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November 25, 2009


"Palin's suggestion that XYZ is simply false"


Oops. I believe you meant that he spoke to the troops in SOUTH Korea on November 20. It'd be pretty big news if he was speaking to troops in North Korea.

I disagree with Brendan's interpretation of Palin's comments. He evidently thinks she said Obama has given NO acknowledgement of the troops; I think she said Obama has given NOT ENOUGH acknowledgement of the troops.

Teasing out three allegations from Palin's quote:

1. There’s been a lack of acknowledgment...
2. I want him to acknowledge the sacrifices...
3. I want to see more acknowledgment...

#1 is ambiguous. The first definition of "lack" is a deficiency, but the 2nd definition is something missing.

#2 seems to imply that Obama has not acknowledged the troops, although it doesn't directly say so.

#3 clearly indicates that Obama has acknowledged the troops, but she wants to see more of it.

Palin didn't speak with actuarial precision, but I think a fair reading of the entire paragraph is that in her opinion Obama's acknowledgment of the troops was insufficient, rather than non-existent.

Is Palin correct that Obama has given insufficient acknowledgement to the troops. That's a subjective opinion, but I agree with her. Obama's delay on making a decision regarding Afghanistan harmed morale. I don't think he did enough to offset that. Compare Obama's record with Bush's efforts to motivate the troops and one can see a dramatic difference.

David: Interestingly, while I am not in the military myself, and thus lack first-hand perspective, I would argue that Palin's comments and efforts would harm troop morale significantly more than Obama's.

Perhaps we should be examining the more fundamental question: what is this obsession with Sarah Palin on the part of the media and media observers like Brendan? She's assumed the mantle once held by Lee Atwater, Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove, John Ashcroft, Dick Cheney and of course George Bush--the focus of lefty contempt, the white-hot center of liberal hatred. Quite an accomplishment for this private citizen whose only offense against liberalism is that she's spoken her mind from time to time.

To be sure, I'm not blaming Brendan. He's only reflecting what he hears as he sips his tea in the U of M Faculty Lounge, concentrating on not extending his pinky finger and thereby giving away his Eastern elitist background. If he wants to fit in, he's got to harrumph about this upstart Palin just the way the country club set used to do about FDR. Some things never change.

Brendan - Pretty sloppy post.

You can't disprove a "some" opinion with a list of "some".

The last sentence of her comments makes this clear:

"I want to see more acknowledgment and more respect given to them.”

This implies there has been some, but not enough respect and acknowledgment - her opinion.

Your definition of the level she should be satified with doesn't make her opinion "simply false".

And like Rob, I find the obsession with Palin somewhat baffling and amusing.

Tom -

I am curious why Palin's comments would harm troop morale?

If the troops agree with her, wouldn't it raise their morale to feel someone understands them. Their morale would only be hurt by the way they feel the Resident is treating them, not by her pointing it out.

And if they don't agree with her, why wouldn't they just blow her off since they feel treated well by the President?

Rob: while the fascination with Sarah Palin certainly reeks of a schoolyard "point and laugh" situation, there's no doubt that Palin has tried her damnedest to earn that by continually thrusting herself into the spotlight. And to compare her to shrewd and cunning bastards like Atwater and Cheney is superficial and specious. She's a dolt and a liar, and it's evidently more because she doesn't know (and doesn't want to know) better, rather than because she's trying to manipulate her audience (and, really, like that's much of a challenge).

Also, your continued "elitist" caricatures are sophomoric. You were more interesting when you pretended to be a libertarian, instead of showing yourself as a true FOXhole.

Today's editorial from WaPo relates indirectly to the question of whether President Obama has done enough to maintain troop morale. It says in part;

Yet once he has chosen his [Afghanistan] strategy, it's vital that the president commit himself fully to its success....in a way that will convince Afghans, allies, the Taliban and the leaders of neighboring Pakistan that the United States is determined to succeed. It also means avoiding hedges and conditions that could doom the escalation before it begins.

...Experts concur that a large majority of Afghans do not wish to see a resurgence of the Taliban but that many will be inclined to support the side that they believe is most likely to prevail. Pakistan's military commanders, too, will carefully measure U.S. resolve before deciding to break irrevocably with the Afghan Taliban leaders based in their country. If the new American strategy is cluttered with "exit ramps" or closely linked to timetables, the effect of the additional troops will be undermined.

WaPo is concerned that the President may not convince the world that he is committed to victory. Our military also should be convinced. A soldier will be less willing to risk his life if he believes the effort is futile. As John Kerry said in 1971, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

In short, speeches praising the military are fine, but they alone are not sufficient to fulfill the Commander in Chief's responsibility of motivating our military people.

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