These acts seem to me an indication that Obama takes seriously his responsibilities as a military commander and that he steels himself to do his duty even when it is unpleasant (as George W. Bush did, though he did not see fit to mention it in his major speeches).
I suspect the rest of us cannot fully appreciate the psychic burden of ordering into harm's way men and women whom you see in front of you and shake hands with. Only the most cynical person, more cynical than any of our presidents, could fail to be affected by this, and this commander in chief devoted several paragraphs to explaining why he believed the war in Afghanistan was worth the sacrifices it must entail.
Then the professor also chimed in, addressing complaints he might hear on campus. This time, he said, the allies will provide more troops (though they haven't promised to do so), we'll clamp down on corruption in Afghanistan, and no, this is not another Vietnam. And we won't spend so much on guns to cut down the supply of butter to the big government programs Democrats favor at home.
But there was one word the professor would not allow the commander in chief to utter.
Presidents often refer to the words of their predecessors, and in his peroration Obama said, "We will go forward with the confidence that right makes might." Alas, this is not always so: Think of the millions who died under Nazism and communism.
Still, the rhyme does echo a ringing phrase in Franklin Roosevelt's speech to Congress the day after Pearl Harbor, which triggered the most tumultuous applause of the day. "The American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory." Too bad we didn't hear that last word from this commander in chief at West Point.
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