The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Press Conference in Chile Gives Obama Chance to Lie in Two Languages

Posted on | March 21, 2011 | 10 Comments

Our Commander-in-Chief’s eloquent insincerity was matched only by his insincere eloquence in a press conference that just ended in Santiago, Chile. I live-Tweeted it, so let me check my notes . . .

Yeah. “Complete bullshit,” it says here. “Diplomatic argle-bargle. Political yadda-yadda.”

At one point, Obama was just banging out the domestic-politics buzzwords — “jobs,” “investments,” “innovation,” etc. — as if he were campaigning in Cleveland or Indianapolis.  He filibustered as if he were trying to run out the clock. (Basic press-conference tactic: Take a softball question and spend five minutes on a meandering answer, then — “Times up!”)

When he finally got a multi-part question about Libya, Obama spoke of international multilateralism as a “core principle.” In other words, the United States can only take military action when (a) there is a “consensus” that action is necessary, and (b) we have “coalition partners” joining us in the action.

A “core principle”!

After that, my eyes glazed over, but the rest of it was mainly the argle-bargle, yadda-yadda, let’s-look-presidential-while-not-actually-saying-anything-meaningful routine. We’ll see how the MSM plays this.

UPDATE: The first Associated Press report isn’t exactly hard-hitting.

UPDATE II: Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post:

[I]t’s no surprise that President Obama is focusing almost entirely on the planned brevity of the U.S.’s military involvement and the near-unanimity of the international community in support of the actions taken against Libya.
“Our military action is in support of an international mandate,” Obama said today during a press conference with the president of Chile; later he highlighted the “powerful international consensus” behind the attacks.
Obama and his political team have to hope that his rhetoric on the war — that it is necessary and will be short — matches the reality on the ground. The longer the conflict goes on, the more likely opposition to it will grow and the bigger political problem it could be for the White House moving forward.

Hope and Change military formula: “International consensus” + short U.S. involvement = AWESOME!!

You see, of course, that this “core principle” of Obama-ism is merely a guarantee that we will never take on any difficult or controversial military challenges — just easy, weak targets that our spineless European “allies” find it convenient to take down. Anything that France doesn’t like, we can’t do. But if France wants it, we can’t say no.

OBAMA: Because ‘Leadership’ Needs an Antonym.

UPDATE III: CBS provides the basic “what-the-president said” story:

The United States maintains that Libyan strongman Muammar Qaddafi must give up power, President Obama said today, even as the current United Nations mission — and U.S. military involvement — remains more limited.
“I have… stated that it is U.S. policy that Qaddafi needs to go,” Mr. Obama said in a press conference from Santiago, Chile. “But when it comes to our military action, we are doing so in support of U.N. Security resolution 1973. That specifically talks about humanitarian efforts, and we are going to make sure that we stick to that mandate.” . . .
Mr. Obama . . . reiterated today that the United States plans to hand off control of the Libya mission to an international coalition “in a matter of days, and not a matter of weeks.”
The first phase of the mission — taking out Libyan air defenses to establish a no fly zone — has been completed, the president said, but “the situation is evolving on the ground.”
The U.S. took a leading role in the initial phase because “we’ve got some unique capabilities” that are “much more significant than some of our other partners,” Mr. Obama said.
The president said that while it was important to act quickly to send a message to Qaddafi, the U.S. managed the initial operations in a way that “ensures that our partners, members of the international coalition, are bearing the burden of following through on mission.”
“Obviously, our military’s already very stretched and carries large burdens all around the world,” he said. “Wherever possible, for us to get international cooperation, not just in terms of word but in planes and resources and pilots, that is something we should actively seek and embrace.”

In the elite-journalism community, this kind of basic reporting is sneered at as mere “stenography.”  Elite journalists are big on giving readers context, which 9 times out of 10 means, “Here, let me tell you what to think about this.” So the story gets cluttered up with lots of dependent clauses and stuff.

Just tell me what the president said. I can decide for myself what it means. And when I tell you my opinion — e.g., “complete bullshit” — I don’t pretend that this is something “sources said.”


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