Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Truth-telling [David Warren dissects Obama's approach to truth in the Cairo and D-Day speeches] ^ | June 10, 2009 | David Warren

Posted on 06/11/2009 6:38:36 AM PDT by Tolik

No sooner had I filed my Saturday column about the abuse of fact and reason in President Barack Obama's Cairo speech, than I found myself reading the draft of another big Obama speech, delivered at the D-Day anniversary.

The difference between the two speeches is worth the red flag. They are night and day. When we juxtapose one with the other, we learn something important about the speaker, and also about the foreign policy of his administration.

The Cairo speech was full of grand historical statements that were, on a pedestrian factual view, quite ridiculous. Mr Obama declares three times in the speech that he has come to "tell the truth," but instead utters remarks pitched to the prejudices of his audience. Indeed, I could not find a single factual assertion in the whole speech that was not wrong, or skewed, or seriously misleading.

On the other hand, there is no place in his speech at the American Cemetery in Colville-sur-Mer where the president insists that he is being truthful. Obviously, he is telling the truth there, albeit with some (laudable) narrative selectivity and élan. So far as I can see, every assertion in that speech was rigorously fact-checked.

Note the obvious. When speaking to a western audience, Obama troubles to get his facts straight. When speaking to an eastern audience, he does not. This suggests a president who can see the difference between sugar and sludge; who was quite unlikely to have fooled himself by anything he said in Cairo. Also, a president comfortable with saying different things to different audiences: which all politicians do, though not always to an alarming degree.

Since Saturday, I have received several interesting communications from persons who know something about the Middle East, who admit that Obama was trawling a line, and yet defend him for doing so. Their argument is sufficiently compelling that I'm inclined to think it explains what Obama and advisers thought they were doing.

Let us assume that Obama's speechwriting team thought very carefully about how his speech would go over in the Muslim world: not only tactically, but strategically. Moreover, Obama himself, from rather more extensive contact with Muslims in his earlier life than he condescended to explicate while running for president, is reasonably well acquainted with sometimes radical differences in outlook between East and West. And while my correspondents casually admit that the Cairo speech was full of what Churchill used to call "terminological inexactitudes," they argue that these were "necessary" inexactitudes.

Now to the grist. Obama has observed that, to an Islamic way of thinking, society does not "evolve," but is static. The requirements for "the good" of this world were laid down in the Koran once and for all time; the slightest deviation from them is heresy. It follows that, if you want change, you must argue that the change is not really change, but a return to some previous state of grace.

By contrast, to the Christian view, the Revelation itself unfolds in time, and is even today not yet completed. It is perfectly valid to "live and learn," for the triune God that Christians worship has bestowed a faith which is itself dependent upon our reason. Even a post-Christian "secular humanist" will accept that to change the present, we need not change the past. Reason requires that we accept the past, even if it was not to our liking.

While speaking to an Islamic audience, Obama plays what he guesses is the Islamic game. He says, "Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance," and jibes about the contrasting Spanish Inquisition. He tells them that the Renaissance and Enlightenment depended upon Islamic influences. This is not because he believes it, but because he wants his audience to believe it. It is deeper than mere flattery.

It is a con game, and I won't say that President Bush and others did not play it, too, albeit more innocently. When one declares, as Mr. Bush did the morning after 9/11, that "Islam is a religion of peace," one is, strictly speaking, telling no lie. But one is conceding an Islamic definition of "peace," different from the one the speaker understands; and in doing so, one is not speaking plainly.

Needless to say, I disagree with this whole approach, and am instead of the view of that 14th-century Byzantine emperor, Manuel II Paleologus. "God is not pleased by blood," he said, "and not acting reasonably is contrary to God's nature. Faith is born of the soul, not the body. Whoever would lead someone to faith needs the ability to speak well and to reason properly, without violence and threats."

To speak the truth means speaking the truth we understand, and explaining it to others who may not agree. "That you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." This is not a con game.

TOPICS: Editorial; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: davidwarren; history; islam; obama

1 posted on 06/11/2009 6:38:37 AM PDT by Tolik
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: Lando Lincoln; neverdem; SJackson; dennisw; NonValueAdded; Alouette; .cnI redruM; Valin; ...


This ping list is not author-specific for articles I'd like to share. Some for the perfect moral clarity, some for provocative thoughts; or simply interesting articles I'd hate to miss myself. (I don't have to agree with the author all 100% to feel the need to share an article.)

I will try not to abuse the ping list and not to annoy you too much, but on some days there is more of the good stuff that is worthy of attention.

You are welcome to browse the list of truly exceptional articles I pinged to lately. Updated on June 3, 2009.  on  my page.
You are welcome in or out, just freepmail me (and note which PING list you are talking about).

Besides this one, I keep 2 separate PING lists for my favorite authors Victor Davis Hanson and Orson Scott Card.  

2 posted on 06/11/2009 6:39:48 AM PDT by Tolik
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Tolik

A Interesting Analysis certainly worthy of Further Review!
OBOZO speaks with Forked Tongue! Something We have Known, but this is good information to have for the overall picture of Obozo’s Snakeoil Sales Ponzi Scheme:-)

3 posted on 06/11/2009 6:48:35 AM PDT by True Republican Patriot (GOD BLESS AMERICA and Our Last Great President George W. Bush)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Tolik


4 posted on 06/11/2009 6:50:52 AM PDT by Taffini ( Mr. Pippen and Mr. Waffles do not approve)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Tolik
This is not a con game.

Obama IS the ultimate con game...from BC on...!

5 posted on 06/11/2009 6:52:48 AM PDT by Don Corleone ("Oil the the cannolis. Take it to the Mattress.")
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: All

Our Historically Challenged President. A list of distortions [Victor Davis Hanson]
NRO ^ | June 11, 2009 | Victor Davis Hanson

6 posted on 06/11/2009 7:33:59 AM PDT by Tolik
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Tolik
Mike Ramirez does it again.

7 posted on 06/11/2009 7:55:18 AM PDT by Oatka ("A society of sheep must in time beget a government of wolves." –Bertrand de Jouvenel)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Tolik

NObama’s speech in Egypt was such a success that the country’s ‘cultural’ people are no longer translating any Hebrew writings for Egyptians to be able to read or study.

Sure isn’t a good sign, IMO.

8 posted on 06/11/2009 8:16:26 AM PDT by ridesthemiles
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson