Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

The Fort Hood speech: Tom strikes out

Everybody makes mistakes, and I think I did earlier today. The thoughtful notes posted in response to my lead item today have persuaded me that I was wrong in my critique of President Obama’s speech at Fort Hood. The general theme of the pushback was that this was not the time or place for the ...

577075_091111_jeter25.jpg
of the New York Yankees of the Tampa Bay Rays on September 8, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.

Everybody makes mistakes, and I think I did earlier today. The thoughtful notes posted in response to my lead item today have persuaded me that I was wrong in my critique of President Obama’s speech at Fort Hood. The general theme of the pushback was that this was not the time or place for the kind of speech I would have liked to hear.

I think “JPWREL” said it best:

Everybody makes mistakes, and I think I did earlier today. The thoughtful notes posted in response to my lead item today have persuaded me that I was wrong in my critique of President Obama’s speech at Fort Hood. The general theme of the pushback was that this was not the time or place for the kind of speech I would have liked to hear.

I think “JPWREL” said it best:

There is a great deal of unhappiness in this nation over this tragic event and the wars in general. Sensitive to that undercurrent I think Obama threaded the needle just right in carefully reaching out to the hearts of his listeners and at the same time not lowering the gravity of the occasion by reverting to more divisive and mundane political themes.”

Got it.

That said, somewhere down the road, I still would like to see the president tackle the issue of “political correctness.” For example, I think affirmative action did this country a lot of good, and that diversity and tolerance are great strengths to be cultivated-but that we should not shy away from expelling violent extremists from the ranks of the military.  

Photo:  JIM MCISAAC/Getty Images

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

More from Foreign Policy

The Taliban delegation leaves the hotel after meeting with representatives of Russia, China, the United States, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Qatar in Moscow on March 19.

China and the Taliban Begin Their Romance

Beijing has its eyes set on using Afghanistan as a strategic corridor once U.S. troops are out of the way.

An Afghan security member pours gasoline over a pile of seized drugs and alcoholic drinks

The Taliban Are Breaking Bad

Meth is even more profitable than heroin—and is turbocharging the insurgency.

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya addresses the U.N. Security Council from her office in Vilnius, Lithuania, on Sept. 4, 2020.

Belarus’s Unlikely New Leader

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya didn’t set out to challenge a brutal dictatorship.

Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid

What the Taliban Takeover Means for India

Kabul’s swift collapse leaves New Delhi with significant security concerns.