Obama's Nobel speech hits the mark

I liked Obama’s Nobel speech. I may be the only American who does, because it seems as if everyone else is accusing him of being a traitor to the Left and the Right.

But I thought his speech was like the man himself; succinct, business-like, practical. The quote that stood out for me was when Obama stated that while he was mindful of the example of Martin Luther King and Gandhi, “I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people.”

Obama’s speech struck me as that of a man grappling with intellectual and moral issues of war and peace, of just war and the seeming futility – yet the necessity – of violence. “I do not bring with me today a definitive solution to the problems of war,” he said, and that is an honest answer. “We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth that we will not eradicate violent conflict in our lifetimes. There will be times when nations — acting individually or in concert — will find the use of force not only necessary but morally justified,” he stated, and that is also an honest answer, and far more honest than those who delude themselves into thinking that President – whether Progressive or Neo-Con – could simply renounce force. We elect our Presidents not to make war, but nor to shy away from it, either.

That’s why we elect politicians and hope they become leaders. Obama was not elected to be the Progressive President, to usher in universal peace and universal health care. He was elected to be President of the United States. Once he took that oath, he took on the  responsibility of being commander-in-chief. I can understand why progressives feel betrayed because Obama isn’t doing everything that he promised. But I submit that George Bush betrayed his oath because he inflexibly pursued his ideology at the expense of his responsibilities. I would not trust a President who did everything he promised on the campaign trail. His perspective MUST change when he enters the Oval Office, or like Bush, he shows himself incapable of learning.

I don’t agree with Obama’s Afghanistan surge. I think it’s too small to be military ineffective and so big that it will result in more American casualties. Yet I also appreciate that there are no easy answers. As Lyndon Johnson said, and as anyone knows who has watched their town council try to draft a budget or resolve a zoning issue, the hard part isn’t doing the right thing, but knowing what the right thing is. I don’t think Obama is right, but I don’t know for sure that he is wrong, and I don’t know that withdrawing every soldier from Afghanistan tomorrow is a better solution. I do know that if things turn sour and a victorious Taliban perpetrates a bloodbath, it will be Obama who takes the blame, not the anti-war protestors or the leftist sociology professors.

Perhaps he is guilty of political expediency or political cowardice in continuing some of Bush’s Afghan policy. Yet perhaps it’s just as cowardly of us to make sweeping judgments that we should abruptly withdraw from Afghanistan. Even if it might be the expedient move, there will be unpleasant consequences for the Afghans and for American self-respect. In the end, only one man in America will take the blame for them. Even if I don’t agree with all of his decisions, I respect that he at least he is the one who has to make them.

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14 Responses to Obama's Nobel speech hits the mark

  1. ebizjoey says:

    I have said before at T/S that as a Navy vet I know that the gov. lets us know what they want us to know. President Obama found out some things that changed his mind, and he may have come to see that we are in a permanent war. I wish to be wrong, but only the Second Coming is going to end this. There is definetly a supernatural part to all of this. Sometimes I wonder if they are not searching for something supernatural over there. That aside, its a farce for him to get that award, but he is a better President than I thought he would be, these are unprecedented and dangerous times, the economy is enough to start another W.W.

  2. cliveshome says:

    Obama won the Nobel? For what! when and why….It absurd ladies and gentlemen; new troops to Afghanistan, more deaths, injuries, and lost blood due to the invasion; are you for this. my twitter profile has a word, I truly lash out at this, you may if you seek more look for it under the user writtenviews and see the real deal. But Obama receives too many accolades as if they try to quell and doubt that a black man deserves the White house.

  3. bobshanbrom says:

    Not a traitor to the Right. Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich praised it.

  4. Jerry Lanson says:

    Michael, Michael. We’ve got to get you some coaching. Liking something doesn’t make headlines. You need to write something like, “Why Obama’s speech sold us down the river.” Readers will flock to you. Seriously, I basically agree with you. I felt — and still feel — disheartened by his Afghanistan decision. I thought it was the wrong call. But I’m always struck by the fact that he does engage in his decisions. He thinks about them. He tries to explain them.

    • kidgenius says:

      Jerry, as I do agree with you on the fact that Obama DOES engage on his decisions, the people engages with are the problem. My point being, perpetuity is what should be addressed. Having the same old players or students of the same old players retards any real new solution to any given problem.

      Essentially, I see this problem across the board from Afghanistan to health care to finance reform. Do I hate the man, no. I feel his speech was hypocritical (to say the least) by justifying peace with war…that’s the oldest trick in the book and the American people are the suckers. I believe the public has every right to be outraged as I am.

      As much of a dream this may be, I still wish fervently for an administration that is truly ‘For the People’.

    • Michael Peck says:

      Thanks,Jerry. If I were smart, I would join the liberal lynch mob that’s calling for Obama’s head. It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon, but somehow not as satisfying.

      I sympathize with Obama because I think he’s going through the same process that I am. We’re both grappling with the right answer for Afghanistan – and realizing that all solutions are imperfect.

  5. andylevinson says:

    You putting this shyster in the league of Gandhi and King?

    Would Gandhi and King made exception for Obama and supported his wars?

  6. stevelaudig says:

    “Liking” an officeholder is a form of worship. “Liking” his policies is the only reason to support the officeholder. If you read Obama’s speech, rather than listen to it, it becomes tinny and maudlin, especially the “Hitler” line.

    • Michael Peck says:

      I never said I liked Obama. He strikes me as a bit of a cold, conceited fish. What I am saying is that I want a President who tackles problems rationally, because we just went through eight years of a President who didn’t. What I don’t want is what the Progessives (and their mirror image, the neo-cons) want: A President who is an ideologue, who marches into office with a preconceived ideology and says, “I’m going to withdraw from Afghanistan and damn the consequences.” That’s not statesmanship.

  7. layla says:

    Michael, good column. Well thought out and expressed. Unlike many, you don’t jump on the bandwagon of the group whose beliefs you share and blindly spout their position, whether left or right, but think for yourself. Kidgenius and andylevinson are good examples of this thoughtless type. What scares me more than any president ever could are the voters who don’t think but regurgitate something they read or heard elsewhere.

    • bobshanbrom says:

      “What scares me more than any president ever could are the voters who don’t think but regurgitate something they read or heard elsewhere.”
      Then you must place great faith in the moral integrity of Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin who reached across the aisle and embraced their Democrat brother Barack for his expansion of the war.

  8. jackhall says:

    What is peace in Afghanistan worth to America?
    If this adventure in Iraq, and Afghanistan was about controlling the oil, how idiotic can it be to spend trillions of dollars waging war to control the oil there, when Americans want to drive electric cars anyway?

  9. thorgolucky says:

    I was impressed with Obama’s acceptance lecture/speech. He was handed a huge turd from the previous administration and is dealing with it well. What a statesman. Of course, no matter Obama’s decisions, it will always be wrong to the Faux News ilk.

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