Knowing President Obama’s Alinskyite proclivities, his third State of the Union address – coming as it did amidst a reelection campaign – could have been predicted to be filled with lofting, sometimes inspiring but routinely bait-and-switch rhetoric. Even so, his exploitation of the U.S. military for nakedly political purposes translates into an extreme plumbing of what might be called his audacity of deceit.
If the President had been simply paying homage to the amazing men and women in uniform and extolling their courage, patriotism and selflessness, that would have been one thing. It would have been understandable, even commendable, to have cited such qualities in a call for legislators to come together as our troops do to accomplish the difficult missions at hand.
The fact that Mr. Obama wrapped such comments – literally as the opening and closing bookends for his speech – around so many distortions, misrepresentations and outright falsehoods about our national security situation, however, transforms what might have been a welcome presidential paean to the armed forces into a further betrayal of our troops.
Let’s start with his portrayal of the “end of the war in Iraq.” This antiseptic, no-fault characterization of what he has done must not be allowed to obscure the reality: President Obama simply quit that front in the larger war we are in. I call it the War for the Free World.
That doesn’t mean the battle for Iraq is over, let alone the war won. Instead, we have simply surrendered the strategic territory over which we had shed so much blood and spent so much treasure.
In Iraq, as elsewhere, that is translating into a vacuum of power. It is being filled by enemies of our country and setting the stage for this war’s next, likely still-more-horrific phase.
The same can be said of the President’s profoundly misleading description of the “isolation” of Iran, his “decisive blows” against al Qaeda and the prospects for an Afghanistan that will, in the aftermath of his cutting and running there and his negotiating our surrender terms with the Taliban, somehow “never again [be] a source of attacks against America.”
Some have described such remarks as delusional. They are worse. They are designed to delude us.
Ditto one of the President’s bigger applause lines: “Anyone who tells you that America is in decline or that our influence has waned, doesn't know what they're talking about.” No objective analysis – of our contracting military presence around the world, of our retreat from leadership on the ground and in space, of our military now in the process of being hollowed out, of the condition of our fraying alliances or the emboldening of our increasingly assertive enemies – would support his contention.
To the contrary, the facts indicate that, under his post-American policies, the “fundamental transformation of America” that he promised on the eve of his election has moved forward inexorably: our transformation from an unrivaled superpower, to a nation that no longer is a reliable ally and no longer a feared adversary.
It doesn’t have to be that way – and we dare not let it continue in this fashion. But the first step towards turning around a perilous trend is to recognize what is happening. And speeches that are not simply pollyannish, but fraudulent, will not do that. To the contrary, they are certain to have the effect of making such a turn-around unlikely until it is still harder, if not as a practical matter impossible, to effect.
Unfortunately, given the nature of the man delivering such a skewed portrayal of the State of the Union, we can only conclude that his remarks were calculated to have that effect – a prime example of his audacity of deceit.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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