Thursday, December 3, 2009

Matthews Marginalized West Point Cadet’s after Obama’s Speech

After President Obama spoke to United States Troops at West Point, Chris Matthews, MSNBC's host of the Chris Matthews show, said afterwards about the cadets in attendance, "It seems like in this case there isn't a lot of excitement. I watched those cadets they were young kids, men and women, who are committed to serving their country professionally it must be said as officers. I didn't see much excitement but among the older people there, I saw, if not resentment, skepticism. I didn't see a lot of warmth in that crowd out there that President chose to address tonight. And I thought that was interesting. He went to maybe the enemy camp to make his case today." Did I miss something? Tell me why, Mr. Matthews, a group of people who have been told there are murders by the Democrat party and seen their General in the Afghan arena treated like a leper during the discussions.

Those cadets that lacked the "excitement" and held "resentment or skepticism" of the plan being laid out by President Obama may be justified after the manner Obama's administration has treated the military community during the Presidential campaign and after coming into office. If I were a cadet in the crowd my ethusiasm would be diminished too as my Commander-in-Chief telegraphed the plan of battle. Matthews attempted damage control later in the night on his show by saying, "I used the wrong words and worst than that I said something that is just not right and for that I deeply apologize." The mistake was referencing our cadets at West Point the "enemy camp" for President Obama for which your apology rings hollow.

Matthews went onto say, "As those who watch me regularly probably got right away, my point was that the military up at West Point was probably a skeptical audience for President Obama given his strong position against the war in Iraq and generally more dovish image." The one thing Matthews has been successful at is prove that a) he is not a news source, b) lacks original thought, and c) lost his tingling feeling. Instead of focusing his assessment on the content of Obama's speech, Matthews focused on the reaction by the crowd. Why? Perhaps the crowd's reaction was accurate reflection of the plan being laid out.

We all agree that an open-ended war is not an answer nor will it reverse the economic trend being experienced. At the same time, what fool gets before a national audience and tells the world the battle plan? Before anyone gets to crazy, I understand that he did not expose the tactical plan. Rather he telegraphed to the Taliban and other insurgeants that after to 30,000 troops hit the ground you will have just 18 short months to hunker down until we are gone. Then after that, the country is yours. The cadets in the room were not alone in their disappointment with President Obama, the international community is not gushing over the revealing of the plan either.

"Never before has a speech by President Barack Obama felt as false as his Tuesday address announcing America's new strategy for Afghanistan. It seemed like a campaign speech combined with Bush rhetoric – and left both dreamers and realists feeling distraught," wrote Gabor Steingart in his piece "Searching in Vain for the Obama Magic" published in Der Spiegel (,1518,664753,00.html#ref=nlint). United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, "I call on all our allies to unite behind President Obama's strategy. Britain will continue to play its full part in persuading other countries to offer troops to the Afghanistan campaign" ( Sir Jock Stirrup, UK's Chief of the Defence Staff, said, "There's absolutely nothing wrong with having targets and milestones against which we can measure progress and against which to be frank we can force the pace" ( But Sir Stirrup also warned "that a British withdrawal in earnest could not begin until 2014" (

If our most powerful ally is looking for 2014 and the Nobel Peace Prize winner is saying July 2011 – who is right? Also, perhaps the reason why the cadets and senior officers at West Point held their perceived point of view is due to their military training and understanding of the situation. Maybe the media and pundits, like Chris Matthews, should remove their Obama-colored glasses and see the speech and plan from the military perspective.