Der Spiegel was not impressed with President Obama’s speech on Afghanistan. It had all the ramblings and the nuances, promises and feel of a campaign speech. As Der Spiegel stated, “never before has a speech by a President felt so false”. Maybe because it was. It would have appeared that the President did not need to convince the cadets at West Point, the American people, our allies, our enemies, Republicans, Democrats or Independents. The President needed to convince himself of his own rhetoric.
The fact of the matter is that Obama’s speech was political in front of a military audience. If his goal was to muster the troops like a Commander & Chief is supposed to do, he failed. Once again, instead of a Commander & Chief, Obama was the Campaigner & Chief.
Never before has a speech by President Barack Obama felt as false as his Tuesday address announcing America’s new strategy for Afghanistan. It seemed like a campaign speech combined with Bush rhetoric — and left both dreamers and realists feeling distraught.
One can hardly blame the West Point leadership. The academy commanders did their best to ensure that Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama’s speech would be well-received.
Just minutes before the president took the stage inside Eisenhower Hall, the gathered cadets were asked to respond “enthusiastically” to the speech. But it didn’t help: The soldiers’ reception was cool.
One didn’t have to be a cadet on Tuesday to feel a bit of nausea upon hearing Obama’s speech. It was the least truthful address that he has ever held. He spoke of responsibility, but almost every sentence smelled of party tactics. He demanded sacrifice, but he was unable to say what it was for exactly.
The West Point cadets acted with all the respect that they have been trained; however, with the nature of the speech and the more than lacking vigor that Obama used with this photo-op at West Point … how could cadets not use their time for better things like reading or sleeping.