I have good news for everyone offended by the description of Sen. Barack Obama as "articulate." He has quickly shed any claim to that label. Indeed, Obama's remarks this week about American troops killed in Iraq were a bumbling, incoherent mess. You may now refer to him officially as the Inarticulate Barack Obama. (As for judging his current level of cleanliness and brightness, you know that's Joe Biden's milieu.)
At one of his opening presidential campaign events on the Iowa State University campus this weekend, Obama pandered energetically to the anti-war crowd. With his smooth voice rising and thousands of fans goading him on, he proclaimed: "We ended up launching a war that should have never been authorized, and should have never been waged, and to which we have now spent $400 billion and have seen over 3,000 lives of the bravest young Americans wasted."
Yes, "wasted." Squandered. Pointless. Down the drain. Meaningless. Video footage of the speech shows Sen. Obama delivering his scripted words carefully and confidently. No umms or ahhs or pauses as he argued that each and every member of the military who volunteered to serve and died in Iraq "wasted" his/her life.
This revealing slip of Obama's tongue and mind -- or "Obamanation," as conservative blogger Scott Johnson at Power Line (powerlineblog.com) calls it -- did not play well among countless service members and their families who actually support their mission and sacrifice. Who repeatedly volunteer to go back even after the war has taken a turn for the worse. Who believe their work enhances their children's and our children's safety. Who risk their lives purposefully and of their own free will. Despite every best effort of the Democrats, media and anti-war movement to infantilize or demonize them, their voices are heard.
Listen to the father of Marine Sgt. Joshua J. Frazier, who was killed by a sniper in Iraq last week on his third tour of duty: "He believed in the United States and believed what he was doing was right. He gave his life for what he thought was the right thing to do," Rick Frazier said.
Remember the words of Marine Cpl. Jeffrey B. Starr, who died in a 2005 firefight in Ramadi: "Obviously if you are reading this then I have died in Iraq . . . I don't regret going, everybody dies but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, it's not to me. I'm here helping these people, so that they can live the way we live. Not have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators. To do what they want with their lives. To me that is why I died. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark."
Several days after taking flak for his disparaging comments dishonoring such heroism, Obama blubbered about what he really meant.
''I was actually upset with myself when I said that, because I never use that term,'' he told the Des Moines Register. Well, then what dastardly saboteur slipped it into his well-rehearsed stump speech? What supernatural force produced the guttural noise that glided effortlessly from his voicebox through his lips and pronounced the term "wasted"?
"What I would say -- and meant to say -- is that their service hasn't been honored," Obama told The New York Times and other reporters in Nashua, N.H., "because our civilian strategy has not honored their courage and bravery, and we have put them in a situation in which it is hard for them to succeed." As opposed to pulling out precipitously?
Obama offered the standard "sorry-if-I-offended-anyone" disclaimer: " . . . I would absolutely apologize if any of them felt that in some ways it had diminished the enormous courage and sacrifice that they'd shown. You know, and if you look at all the other speeches that I've made, that is always the starting point in my view of this war.''
Except on the first day of the biggest campaign of his life, that wasn't the starting point. The starting point of his discussion on the troops in Iraq began with the letter "w" and ended with "-asted."
"Even as I said it," Obama claims, "I realized I had misspoken."
So what, one wonders, prevented him from immediately correcting himself there on stage, as thousands cheered the term he now says he immediately regretted?