People Of The World, Look At Baghdad!


"Photo Op," from The Ryskind Sketchbook

Here's the speech, which I've just read without having heard or read anything about it from anyone else. Honest first reaction? How does a man who opposed the surge and proposed abandoning the Iraqi people even if it meant genocide dare to say this?
The odds were stacked against success. In the winter, a heavy fog filled the sky above, and many planes were forced to turn back without dropping off the needed supplies. The streets where we stand were filled with hungry families who had no comfort from the cold. But in the darkest hours, the people of Berlin kept the flame of hope burning. The people of Berlin refused to give up. And on one fall day, hundreds of thousands of Berliners came here, to the Tiergarten, and heard the city's mayor implore the world not to give up on freedom. "There is only one possibility," he said. "For us to stand together united until this battle is won. The people of Berlin have spoken. We have done our duty, and we will keep on doing our duty. People of the world: now do your duty. People of the world, look at Berlin!" People of the world -- look at Berlin!
Is he dense? A liar more false than Bill Clinton? It would have been a visionary speech if the next lines had been:
People of the world, now look at Baghdad! We had our differences and doubts about whether the war in Iraq should have ever begun. But the time has come to put those differences behind us. The people of Iraq have spoken. They have done their duty by throwing off al-Qaeda and the Sadrites; by beginning to build trust between Sunni & Shia, uniting as one Iraq. They have done this when many of us --myself included-- said they never could and did all in our power to prevent them from having any help. It was hopeless, we said.

But they have done the impossible, they have done their duty and will keep on doing their duty, and in so doing against great odds they are a beacon of hope in their region and to all of us. People of the world: now we must do our duty. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation in the West, unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of that for which the Iraqi people --and too many of my countrymen-- have labored and fought and died.

People of the world, look at Bagdad!"
Instead he dares to take credit for victory in a crisis long settled while failing to stand up in the crisis we face today. The permalink's not working, but see item #2 on Dean Barnett's require reading post here; he puts the matter well.
this is where the hardheadedness comes in. To prevent a potential genocide in 2007 required American resolve. It also required leaders who were willing to commit American blood and treasure to doing so. Barack Obama, then a prominent senator and candidate for president, was willing to make no such commitments. He explicitly said at that time that genocide would not be reason enough to maintain an American military presence in Iraq.
A little more:
words without action or at least the credible promise of action mean nothing. “Never again” is a nice thing to say, but attaching real meaning to the words requires a certain resolve. Saving the situation in Iraq and preventing a potential genocide required an embrace of a Hobson’s Choice.
The rest of Obama's speech is necessarily all airy-fairy. Speeches are for occasions, and he has no occasion to mark apart from the occasion of his being in Europe
not as a candidate but as a citizen.
(I think I'll write Angie Merkel and ask if I, too, as a citizen, can give a speech.) Nothing to say and no reason to say it, not that it stops him talking.
This is the moment when every nation in Europe must have the chance to choose its own tomorrow free from the shadows of yesterday. In this century, we need a strong European Union that deepens the security and prosperity of this continent, while extending a hand abroad. In this century -- in this city of all cities -- we must reject the Cold War mind-set of the past, and resolve to work with Russia when we can, to stand up for our values when we must, and to seek a partnership that extends across this entire continent.This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many. Together, we must forge trade that truly rewards the work that creates wealth, with meaningful protections for our people and our planet.

This is the moment for trade that is free and fair for all.This is the moment we must help answer the call for a new dawn in the Middle East. My country must stand with yours and with Europe in sending a direct message to Iran that it must abandon its nuclear ambitions. We must support the Lebanese who have marched and bled for democracy, and the Israelis and Palestinians who seek a secure and lasting peace. And despite past differences, this is the moment when the world should support the millions of Iraqis who seek to rebuild their lives, even as we pass responsibility to the Iraqi government and finally bring this war to a close.
See how double-talking all that is? Acknowledge that wealth is created by open markets, but commit to hampering them; praise free trade but promise tariffs; "support" the Iraqis by getting out asap, without reference to conditions on the ground. We will do everything --even diametrically opposed things--simultaneously! (Speaking of which, have you seen the ad for "Both Ways Barack")?

And he speaks to the Germans and all Europeans not as partners with America (in spite of the rhetoric), but as if they were also his constituents:
This is the moment when we must come together to save this planet. Let us resolve that we will not leave our children a world where the oceans rise and famine spreads and terrible storms devastate our lands. Let us resolve that all nations -- including my own -- will act with the same seriousness of purpose as has your nation, and reduce the carbon we send into our atmosphere. This is the moment to give our children back their future. This is the moment to stand as one. And this is the moment when we must give hope to those left behind in a globalized world.
Vote for me, Germany--I'll sign Kyoto! (I realize his true audience is the American people, but he pretends to be talking to Europe.) Dennis Miller had a good line last night:
Maybe the oceans need to rise, it's a little shallow out there.
And what makes "this" the moment? His arrival on the scene! It really is like Christ standing up for the first time in synagogue and proclaiming the acceptable year of the Lord. "Now in this time this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."
People of Berlin -- people of the world -- this is our moment. This is our time.
What more proof do we need that when he says such things as --we are a people of improbable hope--he is not referring to America (in her ideals) and Americans? He is referring to himself and his followers. Fine. Let the people of the world vote for him. He is the consummate demagogue, and with all due respect to Bob Novak, I can't believe this stuff helps him.

Update: Obama scrubs his visit to wounded troops. I could understand not wanting to make a photo op of such a thing, but couldn't he have just banned the press? And the reason given is so odd:
Sen. Barack Obama scrapped plans to visit wounded members of the armed forces in Germany as part of his overseas trip, a decision his spokesman said was made because the Democratic presidential candidate thought it would be inappropriate on a campaign-funded journey.
As opposed to, you know, everything else he did overseas?

Update 2: As you see from the first update, I labored to think well of Obama, considering the possibility he didn't want to use wounded troops for a photo-op. Alas, the trip was scrubbed when the campaign was told it wasn't allowed to make it a photo op.