Mugged by Reality
Posted on December 11, 2009
Mugged By Reality
Sarah Palin claimed, improbably, that she herself could have given the speech, saying that she herself had written similar words in her novel…er…I mean autobiography, plugging a book that probably doesn’t need to be plugged.
Newt Gingrich gave it similar high praise, saying it was an “historic” speech.
And certainly, there were elements of President Obama’s lecture to an assembly of Norwegian royalty and assorted other European intellectuals, that were historic.
The President’s best line came when he talked about how non-violence as practiced by Dr. King wouldn’t have stopped Hitler and his henchmen from their destructive and murderous reign.
For the Norwegians, this line must have had special resonance. After all, the Norwegian leadership didn’t exactly distinguish itself in standing up to the Nazis during the Second World War. Norwegian leader Vidkun Quisling not only collaborated with the Nazi regime; he also in many ways helped them in their murderous ways.
Many Norwegians resisted, not peacefully, but forcefully. And once it became clear that Hitler was doomed, so was Quisling.
Quisling’s name has become universally linked to the concept of treachery.
So, in the context of modern history, Norwegians ought to know that there is such a thing as a just war. Without just war, you get collaborators like Quisling.
I suppose that this ambivalence towards war is inherent in the Nobel Peace Prize, as the founder of the prize made his fortune in dynamite. We all love peace, but war is not only be profitable, it is sometimes completely necessary.
Over the last couple of weeks, Mr. Obama has seemed to reach a difficult conclusion about the nature of war from the personal philosophy he has held dear for years. He seems to have concluded that sometimes you need to make the tough choices to protect the good from the evil.
You could see the President's anguish at West Point, and you could see it yesterday in Oslo. He doesn't want to reach the conclusion that George Bush was right. But in many ways, Bush was right. There are evil people out there who need to be stopped.
It is the same realization that hits a liberal do-gooder who gets held up at gun-point on a street corner. Sometimes all the best intentions of good people run smack into all of the worst instincts of bad people.
That is called being mugged by reality.
The President now realizes that those crazy Islamic terrorists aren’t going to quit just because he says so. He now realizes that should we lose in Afghanistan, it will have reverberations well beyond that messed-up country.
He doesn’t feel good about what he has to do, and you can see that it goes clearly against his personal philosophy (which is probably more like Martin Luther King and less like Douglass McArthur).
But he was elected not only to give speeches and make us feel good about ourselves. He was elected to keep America safe from those who would seek to destroy our way of life.
He may not like it, but fighting the good fight on behalf to the American people is his job. I appreciate the anguish. But I would prefer strong, steady leadership.