy position entirely unrelated to the Afghanistan strategy but one that reminds our troops that any enemy combatant captured on the battlefield may require Miranda rights, a defense attorney and a first class ticket to Manhattan for their show trial. He also failed to recognize the capable and brave men and women of the U.S. Navy who are ably running the terrorist detention facility today without cause to be demonized.

    He spoke of his own sacrifice and burden signing letters, reading letters, visiting Walter Reed Hospital, travelling to Dover to be pictured watching heroes be returned home. President Obama created new straw men to fight against, mentioning the famous “there are those” who oppose his vision, several times. He blindly discussed the cost of war in relation to our economic crisis and jobs numbers, while ignoring that the interest on U.S. debt alone will soon eclipse not only the spending on both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but the energy, education and homeland security budgets included. Thankfully, he did not mention the critical importance of Cash for Clunkers.

    President Obama took credit for repairing relations between the American and Muslim world, apparently with that speech he gave once. He again largely ignored the progress and stability on this very topic from his predecessor. Of course Obama may not yet have visited the street named after Bush that runs through the capital of the majority Muslim nation of Albania where onlookers in 2007 screamed in delight for the visiting President crying “Bush-y, Bush-y” outside the Bar Kafe George W. Bush. And yet again, he apologized for our nation, to our troops, repeating his favorite refrain: “…we have at times made mistakes.”

    But beyond all of these muddled messages was the opening attack against the Iraq War. Obama said: “Then, in early 2003, the decision was made to wage a second war in Iraq. The wrenching debate over the Iraq War is well-known and need not be repeated here. It is enough to say that for the next six years, the Iraq War drew the dominant share of our troops, our resources, our diplomacy, and our national attention — and that the decision to go into Iraq caused substantial rifts between America and much of the world.”

    First, in 2003 some of the cadets he was addressing last night were between the ages of 12 and 14. So no, they may not remember the run-up to the Iraq war as well as he does or remember the overwhelming international and domestic support for the invasion and removal of the murderous tyrant Saddam Hussein. They may have only read Obama’s speech in February of this year at Camp Lajeune where he applauded the mission and its outcome.

    Tonight, he was clearly telling them that President Bush had not only gotten them into a useless war in Iraq, but that the useless war there had hurt their efforts in Afghanistan and caused a rift between the U.S. and the world. Militarily, these points are open to analysis and debate, and many observers dispute them. But this was neither the time nor the place to have this debate. Currently, over 125,000 U.S. soldiers are still stationed in Iraq. By August of 2010, when the withdrawal from Iraq is fully underway, there will be between 35,000 and 50,000 troops left, until they are gradually withdrawn by the end of 2011.

    It is unconscionable to believe that the President didn’t know that some of the men and women he was addressing may soon be part of this fighting force, and even its leadership. It is also unbelievable that he did not recognize that U.S. troops in Iraq were listening to this speech or reading it in the days to come. So why would the Commander in Chief of our Armed Forces tell the very soldiers that serve him that he does not believe in the Iraq War, even if that is truly the case? Morale is supposed to be provided by the President, not substituted for angst, indecision and sorrow.

    It is hard to judge the cadet’s reaction to the President’s address. As subdued soldiers at a military event, their applause and standing ovations seemed automatic with a senior officer in the room. But the television pans of the audience did not reveal a group of faces anxious to finish the Iraq mission and get started on Afghanistan.

    This address last night was another reflection of the Rahm Emanuel school of Chicago politics, revealing a distasteful recognition that the most critical battle this President is interested in waging is the rhetorical one against his predecessor. This was not a speech by a great orator as the President is imagined.  And it was not a speech that lifted the spirits of a military that has struggled through years of battle, and even recent domestic turmoil. Maybe as the line goes: “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

    Posted in International [slideshow_deploy]

    28 Responses to It's Called Morale Mr. President - You Are Supposed to Provide It

    1. TTG, South Carolina says:

      I was reading blogs elsewhere on the web and this one stood out as the best summary of OB's pathetically forced oration. Unfortunately I don't recall the poster's name but perhaps he/she will recognize this and take credit in this blog:

      "Obama… Look left (read teleprompter), look right (read teleprompter), look left (read more off of teleprompter) remember to breath, look right (read more off of teleprompter), check to see if there is any one that requires him to bow to them, look left (read teleprompter)…"

    2. J.C. Hughes, Texas says:

      "… the most critical battle this President is interested in waging is the rhetorical one against his predecessor." Well stated observation Rory.

    3. Louis Wlosinski, 739 says:

      Great summary Mr. Cooper.

      Thank you

    4. Don Bistrow says:

      West Point was indeed a poor choice for this speech. The Oval Office is where Obama should have spoke from but once again he chose to "use" the military and anyone he could to prop himself up and disgrace the American people and US Military.

      This is a man who has great disdain for the US Military, would not give them credit for success in Iraq, a direct insult, and refuses to back a 4-Star Green Beret on the ground who knows a great deal more about the job at hand in Afghanistan than anyone in the Ivory Towers of Washington including the Joint Chiefs of Staff who are more interested in placating their new "leader" than upsetting the apple cart with the truth.

      I know first hand the mess in Afghanistan and the full force of the US Military short of a nuclear bomb is needed to once and for all clean out the rat holes and infestation known as Afghanistan.

    5. Jean E Greer says:

      Extremely powerful, very well addressed and most informative! I thank you!

    6. Perry OK says:

      I was removing the night soil from my barn yard yesterday, it had better substence and aroma than ob's (note small case) speech,

    7. Linda Carlsbad, CA says:

      This President doesn't care about morale. He doesn't believe in the United States. He wants us to be like Europe.

      Our men & women at West Point, didn't look happy to see their President. Their President that has cut their defense budget, while spending trillions on his social programs. Why would they be happy. Ear marks, wasting money, cutting money for their equipment. They are our brightest, they know, what is up!

    8. Ryan The Devil Dog, says:

      This President is simply lacking in understanding of what His words do to those Brave Men and Women who wear a uniform. I chose to exit the Marine Corps partly because Bill CLinton and his lack of Military Understanding, however I was going to become a Navy Corpman. I wanted to Save the Lives of my fellow Marines. this pres. is full of photo ops with coffins, debasing comments to and about our Warriors, Then the attacks on All things American; Capitalism being quite an American concept, what have the American People done to themselves by electing such a man, lacking in so much?

    9. Dennis A. Social Cir says:

      He has no intention of winning this war, as he does not have the guts to do what is needed. Instead he tells the enemy how much longer they have to wait, and then all will be theirs to as they see fit. I believe he stated during his famous campaign that we were ebgaged in anothe Vietnam, well he has just made the current "conflict" like Vietnam. Way to go "Mr. No Guts".

    10. Nancy Bradley, Pryor says:

      More Obama Trauma…How embarassing for our Prez to speak the way he did @ West Point. He seemed so robotic. I do not believe he can motivate our forces for a cause he does not really believe in. And our soldiers know it and deserve better. Obama out in 2012.

    11. Lynn Thomas, Pittsbu says:

      At first I was angry to think that Obama would utilize the cadets and patriotic music to provide the photo opp to politisize himself again. After hearing Bob Shceefer's response following the speech I realized Shceefer finally "got it" and possibly millions more experienced the light. It was looking at all those kids in uniform and American parents and grandparents being able to imagine their own kids in those seats. I have 2 kids who are Officers and a number of people have spoken to me today about their response to the speech. They could empathize with the military and their families some where in all that drither and blab. People don't trust Obama or his decision any more than those kids in the auditorium did. It was a win for all of us who keep trying to spark interest in many who are non-political. Obama put the screws to himself on that speech in that venue.

    12. S.Russell says:

      If President Obama had ever been a businessman he would have learned that 1)You don't make excuses and blame others 2)You make your own decisions and you stand behind them 3)You don't send your employees out to do their jobs by lowering their morale and holding back your support 4)Making an unclear mission statement.

    13. K.R.Ayat, Honolulu, says:

      I couldn't believe what I heard from President Obama. Sir, I took an oath after I got my commission at University of Southern California to serve my country in Peace time and War time by the Commander-and-Chief to defense my country. So, Pres. Obama, show me your leadership and the changes that you said you would do. And stop talking about your predecessor. Show the American people your leadership.

    14. Cooper says:

      Do not worry. This gutless wonder would not be tolerated by my Mother. Thanks God she did not live to be embarrassed by this Communist comrade.

    15. Jill Hetherington says:

      I forced myself to watch this speech because of my pride in and for respect for the cadets at West Point. I wondered to myself how Bo could waltz in there and blabber another speech in such a setting. I think he should have been so humbled to be there. He never got a callous let alone did anything brave or altruistic. He has got to have the biggest most undeserved ego I've ever seen.

    16. Ben C, Ann Arbor says:

      Ever notice the lack of eye contact with the military when he salutes them when deplaning? His body language suggests he is embarrased to salute. Yes, another change from W.

    17. Gloriana M. Levasseu says:

      MR. OBAMA LACKS JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING THAT WOULD MAKE HIM "HUMAN". GML

    18. Susan, Detroit says:

      Obama is the BIZZARO WORLD LEADER!!!

    19. Clay 1sg army says:

      As a 1sg in the army who has deployed to OEF about 10 times on both long and short deployments, I feel the President made the right decision. I enjoy following a leader who doesn't shoot from the hip…

    20. Spencer Peters Cars says:

      The worst foes this country faces are not in Iraq or Afganistan. They are in the person of our current President and his liberal Congress

    21. Corky says:

      obama needs to be empeached. He is leading this Nation to downfall. Many Americans will die because of his lack of backbone and his beliefs in marxism.

    22. Pingback: President Obama’s Mad-Lib Speeches | Conservative Principles Now

    23. Sheila, California says:

      This arrogant man can't seem to help showing his true colors. I am married to a Vietnam Vet and the daughter of a WWII vet, and the fact that he would prefer to honor Paul McCartney over our fallen soldiers and have a "casual visit with friends" instead on Memorial Day, proves that his actions speak volumes. How dare he disappoint the hearts of the grieving parents and other family members and loved ones and friends by ignoring the spent lives of our own AMERICAN SOLDIERS? Doesn't anybody see thru his charade?

    24. Pam O'Dell, Gar says:

      I was one of a group of citizens, along with a contngent from GatherIng of Eagles (dedicated to supporting military active and retired) who lined the streets of Highland (site of West Point) with flags and signs to thank the cadets and their families for their service to our country. And yet, there was a also a small group of anti-war deminstrators who decided to do their best to ruin graduation day for the cadets. The lefts' rhetoric was decidely anti-Obama, as they feel the US should just pick up an walk out of the middle east, and essentially give up and bow to Bin Laden…which Obama hasn't quite done yet. I'm wondering if Obama was invited to speak or was self invited as "commander in chief" More like blamer-in-chief.

    25. Kevin says:

      Well stated Mr. Cooper

    26. Pingback: President Obama’s Memorial Day Vacation | Step Down Obama

    27. Pingback: Obama Snubs Military and America | Sirens' Promise ...the lure of excess

    28. Pingback: President Obama’s Memorial Day Vacation | Conservative Principles Now

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