May 28, 2014

Obama at West Point: a "philosophical speech,” not a “commander-in-chief speaking to his troops.”

"And you heard the reception. I mean, it was pretty icy."

ADDED: That quote, from a CNN commentator is getting a lot of play, especially the word "icy." The transcript won't tell us about the reception, but does let us check the "philosophical" characterization. This is a graduation speech, and one of the first things he says, citing his status as commander-in-chief, is:
To the entire class, let me reassure you in these final hours at West Point, as commander in chief, I hereby absolve all cadets who are on restriction for minor conduct offenses. (Laughter, applause.) Let me just say that nobody ever did that for me when I was in school....
Why is he seeking camaraderie with offenders? I wouldn't characterize that as "philosophical." It's more lamely trying to be cool. But it does get philosophical. Skipping way down, let me pull out this:
We cannot exempt ourselves from the rules that apply to everyone else. We can’t call on others to make commitments to combat climate change if a whole lot of our political leaders deny that it is taking place....
I believe in American exceptionalism with every fiber of my being. But what makes us exceptional is not our ability to flout international norms and the rule of law; it is our willingness to affirm them through our actions. (Applause.)

And that’s why I will continue to push to close Gitmo, because American values and legal traditions do not permit the indefinite detention of people beyond our borders. (Applause.) That’s why we’re putting in place new restrictions on how America collects and uses intelligence, because we will have fewer partners and be less effective if a perception takes hold that we’re conducting surveillance against ordinary citizens. (Applause.) America does not simply stand for stability or the absence of conflict, no matter what the cost; we stand for the more lasting peace that can only come through opportunity and freedom for people everywhere -- which brings me to the fourth and final element of American leadership: our willingness to act on behalf of human dignity.

America’s support for democracy and human rights goes beyond idealism; it is a matter of national security. Democracies are our closest friends and are far less likely to go to war. Economies based on free and open markets perform better and become markets for our goods. Respect for human rights is an antidote to instability and the grievances that fuel violence and terror....

93 comments:

gk1 said...

Nobody like a posturing weakling, least of all trained warriors. I am surprised the applause wasn't drowned out by a cricket riding a tumbleweed.

David said...

“That’s why I will continue to push to close Gitmo – because American values and legal traditions don’t permit the indefinite detention of people beyond our borders,” he continued.

Why in the world would he use that line in a speech to the troops he commands?

Their Commander in Chief, who is now in his 6th year in office, has not been able to get that job done. Nor does he seem to have a path to getting it done. How could you follow this person's leadership with confidence? Why would you find his ideas a worthy strategic framework, when he is so ineffective?

Anonymous said...

If that "philosophy" was from the President, he's a complete dummy.

I've never heard of normal exceptionalism before, but the President gives it his best shot.

MayBee said...

It seems like a foreign policy speech than the C-in-C commencement address. Obama has never seemed very comfortable speaking at West Point, so he has trouble conveying pride and joy.

"Gitmo" seems oddly casual from the President. And the new officers might be headed there,so Obama should be careful about denigrating it.
Maybe a better speech for the UN General Assembly.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

America’s support for democracy and human rights goes beyond idealism; it is a matter of national security. Democracies are our closest friends and are far less likely to go to war. Economies based on free and open markets perform better and become markets for our goods. Respect for human rights is an antidote to instability and the grievances that fuel violence and terror....

This strikes me as incredibly juvenile language. Is it common for commencement speakers to sound so banal? I mean, that's how a fifth grade social studies teacher explains civics to her class.

Barry Dauphin said...

So the president "absolves" the cadets of infractions in a joke and then says that we cannot exempt ourselves from rules that apply to others?

On another note, if someone says that he is not weak, there's a good chance that he is.

Wince said...

Isn't that what they call a "smattering" of applause?

Or, perhaps more apropos, a "golf clap"?

NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

I don't get it. What are the cadets supposed to do, jump up and down? Of course they are quiet. It's the President speaking. Formations are all about being still and quiet.

Freeman Hunt said...

Bush has been taking breaks from painting to write the end of the pull quote.

Anonymous said...

Conservatives spot Obama's favorite rhetorical tic.

Meanwhile, Cadet Iñigo Montoya questions his understanding of the word "exceptional".

Henry said...

That’s why we’re putting in place new restrictions on how America collects and uses intelligence...

Icy isn't strong enough. Everything David wrote about the president's promise to close Gitmo applies to his promise to control intelligence gathering. To declare such a principle, in the klieg light glare of a history of presiding over its exact opposite is depraved.

Paul said...

How do you spell loser?

O B A M A.

And that is what the world sees now.

Between his lack of fellowship with the warrior class, his running from the problems in Iraq and Afghanistan (were we had so many of our people give their lives to stabilize those countries) and his six years of ignoring the Veterans Administration problems, the military HATES HIM and have zero respect for him.

And with good reason.

Real American said...

the cadets would applaud if they had a commander in chief they could respect as such. Instead, we get, as Krauthammer said, a "pointless speech." A pointless speech, from a pointless person.

Roughcoat said...

Nobody like a posturing weakling, least of all trained warriors.

True, but the young men in his audience are not warriors, not yet: they are college graduates. At least half their number and probably more will do the minimal time in service to fulfill their commitment and then leverage their academy credentials to get into Harvard Business, Wharton, Stanford Business, and other top-flight business schools. Don't believe me? Read Rick Atkinson's Long Gray Line.

Barry Dauphin said...

The president's "bottom line" was that America must always lead because if we don't, no one else will. No one else will? Lead where? Isn't a major part of the problem more like who else would try to "lead" and where they would try to "lead"?

holdfast said...

"And that’s why I will continue to push to close Gitmo, because American values and legal traditions do not permit the indefinite detention of people beyond our borders"

Is he saving that for his third term? What a joke.

traditionalguy said...

War depends upon courageous officers that are guided to enemy targets by intelligence that is valid. Fire power on the enemy wins.

Obama just asked them to act on known invalid intelligence which can only lead these courageous men into traps and destruction.

But the good news is a time of peace will last as long as the world powers see Obama still in surrender mode.

They will wait to see how much they can get handed to them at no cost.

But the trouble is that his effective Obama surrender window will end in one year or two at the most.

So the world powers will push us harder than ever this year to get more surrender from the USA while Obama hurries to give us up to them.

China, Russia, and Iran will soon be in a position of strength that these Officers have will face from a position of weakness.

No wonder the realists in the military gave him a cold response. He intentionally means their deaths.

Emil Blatz said...

On seeing the live coverage on several networks this morning I made note of the cheesy backdrop they put up for him. I mean, back in the day of low-res television, it might not have been apparent, but this was just sheets of paper taped together. You know when he Commander-in-Chief is coming, you have time to make it look good, but you do this half-assed job? That's a gigantic f**-you from the United States Military Academy.

The Drill SGT said...

The troops know what "cut and run" looks like and the results are never pretty...


WaPO Today:
Iraq/Afghanistan veterans give Obama lower marks than Bush as commander in chief

regardless of how they feel about the actual wars, the Vets think Bush was a far better leader and truly cared. You just need to see Bush around soldiers to instantly recognize that instinctive bond...

PB said...

Nobody ever did that for him? I guess it's technically true as he's probably never faced real discipline before in his life. He should listen to that commencement speaker at Texas and start making his bed. Something I'm sure he doesn't do.

The Drill SGT said...

This is what a warm welcome for a CinC looks like:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnGPUh6w4So&feature=youtu.be

Humperdink said...

It must be extremely painful for the West Point graduates to listen to this dolt. Forget the tepid applause, how about counting eyerolls in the audience.

The Drill SGT said...

He should listen to that commencement speaker at Texas and start making his bed. Something I'm sure he doesn't do.

Admiral McRaven. He's a Squid, or rather a SEAL. The Army doesn't think the SEALS are very smart, but the one thing that BUDS teaches is NEVER, NEVER, EVER QUIT.

Playing in the sand and the cold Pacific surf teaches that lesson to the survivors...

chillblaine said...

"we will have fewer partners and be less effective if a perception takes hold that we’re conducting surveillance against ordinary citizens"

Angela Merkel unavailable for comment

"make commitments to combat climate change"

The tip of the spear is being made ready for engagement against carbon

gk1 said...

What so sad is this is all polling at work. He would be on the golf links if the VA debacle wasn't killing his approval rating. Obama doesn't give two shits about the troops other than the nice props they make on a photoshoot. And the troops clearly don't buy it either.

john marzan said...

belmont club nails it

http://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2014/05/28/brother-rat/

Skeptical Voter said...

Silly speech--that merits the cheesy background. Obama will get at least surface respect when he speaks at a military academy. But they are not dummies, and they can detect the difference between genuine respect accorded them by such as Bush and the haughty disdain of the Bamster.

David R. Graham said...

"It's more lamely trying to be cool."

No, it's tradition. Check it out. You jumped in ignorantly on this one. And I despise the SOB.

David R. Graham said...

"It's more lamely trying to be cool."

No, it's tradition. Check it out. You jumped in ignorantly on this one. And I despise the SOB.

David R. Graham said...

"Formations are all about being still and quiet."

You don't know West Point graduation ceremonies.

Anonymous said...

Barack Obama and Joe Biden are Don Quixote and Sancho Panza?

David R. Graham said...

But for The Drill SGT and one or two others, author and commenters on this post parade extraordinary ignorance of military and especially West Point. Good grief! The national treasure hardly anyone sees much less appreciates. And how many commenters write as if women are not West Point! And one thinks West Point is a college! This ignorance is inexcusable. No wonder the liar in chief breaks every element of the West Point Honor Code with impunity. Who's to know? West Pointers and their families know. Is the rest of the citizenry flat-lined on Prozac? Is that what "low-info" voters are? Medically flat-lined? It would seem so from this post and most comments.

NCMoss said...

You don't create and keep allies using checkbook diplomacy. The graduates know that at least.

Biff said...

I thought the "philosophical speech" comment was strange. What makes Jim Clancy suspect that a "philosophical speech" would not be well received by graduates of one of America's most selective universities? In my experience, the officer class is quite attuned to philosophical issues and how such issues translate to the real world: their lives depend on it. Perhaps the real problem is that the graduates considered the President's philosophy, and they found it to be sophomoric.

I thought Clancy's remark demonstrated an condescending ignorance towards the officer class that is all too common among our journalists, etc., and it does a true disservice to the country.

On a distantly related topic, I see that FiveThirtyEight did an analysis of the disappearance of conservative voices from commencement ceremonies - http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/the-disappearance-of-conservative-commencement-speakers/

Bill said...

Obama: "... as commander in chief, I hereby absolve all cadets who are on restriction for minor conduct offenses. (Laughter, applause.) Let me just say that nobody ever did that for me when I was in school...."
Althouse: Why is he seeking camaraderie with offenders? I wouldn't characterize that as "philosophical." It's more lamely trying to be cool.
If memory serves, that's just tradition, like 'pardoning' a Thanksgiving turkey.

Kirk Parker said...

Good Ghu what a phoney.

Every now and then, but now with increasing frequency, the automaton shows through.

Doug said...

Where in the HELL did this poser earn the reputation of a Great Orator? What a hack. We can't get rid of him fast enough. My sympathies to the West Point graduates who deserve so much better.

stlcdr said...

They aren't soldiers, yet, but college graduates...

...and voters. Once again, it sounds like a stump speech.

Rusty said...

I suppose when you'e as mediocre as our president, anything out of the ordinary is exceptional.
I mean listen to him. You can feel the exceptionalism being sucked right out of the room.

Rusty said...

The Soylent president.

The Drill SGT said...

john marzan said...
belmont club nails it

http://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2014/05/28/brother-rat/


Excellent stuff if I wasn't in tears...

George M. Spencer said...

Here's Humperdink's link above showing a truly wild reception for a President by the military. Not necessarily a fair comparison as it's not a graduation ceremony, but still.....

ilvuszq said...

Three good things about Obama ...
... 1: he has a good speaking voice
... 2: he can read a teleprompter
... 3: --- oh, here is my ride; gotta go.

donald said...

"Gitmo"?

What a putz.

Robert Cook said...

"Between his lack of fellowship with the warrior class...."

??!!!

"Warrior class?"

Our so-called "warrior class" is merely a cadre of security guards for the owners of America. Young people are duped by their natural idealism and patriotism into joining up, thinking they're going to "defend our freedom and our way of life," as hack pundits never tire of telling us. They're then used up in war, killed or maimed, and largely cast aside once they return from war. (This is true in other countries also, as illustrated forcefully in George Grosz' drawings of German WWI vets, missing limbs, begging on the streets of Berlin).

As Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler wrote in 1935:

"I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902–1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents."

Our military ventures since that time have been more of the same.

Tank said...

I actually heard some of this on the radio and it sounded like he wanted to be somewhere else.

He sounded bored.

Like he was having trouble concentrating on the speech.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Rusty,
"I suppose when you'e as mediocre as our president"

I wish he was mediocre!

exhelodrvr1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
President-Mom-Jeans said...

What a fucking embarrassment this clueless piece of shit is.

You think that reception was "icy?"

Imagine if they wouldn't be court martialed for expressing their true feelings for B. Hussein.

mezzrow said...

One more recommendation here for the Belmont Club post referenced above.

It is a brilliant job of boiling down what was said into what it meant to the actual audience. Not that they were the real reason for the speech - they were just another prop, like some styrofoam columns in the background or something.

Elmer Stoup said...

It's a tradition at West Point that a visiting head of state grant "amnesty" to cadets on confinement and punishment tours. Thus, it's amusing that the President uses the word "absolves." Guess his advisors have told him to never let the word "amnesty" escape his lips.

RecChief said...

you should read the speech. Apparenlty the commander-in-chief's greatest enemy is A. Strawman. He expends a lot of energy attacking him.

Hagar said...

Lost in the horse latitudes.

richard mcenroe said...

He's the damned commander 8n chief, God save us. If he wants Gitmo closed he orders Gitmo closed and it closes. He doesn't "push" for it.

Krumhorn said...

Our military ventures since that time have been more of the same.

That is absurd leftie clap-trap. It's such a tired old trope, one wonders that it wouldn't be more satisfying to just fart a juicy one, and then blame the dog.

- Krumhorn

Will J. Richardson said...

I was there. When Obama was introduced there was at best tepid applause. Most of the intended applause lines fell flat as well. The only enthusiastic applause was for complements to the Army and the Country. I give kudos to Obama for shaking the hand of each newly commissioned officer, but then he kept West Point on lockdown for an hour after graduation by conducting an interview with ABC at the home of the Superintendent. Parents could not get to the places appointed for them to meet their new officers and fasten the "butter bars" on their shoulders.

Will J. Richardson said...

I was there. When Obama was introduced there was at best tepid applause. Most of the intended applause lines fell flat as well. The only enthusiastic applause was for complements to the Army and the Country. I give kudos to Obama for shaking the hand of each newly commissioned officer, but then he kept West Point on lockdown for an hour after graduation by conducting an interview with ABC at the home of the Superintendent. Parents could not get to the places appointed for them to meet their new officers and fasten the "butter bars" on their shoulders.

Will J. Richardson said...

I was there. The applause when Obama was introduced was lukewarm. I estimate fewer than four hundred people in the stadium stood to welcome him. His applause lines fell flat. The only enthusiastic applause was generated by comments praising the Army and the Country. Obama did shake the hand of every graduate, but then he kept the Post on lockdown for an hour while he gave an interview to ABC at the residence of the Superintendent of West Point. The lockdown prevented families from getting to the "barring" ceremonies (Parents attach the "butter bars" on the shoulders of the new Lieutenants)at various locations on Post after graduation. Many ceremonies and families were delayed due to the interview.

Gospace said...

"John Lynch said...

I don't get it. What are the cadets supposed to do, jump up and down? Of course they are quiet. It's the President speaking. Formations are all about being still and quiet."

The second President Bush was the speaker for my son's graduation. The reception was warm and friendly, and there were lot's of cheers and applause.

When Mrs. Clinton usurped the selected speaker at the forgotten military academy, USMMA, graduating cadets were ordered not to turn their seats backwards under threat of non-graduation. They all sat on their hands during her speech, and she departed immediately upon completion. Good luck finding any of that in the mainstream media. If you search hard enough, you can find out about it.

Drago said...

I would be hard pressed to think of someone less qualified to speak to the motivation of those joining thel military than our resident marxist robert cook.

And news flash for cookie the stalinist: quotes from 1935 general officers are not necessarily operative today.

You simply stick with your insane and easily falsifiable conspiracy theories.

But hey, the 1930's were certainly glory days for our soviet fellow travelers so its not surprising cookie reaches back to that era.

Lost My Cookies said...

Not to mention made cadets late for their busses. ABC News is making no friends up there this year.

Kansas City said...

Appreciate the comment from Mr. Richardson. If that means you and/or your family serve in the army, thank you.

I found the speech odd and inappropriate (although I have only seen "highlights"). So much that the President says is about him - "my bottom line."

I also found it odd when he said he was "haunted" by the deaths of four members from the class last year in combat. He should pay tribute to them and the responsibility of a commander sending soldiers into battle (even from the comfort of Washington) is huge, but "haunted" seems like the wrong word from a commander in chief. And the use of strawmen (which the president always does) was especially distressing here. He mischaracterizes his opponents to try to make himself look good. Politicians do that, but at a commencement address at West Point?

And calling recent wars "military adventures?" He disrespects those who came before him (presidents, miliary and the country) to try to elevate himself.

The Obama presidency is on the rocks (I think deservedly so) and this speech just seems to add to his problems.

Anonymous said...

I said it when Bush was President and I'll say it again now: It is treason to badmouth the President when our country is in a state of war.

If you don't love America, then there is nothing stopping you from leaving.

Meade said...

Freeman Hunt said...
"Bush has been taking breaks from painting to write the end of the pull quote."

Good catch.

"America’s support for democracy and human rights goes beyond idealism; it is a matter of national security. Democracies are our closest friends and are far less likely to go to war. Economies based on free and open markets perform better and become markets for our goods. Respect for human rights is an antidote to instability and the grievances that fuel violence and terror...."

Pure Bush Doctrine.

JPS said...

Robert Cook:

"Our so-called 'warrior class' is merely a cadre of security guards for the owners of America."

No, we're not. I realize I'm supposed to throw up my hands and admit you're right on reading the words of one profoundly disillusioned general officer 79 years ago but, sorry, I don't.

For all our flaws, we've done a thing or two since 1935 that might suggest there's more to the picture. I thought the left is supposed to be all about nuance and subtlety?

RecChief said...

@Robert Cook,
I must admit that my jaw dropped as I read your drivel.

The quote from the Marine in 1935 was a nice touch. Although the man's colorful(to say the least) biography isn't the picture you intended, I gather.

Humperdink said...

Madisonfella said:"I said it when Bush was President and I'll say it again now: It is treason to badmouth the President when our country is in a state of war.

If you don't love America, then there is nothing stopping you from leaving."

If the libs followed your guidelines during the Bush presidency, there would be none left in the country.

Drago said...

JPS: " I thought the left is supposed to be all about nuance and subtlety?"

No, that's just what they say about themselves.

Fen's Law.

Drago said...

madisonfella: "It is treason to badmouth the President when our country is in a state of war."

Not. Believable.

Of course, with the left, it's now traitorous to oppose Michelle Obama's lectures/policies on school lunch items.

Fen's Law, over and over and over....

Forbes said...

>"Let me just say that nobody ever did that for me when I was in school.... "

Like clockwork, in every speech, it's always about Obama.

Robert Cook said...

"I realize I'm supposed to throw up my hands and admit you're right on reading the words of one profoundly disillusioned general officer 79 years ago but, sorry, I don't.

"For all our flaws, we've done a thing or two since 1935 that might suggest there's more to the picture. I thought the left is supposed to be all about nuance and subtlety?"


No, you're not supposed to do anything; your response is your own.

You scoff at or dismiss Butler as "profoundly disillustioned," yet what does this mean but that his illusions as to America's aims and actions in the world had been erased by reality?

As to "nuance," when a steamroller is flattening everything before it, one does not find solace in a few spots that are not flattened evenly or that the steamroller's course has not (yet) reached everywhere.

If anything, I'd say the validity of Butler's appraisal of the military's role serving American private and state mercantile interests has become even more apparent since 1935. President Eisenhower's speech warning against the "military/industrial complex" is a less blunt complement to Butler's observations, a similar admission of "disillusionment" (by reality) from another old soldier.

And why should this even be controversial--but for our own astounding national illusions about ourselves, of America as the "exceptional nation", as the acme of selfless state virtue unparalleled in history? What are wars ever really about other than acquisition of and/or control of property and resources...over wealth?

A nation that wiped out nearly all of the indigenous population of this continent in its western expansion and that permitted human slavery for half of its (official) existence can hardly--without profound self-willed derangement--believe its own myths of original (and continuing) virtue.

David R. Graham said...

"They aren't soldiers, yet, but college graduates..."

Yes they are Soldiers and no they are not college graduates. They are Soldiers from even before they graduate and before they are commissioned. They are under UCMJ from day one at the Academy and owe service, either as officer or as enlisted, from day one of the third year. They are Soldiers from taking the Oath on R-Day, their first day at the Academy. Under UCMJ from that point.

And it is not a college. It is a military academy. Learn the difference. They are not college graduates. They are Soldiers. Nowhere near the same. And they have a guaranteed job when they graduate.

wildswan said...

Well, he definitely is the Commander in Chief of an army of strawmen. If that's enough we're in good shape.

Unclebiffy said...

I attended President Clinton's first speech at West Point in 1993. Odds are that someone on the Academy's staff helped the President Obama's team write the speech. That' was the process for President Clinton in 1993. Additionally, I doubt very strongly that President Obama received an icy reception from the cadets. They are too well trained and the Academy is too committed to being nonpartisan. Instead I believe it to be a matter of perception. The left dislikes and distrusts the military so unless they see sycophantic fanny smooching by the cadets, they'll believe they are disrespectful of the president. If the right doesn't see the cadets wildly embracing the president, they assume the cadets dislike the president as much as they do. Truth of the matter is most of those young men and women are just hoping that the speaker doesn't drone on for too long so that they can get back to celebrating with their family and friends.

Unclebiffy said...

I attended President Clinton's first speech at West Point in 1993. Odds are that someone on the Academy's staff helped the President Obama's team write the speech. That' was the process for President Clinton in 1993. Additionally, I doubt very strongly that President Obama received an icy reception from the cadets. They are too well trained and the Academy is too committed to being nonpartisan. Instead I believe it to be a matter of perception. The left dislikes and distrusts the military so unless they see sycophantic fanny smooching by the cadets, they'll believe they are disrespectful of the president. If the right doesn't see the cadets wildly embracing the president, they assume the cadets dislike the president as much as they do. Truth of the matter is most of those young men and women are just hoping that the speaker doesn't drone on for too long so that they can get back to celebrating with their family and friends.

Mogget said...

Late to the party, but as a woman who graduated from West Point, and whose graduation was graced by President Reagan, that was a very icy reception. Although I am not in touch with WP much these days, the contempt came through clearly.

SukieTawdry said...

Why is he seeking camaraderie with offenders? I wouldn't characterize that as "philosophical." It's more lamely trying to be cool.

It may be a tradition. I've heard Bush give the same absolution.

Drago said...

Cook: "If anything, I'd say the validity of Butler's appraisal of the military's role serving American private and state mercantile interests has become even more apparent since 1935."

You say alot of things.

None of which makes much sense.

And for the record, you are a 9-11 truther, aren't you?

John Clifford said...

General Butler's words are from 1935... not too long after the Bonus Marchers were routed from the Washington Mall. I imagine it sat hard with many veterans to see other veterans, suffering from the policies of Hoover and then FDR, who were maimed or killed when they tried to claim what had been promised to them by the Government. Then, just as now, the Government always has the money to bail out Wall Street... but none to keep the promises to veterans, whether it was their WWI bonuses or adequately management of the VA today.

Nichevo said...

I think the amnesty is traditional. The lame, self-serving part must be where he says "nobody ever did that for me." I think his whole adult life seems to have people been excusing his mistakes.

Dr Weevil said...

Anyone inclined to take seriously what Smedley Butler said in 1935 should know that by 1934 he was already a paranoid maniac, who testified before congress that certain named businessmen planned to march on Washington with 500,000 men under Butler's command and install a Fascist government with Butler in charge and FDR kept on as a figurehead.

I already pointed this out in this thread in February, but Robert Cook still takes Smedley Butler as a legitimate authority. As I said then, "Quoting anything Smedley Butler wrote after 1934 is like quoting Ezra Pound after he became a Fascist or Bobby Fischer in his last decade or two." Robert Cook was, and is, too stupid or paranoid or bigoted to take a hint. No one with any sense will follow him.

Robert Cook said...

Dr. Weevil,

Was Butler ever diagnosed as being "paranoid," or a "maniac?" If not, your assertion to that effect is mere slander, and groundless.

From Wikipedia:

"The McCormack-Dickstein Committee confirmed some of Butler's testimony in its final report. 'In the last few weeks of the committee's official life it received evidence showing that certain persons had made an attempt to establish a fascist organization in this country...There is no question that these attempts were discussed, were planned, and might have been placed in execution when and if the financial backers deemed it expedient.'"[70] [n 1][n 2]

I don't know why you refuse to admit the validity of Butler's claims; after all, in the ensuing decades, we have been taken over by a fascist oligarchy. They just did it without an army, and so it took much longer, but they succeeded in the end.

Dr Weevil said...

You're right: you don't know why because you're either too bigoted or too stupid to understand a very simple argument.

I already pointed out on the previous thread that the committee obviously pretended that there might be some smidgeon of truth behind Butler's allegation because otherwise they'd have had to admit the truth: that they had spent two months pursuing an utterly false claim. There is in fact no evidence whatsoever that such a plan ever existed, and any conspiracy that involved 500,000 men - or even 500 - would have left a trace or two.

The idea that mental problems like paranoia or bigotry - or stupidity - only exist if they have been officially diagnosed by a licensed professional is, of course, obviously absurd.

Robert Cook said...

Dr. Weevil,

None are so blind as Curculionoidea beetles who will not see.

Nichevo said...

Arcades ambo, Bob. You like to believe what you believe, or should I say you believe what you want to believe, and nobody can impart a datum to the contrary without rubbing your face in it till your nose falls off. Why even read replies? You're not listening and you certainly don't care what anyone else says or thinks.

I've seen lots of crazy old coots like you. You're all the same. Crazy old coots. You've got just enough touch with reality to duck questions whose answers would gut you.

Robert Cook said...

"Arcades ambo, Bob."

Huh?

"You like to believe what you believe, or should I say you believe what you want to believe, and nobody can impart a datum to the contrary...."

What "datum to the contrary" has Mr. Weevil provided to show how wrong I am to give credence to General Butler? Calling him a "paranoid maniac" or "disillusioned?"

Nichevo said...

https://ageofsail.wordpress.com/2009/02/17/the-lesser-of-two-weevils/

everybody has to supply you infinite proof of every little thing. You never have to supply proof of anything.

Dr Weevil said...

I pointed out that the conspiracy Butler alleged never existed on even 1/10,000th of the scale he alleged. There weren't even 50 people who seriously intended to march on Washington, much less 500,000. Believing in nonexistent conspiracies makes Butler (and people like him) simply unbelievable. You can argue about whether he was paranoid, or stupid, or blinded by political bigotry, or some combination of those, just as others can wonder which of those factors makes you believe such obvious nonsense. But the fact is that Butler said things that were blatantly untrue, and there is no reason to believe anything else he said after he so spectacularly embarrassed himself in 1934. Checkmate, dimbulb.

Nichevo said...

https://ageofsail.wordpress.com/2009/02/17/the-lesser-of-two-weevils/

It's always the same Bob. Anybody trying to impart anything to you has to provide full proof on every little detail and then you'll fight it anyway and then ignore it. And while you make all kinds of outrageous claims all the time you never provide proof and you never respond to requests for elaboration or clarification. I don't know, that's a little exaggerated, I haven't had my coffee yet, but you don't argue in good faith. You're impersuadable and your convictions are unfalsifiable. You're not an honest interlocutor. What do you think you are? You're a one way transmitter.

This is entirely separate from my frequent criticism of you as a droning, humorless scold. Even if you were charming you would still be a demagogue.

By the way you will note that I do not exist in mere reaction to you. We are pretty much on the same side versus Eric on the Gibson thread with the paramilitarization of the police.

Nichevo said...

If my reference was not sufficiently clear, if Dr Weevil is a blind curculio, you're another.

Althouse, if you're reading this, could you explain to me the "tu quoque" fallacy? It seems basically the first guy to make an accusation wins because you can't say that you're another without invoking this fallacy.

Dr Weevil said...

Two more points:

1. One telltale sign that someone is too petty or too gutless to admit that he's losing an argument with me and knows it: when he starts calling me 'Mr. Weevil' instead of 'Dr Weevil'.

2. I never called Butler "disillusioned", that was someone else entirely.

Robert Cook said...

Actually, I am quite humorful.

And, Dr. Weevil, I apologize for calling you MR.Weevil; it was actually just a typo, but I know how insistent Doctors are that they be called by their rightful hard-earned professional titles.

Ahem, where were we? Oh, yes: no one has claimed--not I, not Smedley Butler--that there was actually a standing army of 500,000 men ready to take Washington. Rather, this is what Butler reports he was told by a man who approached him to head a coup attempt:

"In November 1934, Butler told the committee that one Gerald P. MacGuire told him that a group of businessmen, supposedly backed by a private army of 500,000 ex-soldiers and others, intended to establish a fascist dictatorship."

I don't know what Butler believed--whether there was actually such an army extant or not--but he did not claim to know this. He claimed only that this was what he was told by MacGuire. He merely reported, as you or I might, information made known to him of a possible criminal conspiracy.

Do I think it credible that Butler was so approached or that such a plot was in at least preliminar planning and discussion stages?

Absolutely.

You can deny that such a plot ever existed, or attempt to impeach any other sources which report Butler's allegations, (there are many to be found, I just picked one to link to)--it matters not to me--but it is really not pertinent to my original point in bringing up Butler, from which we've gone far afield. (And, given that the fascists have finally had their coup, if through a less overt and more prolonged strategy than abrupt takeover, it's now moot.)

You brought up Butler's allegations only to undermine his claims that the military serves as "muscle" for big business and wall street, which I referenced to support my statement that our military is merely a cadre of security guards for the owners of America. He provided some examples, and subsequent history simply bears him out: the military does not "defend" our way of life or our "freedoms," (such few as we may still faintly retain), they are the enforcement arm of the United States, the glorified security guards for the interests of the oligarchy.

Nothing you have said refutes that plain truth.

Dr Weevil said...

Hmmm. The D and the M on the keyboard are nowhere near each other. I've had many others who were losing arguments with me suddently decide to start calling me 'Mr Weevil' or 'Weevy' or various other mildly derogatory variations on my name. Conclusion: Robert Cook is simply lying about his supposed 'typo'.

Just as he is either lying or very very stupid about what Butler believed. If he had thought McGuire was talking through his hat, pretending to be "backed by" 500,000 men when he didn't even have 5,000 or 500 or even 50 or 5, why would he have gone to Congress? Why would Congress have spent two months investigating an obvious fantasy if Butler had not managed to convince them temporarily that it was not a fantasy? There is in fact no evidence that any such army was ever recruited, or that anyone ever made any serious attempt to recruit such an army. Butler was a fantasist, and quoting him as an authority is a self-refutation.