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Obama’s Ft. Hood Speech: A “Shout Out” to General Casey?

Posted on November 13 2009 3:58 pm
David Forsmark is the owner and president of Winning Strategies, a full service political consulting firm in Michigan. David has been a regular columnist for Frontpage Magazine since 2006. For 20 years before that, he wrote book, movie and concert reviews as a stringer for the Flint Journal, a midsize daily newspaper.
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President Obama belatedly hauled his teleprompter down to Fort Hood this week, ostensibly to comfort the families of the victims of Nidal Malik Hasan.  But the person who would have drawn the most comfort from Commander-in-Chief’s bloodless and perfunctory address is General George “Diversity” Casey.

Casey drew considerable fire from military commentators, veterans and conservatives over the weekend for several variations on this statement:

CASEY: As horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that’s worse.

Casey’s refusal to name the enemy, his refusal to say the Army had “missed anything” despite Hasan’s open anti-Americanism and jihadist sympathies, (and therefore no promise to defeat said enemy); and that fact that he put forward “diversity” as a value worth the sacrifice of American lives led to David Horowitz (and others) calling for Casey to be fired.

If Casey was worried about that, his fears were quickly allayed on Tuesday, as Barack Obama delivered a speech that refused to name the enemy, did not vow to correct any mistakes that led to the massacre, steadfastly avoided the topic of victory, and celebrated diversity.

OBAMA: These are trying times for our country. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, the same extremists who killed nearly 3,000 Americans continue to endanger America, our allies, and innocent Afghans and Pakistanis. In Iraq, we are working to bring a war to a successful end, as there are still those who would deny the Iraqi people the future that Americans and Iraqis have sacrificed so much for.

Here, the President missed his golden opportunity to make up for the callow weekend in which he gave “shout out” to old friends, and recited updates like he was talking about casualties from a hurricane or plane crash.  This was the perfect chance to admit that the shooter here was essentially the same enemy we are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Note his distinction that the extremists who killed nearly 3000 Americans are operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but not in Iraq, where apparently we just got involved to help the Iraqi people have a bright future?  There, the President gave the gathered warriors the stirring challenge to “bring a war to a successful end.”

Not exactly Churchillian.

Hell, it’s not even George W. Bush.  No one left this gathering assured that the people who inspired these murders are going to “hear from all of us, soon”or ever.

And as is his pattern, Obama hailed the sacrifice of American troops (and cops) but never honored their proficiency as warriors.  He acknowledged their valor in general fuzzy terms, but never accounted for the fact that they do violence on our behalf.

OBAMA: Two police officers – Mark Todd and Kim Munley – saved countless lives by risking their own. One medic – Francisco de la Serna – treated both Officer Munley and the gunman who shot her.

Too soon, as they say. I’m sure that someday, the families might think it’s a great debating point against America’s critics that Hasan got world class medical treatment, just like those around him.  But to brag about it to the gathered family and friends of his targets takes a tin left ear, unheard of in American politics since Michael Dukakis tried to dispassionately talk about punishing this wife’s theoretical rapist.

And yes, Officer Munley “risked her life, but most of us, Mr. President are not celebrating her for being shot, but for doing some good shooting.  Most in this audience were undoubtedly thinking, “Yes, we love that lady cop,too.  But we wish she’d shot just a little straighter and at least one more time.”

That, in a nutshell, is what’s wrong with this speech.  Barack Obama addressed a crowd of the nation’s warriors and only treated them as grieving victims.  He acknowledged their valor, but in terms that would be just as appropriate if he were addressing a crowd of  “human shields.”

But to paraphrase George S. Patton, no one worth protecting ever benefited from the death of an American soldier.  The innocent are protected and liberty is advanced when American soldiers kill the people who need killing.

There was only one soldier who could leave that day, confident that the Commander-in-Chief had his back, would support him to the hilt, and appreciated the specific job he was doing.

General George Casey.

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