The “Meaning of Cory Remsburg” Isn’t What Obama and His Supporters Think It Is.

In a
response to the State of the Union Address published at
, I concluded that Barack Obama’s invocation of injured
soldier Cory Remsburg was “morally dubious” because the president
elided “any responsibility for placing the young man in
harm’s way.”

“Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings,” Bob
Dylan once
, updating Samuel Johnson’s dark maxim. Obama’s gesture in
the State of the Union will only accelerate the cynicism that
already understandably dominates public opinion. There is no more
serious decision that a government makes than to send its citizens
a war. And there is nothing more disturbing than a president using
soldiers’ sacrifices as a way of selling a grab-bag of domestic
policy agenda items.

Read the whole thing.

Over the past couple of days, reactions to the use of Remsburg
in the speech has emerged as something of a litmus test toward
Obama, the military, and foreign policy. At’s
, this is very much on display, where responses from
Obama supporters and boosters of the military responded favorably
and libertarians reacted negatively to the invocation of

For sheer moral obtuseness in the service of Obama fanboyism,
check out The New Yorker’s John Cassidy
who writes

Obama’s underlying message has been that too much of what
happens in Washington is an insiders’ game that ignores, and often
tramples upon, the wishes and interests of ordinary

By inviting Remsburg…Obama was taking part in what’s now a
traditional ritual for speech-givers. But he was also trying to
bridge the gaping chasm between politics and political
decision-making as experienced by its practitioners in the nation’s
capital and by the grunts out there in the factories, offices, and
Army battalions.

He was also invoking the concept of public service, which, in
Washington these days, is routinely subjugated to partisan
advantage. And, finally, he was saying that we can do better, and
we know we can—just look at this young man.

This, Cassidy argues, is “the
meaning of Cory Remsburg
.” Equating sending men and women to
war with “grunts out there in the factories” and offices?” Or
public service more broadly? Are you freaking kidding, man? That’s
a pretty weird interpretation. Given that Obama has failed at every
turn to explain precisely what the U.S.’s goals were in Iraq and
Afghanistan especially (where Remsburg was injured and where Obama
tripled troops during his first year in office), I’d like to offer
a different and I think more accurate interpretation, one
unburdened with trying to constantly say good things about the

Obama, just like Bush before him, sends a guy – hundreds of
thousands, actually – to war where they put their bodies and lives
on the line. Obama, just like Bush before him, doesn’t bother to
articulate the pressing national security interest in sending
soldiers to the far corners of the globe. He doesn’t give
yardsticks for success or failure or anything. Instead, he stumbles
along: War is war, you know, and it’s hell – just look at this guy
in the balcony. Now please clap for him – me, really – and good
night America. The meaning of Cory Remsburg? It’s that Obama and
Washington is more than happy to use citizens for whatever
political purpose they deem worthy of pursuing. And then when those
same citizens return from a tour of duty, politicians are still
ready, willing, and able to use them again, without serious regard
for their well-being. Contra Cassidy, “the meaning” here isn’t
about public service, it’s about the government’s grotesque
exploitation of its citizens.

What a disturbing moment and what a way to end a speech
otherwise dedicated to forgettable gestures such as the
 Obama should be ashamed of himself, especially
when you factor in that Obama’s Veterans Administration is
currently backlogged on 63 percent of benefits claims made by
returning soldiers:

Among talking heads, one of the most interesting discussions
came on Fox News’ The Five, where the hosts grappled with their
conflicting feelings about Obama (generally negative) and the
military (generally positive). Along the way, Greg Gutfeld
mentioned my piece in passing and averred (in
Mediaite’s gloss

“This heroic man was somewhat disconnected from the limp litany
of grad school garbage that came before, and it felt like it was
placed at the end of the speech to armor against scrutiny.” He
added, “Everyone walks away thinking about this amazing hero and
not how lame the president’s speech was.”

“It was really moving at the end, but I felt like I was being
used,” Gutfeld said.

I suspect that more and more people, especially upon a couple of
days’ reflection will feel that way.

Watch the segment below:

from Hit & Run

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