How Obama’s Speech to the American Legion Shows He Doesn’t Understand Military Culture

American Legion

President Obama spoke to the American Legion National Convention in Charlotte yesterday, and the audience of vets was not impressed. Obama is used to appearing in front of vapid, adoring crowds so he was really out of his element speaking to serious men and women who have lived in the real world and made real sacrifices for our country.

The Daily Mail reports, “Most of the veterans sat on their hands, leaving awkward silences where White House speechwriters expected ovations.” Who could blame them with disingenuous lines like these:

Even countries that criticize us – when the chips are down and they need help, they know who to call. They call us. That’s what American leadership looks like.

… except for Ukraine. And Poland. And Israel. And Iraq. Well, maybe they call, but Obama doesn’t answer. Suffice it to say, under Obama, our enemies are emboldened and our allies are frightened.

History teaches us of the dangers of overreaching and spreading ourselves too thin, and trying to go it alone without international support, or rushing into military adventures without thinking through the consequences.

Ummmm, whose history? I know he’s not talking about Iraq because there were 48 countries in the “Coalition of the Willing,” 37 of which provided troops on the ground, and 22 of which suffered at least one fatality. I’m also wondering when there was a time – before the Obama Administration, of course – that we were spreading ourselves too thin. Obama is the one abandoning the two-war strategy with draconian cuts to our military capabilities that an independent defense panel says “will lead to an America that is not only less secure but also far less prosperous” without thinking through the consequences.

In reality, history teaches us of the dangers of appeasement, indecision, and lack of resolve – lessons Obama is forcing us to relearn the hard way. “Leading from behind,” and “Don’t do stupid sh*t” are not American foreign policy strategies, they’re phrases more suitable for a frat basement.

We removed more than 140,000 troops from Iraq and welcomed those troops home. It was the right thing to do.

It was NOT the right thing to do, it was the wrong thing to do in every possible way – morally, strategically, and for our security. But Obama acts as if we’re supposed to be grateful to him for pulling the rug out from Iraq, thus snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, allowing terrorists to take over the country (as had been warned), and rendering the deaths of 4,500 of our armed forces and the sacrifice of countless others meaningless if we can’t turn this around.

Here’s a hint for Obama – and any other rote “bring our boys home” liberal – on military culture: Our soldiers don’t want to be “brought home” just for the sake of being brought home – and certainly not to fulfill a campaign promise. They want to be brought home because the mission was successfully completed and structures put in place to ensure those gains are protected and progress continues.

Obama liked the symbolism of a full and complete withdrawal from Iraq, apparently not understanding what a residual force or its importance is. Until a month or two ago, we had 0 – ZERO!!! – troops in Iraq, a country that had just a few short years earlier been liberated from a murderous tyrant bent on supporting terrorism and threatening America. To put that in perspective, we have troops in 150 countries across the world, including our World War II enemies Japan and Germany where we have 50,000 and 40,000 troops stationed, respectively. When will the 70-year occupation of Japan end?!?! Let’s welcome those troops home, it’s the right thing to do!

Now, as I’ve always made clear, the blows we’ve struck against al Qaeda’s leadership don’t mean the end to the terrorist threat.

Now, whenever Obama talks about being clear, you can bet the words that follow are going to be lies or simply things Obama never made clear. In this case it’s the latter. In just the three weeks following the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi terrorist attacks, Obama said al-Qaeda had been “decimated” – or used similar language – a whopping 32 times! So, no, he hasn’t always made clear that the blows against al-Qaeda were not the end of the terrorist threat (or should I say, “man-caused disasters?“)

And let me say it again: American combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq. I will not allow the United States to be dragged back into another ground war in Iraq.

Well, let ME say it again, we never should have left the way we did, and the fact that we did is what put us in this mess that we’re even mentioning another ground war in Iraq!

#Protip: Never tell your enemy what you’re doing or what you won’t do. Let them know that all options are on the table, from combat troops to nukes, whatever is necessary to protect American interests and national security. Just like you never set a red line you’re unwilling to enforce when someone crosses it. Oh, wait… I forgot you went to the Neville Chamberlain School of Leadership.

God bless you. God bless our veterans. God bless the United States of America. Thank you very much.

Ok, so Obama’s speech wasn’t ALL bad. He did give some good shout outs to a few of our post-9/11 vets, amongst other feel-good, rah-rah patriotic rhetoric. Here’s the video below and full transcript from the White House.


Alexa is a freelance writer and communications consultant, with experience working on the Hill, at the RNC, and for... More about Alexa

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