The Best Defense

The Fort Hood speech: Obama swings and misses

I think President Obama missed a major opportunity at Fort Hood on Tuesday. His speech was fine was far as it went -- but that wasn't very far. It felt very conventional, a bit rote and obligational, like Reagan on an off day, doing a state fair stopoff on the way to the Western White House.

What I had hoped for was a passionate, engaged address that tackled political correctness in the same was as did his race speech during the campaign, which I think was his high point during that time. It was a terrific speech that I think moved both him and the country forward. (Look inside the Army, Mr. President, and  you will find "Ashleys" everywhere.)

Didn't happen. This was a treading water speech. "We must pay tribute to their stories?" That feels to me more like the work of a desperate speechwriter than an inspired, transformational president. I dunno, maybe transcendence just requires more time and effort than he has available right now. That's sad, because there are a lot of people in this country for whom the military looms about as large as race.

I really do think Obama still could be a great president, leading us toward "a more perfect union." But not the way he has been going lately. Time is  passing ... Look at this speech. "History is filled with heroes"? That's high school stuff. I can remember when the knock on Obama's speeches was that they were too good.

Photo: TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

The Best Defense

Before you shoot your mouth off

Before you go on the TV and start spouting, it is good to know who you're talking to. For a 43-second education in this subject, watch this PoW vs JAG smackdown. As a CNAS friend said, the scorch marks are visible. I just love this video, especially the wagging finger. You have to love the American enlisted soldier, and his (or her) sense of the role that REMFs play. It reminds me also of something I once read, that in the Marines, a corporal in the infantry may be outranked by a captain in a support branch, but he possesses more moral authority. 

(HT to Mr. Attackerman)

Willie Lunchmeat/Flickr