Sunday, May 23, 2010

This is what success looks like


Yesterday Obama gave the commencement address at West Point.

IN CASE YOU WERE WONDERING WHAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE: He declared Mission, you know, Accomplished, in Iraq: “this is what success looks like: an Iraq that provides no haven to terrorists, a democratic Iraq that is sovereign and stable and self-reliant.” (Today’s speech-writer has a serious hard-on for alliteration: earlier, US troops demonstrated “competence and creativity and courage”.)

I KNEW THERE WAS A CATCH: “And as we end the war in Iraq, though, we are pressing forward in Afghanistan.”


AND YET, WE GOT KARZAI STEALING THE ELECTION. FUNNY, THAT. “We have supported the election of a sovereign government”.

HOPE THAT WE’LL GET THE HELL OUT OF THEIR COUNTRY SOMETIME IN THE NEXT 20 YEARS: “We’ve brought hope to the Afghan people”.

I’M LOOKING AT YOU, GIRL SCOUTS: “And through a period when too many of our institutions have acted irresponsibly, the American military has set a standard of service and sacrifice” etc. There’s that alliteration again.

FUNNY YOUTUBE VIDEOS? “We cannot leave it to those in uniform to defend this country--we have to make sure that America is building on its strengths.”


HOW AMERICA HAS SUCCEEDED: “America has not succeeded by stepping out of the currents of cooperation--we have succeeded by steering those currents in the direction of liberty and justice, so nations thrive by meeting their responsibilities and face consequences when they don’t.” Steering the (alliterative) currents of cooperation? If only he had steered that out-of-control metaphor before it broke up on the rocks of rhetoric.

SIZE MATTERS: “let’s be clear: Al Qaeda and its affiliates are small men on the wrong side of history. They lead no nation. They lead no religion. We need not give in to fear every time a terrorist tries to scare us. We should not discard our freedoms because extremists try to exploit them.”

EXCEPT OF $4 BAGELS AND THE POSSIBILITY OF ANOTHER SEX AND THE CITY MOVIE: “Terrorists want to scare us. New Yorkers just go about their lives unafraid.”


EXCEPT AT BAGRAM, WHERE THE DC DISTRICT COURT SAID WE CAN DO WHATEVER WE LIKE: “And so a fundamental part of our strategy for our security has to be America’s support for those universal rights that formed the creed of our founding. And we will promote these values above all by living them--through our fidelity to the rule of law and our Constitution, even when it’s hard; even when we’re being attacked; even when we’re in the midst of war.”

I DO NOT THINK THAT WORD ABHOR MEANS WHAT YOU THINK IT MEANS: “America does not fight for the sake of fighting. We abhor war.”



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