Obamateurism of the Day

Did Barack Obama take a jab at George Bush during his visit to the troops in Afghanistan? The Right Scoop feels this part of an otherwise excellent address to the American military at Bagram constitutes a gratuitous criticism of the war in Iraq, which has mostly come to a close for the US. Andrew Malcolm has the transcript:

We can’t forget why we’re here. We did not choose this war. This was not an act of America wanting to expand its influence; of us wanting to meddle in somebody else’s business. We were attacked viciously on 9/11. Thousands of our fellow countrymen and women were killed. And this is the region where the perpetrators of that crime, al Qaeda, still base their leadership.

Plots against our homeland, plots against our allies, plots against the Afghan and Pakistani people are taking place as we speak right here. And if this region slides backwards, if the Taliban retakes this country and al Qaeda can operate with impunity, then more American lives will be at stake. The Afghan people will lose their chance at progress and prosperity. And the world will be significantly less secure.

And as long as I’m your Commander-in-Chief, I am not going to let that happen. That’s why you are here. I’ve made a promise to all of you who serve. I will never send you into harm’s way unless it’s absolutely necessary. I anguish in thinking about the sacrifices that so many of you make. That’s why I promise I will never send you out unless it is necessary.

Is that a shot at George Bush? If it is, it’s definitely an amateurish cheap shot — especially since at least some of the people at Bagram may have participated in the Iraq theater of war, and presumably have been “meddling in somebody else’s business.” Why denigrate their service? This wasn’t a debate. All Obama needed to do was thank them for their service and remind them of why America needs them in the Af-Pak theater.

If that’s not enough of an Obamateurism, take a listen to the whole speech (at Andrew’s post) and try to count the “Pockeestons” and “Tahleebahns” while comparing them to his pronunciation of Afghanistan. Shouldn’t it be “Off-gon-ee-ston?” We noted the same thing last May:

However one feels about the blame-Bush shot or the snooty and inconsistent pronunciations, Obama’s visit to the troops was the right thing for the Commander-in-Chief to do. Thank you, President Obama.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at [email protected] with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!