April 23, 2014

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Obama’s speech misses the mark

June 30, 2011

By Kayla Purvis

United States President Barack Obama’s June 22 announcement regarding our presence in Afghanistan was a short one. I got the feeling that this speech was more of a reelection move than anything else. And, to be honest, it was an empty speech of fancy phrases and adjectives. Obama’s speechwriter tries to paint a picture of a deep, reflective president.

I don’t want a smooth-talker for a president. Come on, if you’re going to make a speech about what you’ve done in Afghanistan and Iraq, and your plans for Pakistan, do it straight up – just the facts, nothing overly eloquent. It is so obvious that he (or his speech writer) is trying too hard to sound pensive.

But, this is nothing new. I have rarely been impressed by any of Obama’s speeches because they are chocked so full of descriptive and inspirational words that you spend the whole speech trying to wade through them!

Perhaps the thing that grabbed my attention the most was the part when Obama said, “…Some would have America retreat from our responsibility as an anchor of global security….”

Hold up!
I don’t recall us being legally obligated to that. Yes, we are a world leader. And yes, we are often willing to provide aid and protection to countries that ask for it, but responsibility? I’m not so sure that’s fair.

We can’t be selective with our “responsibility.” We can’t look at some countries’ situations and proclaim, “That’s not our business or responsibility,” and turn around and preach to ourselves that we are a world leader with a responsibility to take care of the rest of the world. We are not! As far as I am concerned, our main priority should be our own nation – not what we look like to other countries.

Either way, we look bad. We either insert ourselves into situations, or we ignore them. We need to work on only participating when our help, advice, protection, troops, etc. are solicited or if it’s a matter of immediate danger to our country.

Another good Obama line: “When threatened, we must respond with force.” He then said when the force could be targeted; we do not need to deploy large troops overseas. It looks like someone is trying to justify Libya air strikes?

The president also said that our supportive actions in Libya are giving Libyans the chance to determine their own destiny. What? We’re only over there because we have oil at stake – it has nothing to do with wanting to help Libya “determine their own destiny.”

I found it ironic that Obama mentioned our need to spend within our means, while he has proposed many unnecessary policies that do not do this.

I am pleased that Obama is trying to appeal more to both parties by inching toward the center, but I am not sure what to make of it. Is he truly moving toward the center? Is he getting nervous and reacting to the pressure to appear more centered? Is he just trying to gain reelection brownie points? All of the above?

I think Obama is grasping to solidify his presidency. Our unemployment rate has not gotten much better, and he is struggling with that. It’s not an easy task to drop our unemployment rate – I get that – but he made it sound like he was going to come to America’s rescue. He has not delivered.

The approximately 13-minute announcement was kind of a publicity thing. But that’s to be expected.

Williston resident Kayla Purvis is a 2011 graduate of CVU High School.

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