Robert Stein 1924-2014

Contact Information

If anyone has comments, questions or condolences, please feel free to send a private message to the family at

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Gung Ho-Hum

"For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?" asks the Bible.

Barack Obama showed tonight that no president, however eloquent, can successfully summon Americans to combat with a divided mind and heart, that no call for national sacrifice can come with an expiration date, that it is monumentally wrong to send off all those shining young faces to a mission that people back home are confused, ambivalent and heartsick about.

The speech meant to rouse unity and purpose about the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan turned out to be more of a lawyerly brief about how the nation went wrong after 9/11 and how repeating those mistakes more intelligently will produce a different result.

“It is easy to forget," said the President in his peroration, "that when this war began, we were united-- bound together by the fresh memory of a horrific attack, and by the determination to defend our homeland and the values we hold dear. I refuse to accept the notion that we cannot summon that unity again.”

Those young people at West Point will salute their Commander-in-Chief and follow his orders, wherever they lead, but older and sadder hearts will grieve for their future and for those who will follow them.

The speech tonight was given in Eisenhower Hall, named for a general who was victorious in World War II to become a president who took us out of what a younger Obama might have called "a dumb war" in Korea a decade later.

Barack Obama would do well to remember both Eisenhowers.

1 comment:

Jack said...

Obama's speech is getting lots of negative appraisals, but I can't concur. His speech was strong, lucid, and inspiring. It made the case for escalation clearly. It explained that there is a clear end goal, and that goal is to have raised up an Afghan military that can protect the country from terrorists and the Taliban. The tentative deadline for this is mid-2012, but it can be adjusted as needed.

The speech contained all the points I thought needed to be said. It also contained inspiring language about what America is and what it should be. I honestly thought it was one of his best speeches. He should get a poll bounce. As to his plan itself, I trust that Obama has read his history, listened to a multitude of views, and come to a reasonable conclusion. What we should do now is get behind him.