Matthews: Obama practically Shakespearean in Afghanistan, or something

posted at 8:41 am on May 2, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The thrill is back, at least in Chris Matthews’ leg. The host of MSNBC’s Hardball provided live analysis of Barack Obama’s speech in Afghanistan last night — no, wait, that’s not really accurate.  Matthews, along with Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) and Politico’s Jim VandeHei provided a cheering section that only lacked a Bidenesque most-brilliant-thing-in-the-last-500-years claim.  Oh, wait:

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“I imagine being a soldier over there — this is what you want to hear,” Matthews said, as if he was wearing military fatigues.

Matthews also likened the leadership of President Obama to that of Henry V of England.

“It was right out of Henry V actually, a touch of Barry, in this case, in the night for those soldiers risking their lives over there,” Matthews said.

“Well that’s great stuff. I was so proud of the President there, I must say. This has nothing to do with partisanship; this is the Commander-in-Chief meeting with the troops,” Chris Matthews gushed on his program today.

Actually, I believe the comparison was to William Shakespeare’s Henry V and not the historical king, and Shakespeare’s St. Crispin’s Day speech, one of the most well-known martial rallying speeches in literature.  The most famous part of the speech is the end:

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.”

However, Matthews is apparently unfamiliar with the play or the history behind it.  The English army was outnumbered by the French at Agincourt, but Henry V led them into an attack anyway, winning a stunning defeat over the French knights, nearly wiping them out.  Obama’s speech was intended to tell the army that the war was almost over, and that the need for large battles had all but passed.  As Andrew Malcolm noticed, it never once uses the word “victory.”  It’s almost the diametric opposite of the St. Crispin’s Day speech; some even consider it Obama’s “mission accomplished” moment.

Not the Taliban, however, who spoiled Obama’s end-of-war speech with a reminder that it was still on as far as they’re concerned:

Less than two hours after President Obama left Afghanistan airspace on Wednesday, explosions shook the capital and the Interior Ministry said a suicide attacker had exploded a large bomb at the gates of a compound used by foreigners in the east of Kabul, killing seven Afghans. …

Stephen Mackenzie, an American who works in Afghanistan and lives at the Green Village where he is also a security warden for the compound, said by e-mail that two large explosions had hit the area right outside the compound and some rocket-propelled grenades had struck nearby.

“Lots of small-arms fire,” he said.

That highlights the worry that arose when Obama made his speech:

The summer fighting season is about to begin in Afghanistan, and suicide bombings in Kabul last month hinted at the Taliban’s determination to make the U.S. exit from the country as painful as possible.

“I’m concerned there’s a little too much potential chatter about this ending the war,” said retired Lt. Gen. David Barno, a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. “There’s no ending of the war or conflict in this agreement. This is simply cementing in ongoing U.S. support.”

Anthony Cordesman, an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and an adviser to the Pentagon, said that the strategic partnership would do little to convince the Taliban that the U.S. is committed to Afghanistan.

“The whole idea that you can issue some kind of statement or document that’s going to convince the Taliban and the region that our strategic agreement is serious is a fantasy,” he said. “The reality is there are enough doubts and enough uncertainty, that the only way to prove we’re going to [stay] is to stay.”

What would Henry V do?


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Comment pages: 1 2

Matthews always looks like he just stumbled out of the drunk tank.

Crusty on May 2, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Matthews is on way too many drugs. His brain is lost.
Definitely needs a Brain transplant.
Maybe it is syphilis induced craziness?
I agree with another comment. “How do you respond to something like this”

OMG

Delsa on May 2, 2012 at 11:34 AM

Obama’s more like Britney Spearean.

fogw on May 2, 2012 at 11:37 AM

I imagine being a soldier over there — this is what you want to hear,” Matthews said, as if he was wearing military fatigues.

Wow completely clueless and many other things I cannot type in polite company. What a filthy WRETCH. /spit

dogsoldier on May 2, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Matthews is such a brown nose! Voice like a squeeling pig, observations like a girl, how’s he stay in broadcast media? The O visit, clearly a campaigne stop and photo op. Here’s the difference: when we met W in Somolia, a surprise visit, a couple several hundred Marines, on the tarmac surround him as he summoned us in close, all of us armed normally, he moved among us, takling and embrassing many with a genuiness we all felt. When the O shows up, a carefully selected group, cleans up, stacks arms outside,go through metal detectors, staged for a photo then dismiss so the O can dazzel the world reading another (same) “soring” message. O has no fundsmentasl understanding of our forces, doesn’t like them. Probably affraid of a weapon, most troops see him as a wimp. O couldn’t lead a group of nuns in silent prayer. Couldn’t carry Gorge V’s jock, sure doesn’t pack the gear for the Free World.

StevC on May 2, 2012 at 12:17 PM

Sure, he was Shakespearean. In the way that many tragedies are. Or in the way actors are: completely phony, but believable to some.

totherightofthem on May 2, 2012 at 1:13 PM

What would Henry V do?

this:
‘Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead’.

then again, that would be Shakespeare’s Henry V, and not the historical character…not that Tingly would know the difference anyways…

jimver on May 2, 2012 at 1:36 PM

However, Matthews is apparently unfamiliar with the play or the history behind it. The English army was outnumbered by the French at Agincourt, but Henry V led them into an attack anyway, winning a stunning defeat over the French knights, nearly wiping them out. Obama’s speech was intended to tell the army that the war was almost over, and that the need for large battles had all but passed. As Andrew Malcolm noticed, it never once uses the word “victory.” It’s almost the diametric opposite of the St. Crispin’s Day speech

Matthews is also apparently unfamiliar with the fact that Obama was speaking to an empty room as a publicity stunt & that Henry V was actually a warrior king who not only fought side by side with his men, he lead from the front, by example, never asking them to do anything he wouldn’t do.

Dark Star on May 2, 2012 at 1:51 PM

tried to send this one in earlier … here it is again

spread this and demand it be done …

deafy on May 2, 2012 at 3:15 PM

There should NEVER be more then 3 comments on piece that has Matthew’s name in the headline. Really people. This has got to stop.

sdbatboy on May 2, 2012 at 3:33 PM

The summer fighting season is about to begin in Afghanistan, and suicide bombings in Kabul last month hinted at the Taliban’s determination to make the U.S. exit from the country as painful as possible.

And Obama will allow the soldiers to be tortured and killed, and still pull us out of the war. Just like Carter. Yay.

Squiggy on May 2, 2012 at 3:54 PM

It looks like Chrissy has been hitting the sauce a bit too early when recording this interview.

The Presidents off mic comment was a bit tasteless – What a shame, all you guys and girls have to live in this Sand Trap. I don’t know how you handle it because I’ve never been in a Sand Trap in entire life golfing.

Speaking of golf you know since Kim Ill Songs caddie was looking for a job – I hired him and my game has improved 1000%, its a miracle from the “Dear One”

MSGTAS on May 3, 2012 at 10:25 AM

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