Obama pulls off world-class rhetorical act in Oslo
By John Grant, 12/12/09
It has to be a first: An American President accepts the Nobel Peace Prize by arguing for war based on American exceptionalism. As if that was not weird enough, according to the New York Times, he did this while “implicitly criticizing … the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. as naive about a dangerous world.” Before a mostly European audience in Oslo, he trumpeted our sacrifice in World War Two, specifically the United States’ effort to help “underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms.” He was unclear whether that included our 58,000 dead in Vietnam. He quoted John F. Kennedy that the pragmatic pace of progress should be “a gradual evolution in human institutions” and that his preferred clock for change did not favor “the satisfying purity of indignation.”
As a doctrinal statement on war and peace, the Oslo speech left his West Point remarks in the dust. As it left many a head spinning. Even Sarah Palin reportedly said it was a great speech.
The front page of the New York Times after the speech said it all. There’s the smiling President and his lovely wife waving from behind bullet-proof-glass from a balcony of The Grand Hotel in Oslo, while to their right there’s a major story of mercenary Blackwater operatives working with CIA and military units on secret, unaccountable assassination teams whose activities were under the leadership of the man the President appointed to command his “good war” in Afghanistan. Continue reading