Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill, courtesy of Solar Navigator
Last year, I critiqued President Obama’s speech at West Point, saying his Afghanistan war strategy sounded more like a plea than a clear listing of objectives. Today, James Taranto shows how to properly characterize the President’s words.
Mr. Taranto delivers the goods in a segment from his daily WSJ Opinion Journal article, “Best of the Web Today.”
The title of the segment is “We Can Absorb a Terrorist Attack” and it references a Washington Post news story about Bob Woodward’s new book, “Obama’s Wars.” Mr. Taranto relates the news story to the Ground Zero Mosque controversy with this quote:
The more terrorist attacks we absorb, after all, the more Ground Zeros we'll have to build mosques on.That’s an insightful comment, worthy of discussion on its own. But it’s not what caught my attention. Further down in the segment is this:
More on the new book:
According to Woodward's meeting-by-meeting, memo-by-memo account of the 2009 Afghan strategy review, the president avoided talk of victory as he described his objectives.
"This needs to be a plan about how we're going to hand it off and get out of Afghanistan," Obama is quoted as telling White House aides as he laid out his reasons for adding 30,000 troops in a short-term escalation. "Everything we're doing has to be focused on how we're going to get to the point where we can reduce our footprint. It's in our national security interest. There cannot be any wiggle room."
As Winston Churchill told the House of Commons on May 13, 1940 [NOTE TO SELF: CHECK THIS QUOTE]:
You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one gerundive phrase with a subordinate clause: It is getting to the point where we can reduce our footprint, getting to the point where we can reduce our footprint at all costs, getting to the point where we can reduce our footprint in spite of all terror (which we can absorb anyway), however long and hard the road may be; for without getting to the point where we can reduce our footprint, there is no wiggle room.In case you miss the absolute genius of the parenthetical note to “check this quote,” here is the referenced text from Sir Winston Churchill’s “Blood, Toil, Tears and Sweat” speech to the House of Commons:
You ask, what is our policy? I say it is to wage war by land, sea, and air. War with all our might and with all the strength God has given us, and to wage war against a monstrous tyranny never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy.Return to Start
You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word. It is victory. Victory at all costs - Victory in spite of all terrors - Victory, however long and hard the road may be, for without victory there is no survival.
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