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Obama Goes To West Point Again With The Same Old Crap
Posted by on May 22nd, 2010

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By Steve Hynd

Last time President Obama spoke to a West Point graduating class, it was to announce his decision to back General McChrystal's hard-pushed surge, despite the – now seen as all too accurate – misgivings of the likes of Karl Eikenberry. The consensus of opinion then was that Obama's speech stank on ice, in a very Bush-like way.

One year on, Obama has returned to West Point to give a speech to the ninth class to graduate from there during the Great War on Terror - and his speech hasn't improved any as he tried to defend his backing of McChrystal's escalation.

Speaking before about 1,000 cadets — many of whom will be deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan — Obama cited continuing threats to the U.S. by violent extremists while proclaiming that American intervention has “brought hope” to the Afghan people.
“The war began only because our own cities and civilians were attacked by violent extremists who plotted from that distant place, and it continues only because that plotting persists to this day,” Obama said in prepared remarks at the military academy in upstate New York.

I'm sure certain that Obama gets briefings every day, and that those briefings inform him that there's no Al Qaeda in Afghanistan any more, that Al Qaeda and the various varieties of Taliban are not joined at the hip, that Al Qaeda's closest Taliban allies, like AQ itself, is now headquartered in and mostly concerned with Pakistan. Yet in front of 1,000 young Americans who will be asked to lay down their lives, if needed, for their nation – he lied.

I'm also sure that his briefings tell him that a vast majority of the residents of Kandahar would prefer that their "hope" not be brought at gunpoint, but by reconcilliation – yet McChrystal's summer offensive operation, campaign process gesture will proceed there anyway. And that most Afghans beyond Kandahar would prefer that too. And that in any case the Kandahar gesture will now only begin after the 12 months that McChrystal said was the crucial period in Afghanistan, raising questions about the general's competence and honesty. Yet in front of 1,000 young Americans who will be asked to lay down their lives, if needed, for their nation, he mentioned none of this – he lied by ommission.

Obama recommitted himself to Bush and Cheney's "long war" and repeated Bush's tale that "they" hate us for our freedoms as he told those 1,000 young officers that the war on Terror would be the primary challenge for the forseeable future, then admitted: "al Qaeda and its affiliates are small men on the wrong side of history. They lead no nation. They lead no religion."

If Obama thought there was a disconnect between a nation having to spend 44% of the world's arms money to fight "small men" and his statement that "at no time in human history has a nation of diminished economic vitality maintained its military and political primacy,” then he didn't mention it.

Global%20spending%20graph Perhaps he thought those 1,000 young officers couldn't handle the truth.

And, in another egregious lie, Obama repeatedly said that America's dedication to freedom and justice would be what eventually won the war on terror even as his Justice Dept. successfully fought to deny detainees at Bagram, in Afghanistan, access to the universal right of habeas corpus. Even as the U.S. was forced to admit it runs secret prisons in Afghanistan where innocents have been tortured. Even as Afghan authorities issue an arrest warrant for a US special forces officer who has been running a secret militia death gang. 

And then, finally, the most heinous lie of all: "We know that America does not fight for the sake of fighting. We abhor war."

This is, if anyone should care to look at the history of the world since 1945 and the nations which have most been involved in wars, horse-puckey. As Josh Mull writes today:

The fundamental idea behind counterinsurgency is that war is the right tool for the job. It may look different and sound different, but it’s still war, still violently brutalizing a population, us and them, for isolated and selfish political ends.

Maybe if successive Presidents would stop lying to Americans for selfish political ends, the American love for reaching out to bomb someone would change. Obama's not going to be "the one" to do so, which is perhaps why the media and pundits have mostly ignored his latest West Point speech.

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