Brent Batten: There's an I in credit, but...

BRENT BATTEN

In an overheated political environment such as exists today, too much can be made of a single word or phrase.

There's too much at stake in terms of the economy, national security, immigration and health care to be distracted by slips of the tongue and debatable choices in vocabulary.

Does the fact that Joe Biden missed an obvious double entendre when he remarked that President Barack Obama, "Has a big stick," constitute grounds for removal from office?

Is the Obama-Biden campaign slogan "Forward" really code for socialism or is it just a word that sounds meaningful and fits nicely on a bumper sticker?

Does Mitt Romney really like firing people? When he said he does, wasn't he really saying he likes having a choice in who he does business with?

But having said that, one phrase, one word actually, jumps out at me from the president's speech delivered to U.S. voters Tuesday evening.

Speaking from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, the president said, "And one year ago, from a base here in Afghanistan, our troops launched the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. The goal that I set — to defeat al-Qaida, and deny it a chance to rebuild — is within reach."

Do you see it too? It is the shortest word possible yet it says a lot. It is the word "I."

President Obama set the goal of defeating al-Qaida? He decided to deny it a chance to rebuild?

I remember distinctly where I was on Oct. 7, 2001, in Cleveland Browns Stadium when news broke that U.S. forces had begun hitting targets in Afghanistan. Word spread that President George W. Bush would be making a speech later in the afternoon. The crowd chanted, "Show the speech," with sufficient fervor to cause officials to delay the game and do just that on the stadium's giant replay screen.

What we heard was this:

"Good afternoon. On my orders, the United States military has begun strikes against al-Qaida terrorist training camps and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. These carefully targeted actions are designed to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations, and to attack the military capability of the Taliban regime."

And this, "By destroying camps and disrupting communications, we will make it more difficult for the terror network to train new recruits and coordinate their evil plans."

Obama's claim that he set the goal of defeating al-Qaida in Afghanistan appears in both the prepared text of his remarks and in his actual delivery. It was no slip of the tongue.

The president deserves credit for his prosecution of the war in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Credit for things he's done, like aggressively targeting top al-Qaida leaders with special forces and drone attacks. And credit for things he hasn't done that he either said or implied he would do when campaigning for office. Not closing the Guantánamo Bay detention facility and not implementing precipitous troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan, for example.

Critics say Tuesday's speech was a campaign message more than a national security one.

By singling himself out for credit for setting the goal, he bolsters their argument.

© 2012 Naples Daily News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Comments » 14

unfatcat writes:

Nobody is really arguing that Obama made a great call with Bin Laden.

Obama has actually executed most of which he said he would. The problem isn't what he says; it is what he means and how his plan is executed. Some of these instances: the fact that Congress has not been involved at all on numerous issues that under Obama became "regulations" instead of Congress passed laws (because Congress would not have passed them); and Panetta dealing with the World govt. instead of Congress (the People's govt); and
special appointments to positions by Obama, designating suspiciously strange backgrounds into unelected positions....

Honestly, I give him credit for being a highly effective communicator, except with his Congress, whom even Dems cannot get meetings with him; and I give him credit for having a beautiful family and being a seemingly good father; but, I think he's made alot of bad decisions, wrong priorities, and wrong personnel choices along the way.

upagain writes:

His mistake. He should have said, "The successful goal that I set".
Hey Batten, successful is the word that should be jumping out at you.
All the issues that are going on in the World and your big issue is the President saying I in a speech. Classic!

greathornedlizard writes:

poor Mr. Batten, so far from God and so close to the Republican Party..

volochine writes:

Batten, you got this wrong, in your never-ending attempt placate and impress the local readership of the News. You fail to mention facts and statements made by certain republicans that illustrate that finding Bin Laden was NOT a major PRIORITY.

The irony is that on the day that Romney abandons foreign policy debate as an issue for the rest of 2012, you have the guts and foresight to denigrate the President for saying the word, "I"....on a foreign policy debate. Which Mitt Romney does not want to have.

What a maroon.

angrytxpyr writes:

This caricature of a well respected and talented journalist has struck out once again with his "cut & paste", factually deficient and inadequate attempt to impersonate a real columnist. The radio "blabbermouths" have already beat the "I" "I" "I" thing to a pulp and the majority of individuals who have ears and eyes have already seen or heard exactly what Brent(cut & paste)Batten has, well cut & pasted here. TELL US SOMETHING WE DON"T KNOW FOR A CHANGE WOULD YA PLEASE!!!! Take on some local issues other than the pay scale at NNFD, try not to use pathetic teaser tricks like claiming something big will be revealed in your next column only to hunt & peck out a complete snooze fest that would put the most hyper-active reader into a coma like slumber. What really goes on up on the second floor of City Hall? Has the flow of Chlorinated crap water behind the City shop been stopped? Just how many City utility customers are not paying enough or are paying to little? The NDN all to often ignores or sidesteps real local issues only to demonstrate just how inept their writers are with issues better left to real journalists or in this case "radio blabber mouths", Strike two!!!

OP writes:

He did not make a mistake; he is a narcissist, plain and simple. TO him, nothing matters, except that he get the credit.

BobinNaples writes:

I am glad he set that goal and followed through rather than just sitting around reading a child's book about a goat and giving meaningless speeches.

Like W, he could have just said he was "truly not concerned about bin Laden", but instead he killed bin Laden's a--. Actions speak louder than (W's) words.

marcari writes:

Ponder this: You are president of the US, hundreds upon hundreds of Seals, trainers, Air Force people are working to attack the compound. They know the dimensions of every room in the building. You have spies on the ground who know what room Osama is in. The intel people tell you all this information and the Seals are fully prepared to go in. And you say NO! OK, he made the call...nice going, but to say no would have been the biggest blunder in American history. Do we remember Roosevelt for the raid on Tokyo or do we remember Doolittle? Name on Seal that led the raid.

amuser writes:

This is why I don't read Batten articles.

ronl1212 writes:

Another pathetic attempt by a right winger to denigrate a bold initiative by the president. If it were not him (Obama) setting the goal to defeat Al Quaida, who would have that authority? Boehner? Rove? Linbaugh? Of course it is the commander in-chief... therefore the reference to "I" is both grammatically and responsibility wise correct.

naplesnative73 writes:

in response to BobinNaples:

I am glad he set that goal and followed through rather than just sitting around reading a child's book about a goat and giving meaningless speeches.

Like W, he could have just said he was "truly not concerned about bin Laden", but instead he killed bin Laden's a--. Actions speak louder than (W's) words.

"He killed Bin Ladin" FYI, when the Team 6 and hundred of other find men and women about to go ahead with deadly mission (yes, deadly mission because nobody know how many of them will have another chance to see their love one again) do you know where Obama was, in the middle of his 18 holes day. They have to go fetched him to office to give team 6 a go. That is the fact check it.Go look at the picture again and you will see he in golf attire sit behind the "leather boss chair" which was occupy by the military general. Now "I" killed bin Ladin. what's an 1d10t!

ronl1212 writes:

in response to naplesnative73:

"He killed Bin Ladin" FYI, when the Team 6 and hundred of other find men and women about to go ahead with deadly mission (yes, deadly mission because nobody know how many of them will have another chance to see their love one again) do you know where Obama was, in the middle of his 18 holes day. They have to go fetched him to office to give team 6 a go. That is the fact check it.Go look at the picture again and you will see he in golf attire sit behind the "leather boss chair" which was occupy by the military general. Now "I" killed bin Ladin. what's an 1d10t!

You, my friend, are the 1d10t! You must have been working your whiskey mill instead of studying grammar and punctuation in your final grade of schooling in junior high school.
P.S. If you could even read... Obama NEVER said "I" killed Bin Laden.

naplesnative73 writes:

in response to ronl1212:

You, my friend, are the 1d10t! You must have been working your whiskey mill instead of studying grammar and punctuation in your final grade of schooling in junior high school.
P.S. If you could even read... Obama NEVER said "I" killed Bin Laden.

Just like the rest of idiots, losing debate and start personal attack. You are right, I am uneducated, never finish high school, but it doesn't make me a liar, a cheater or an ignorance. In the other hand, with the perfect spelling and beautiful corrected grammar doesn't stop people to be came an idiot and ignorance or a scum of sociaty. Look at your "boss" with the Harvard degree it doesn't stop him to be came the ignorance and corrupted high rank officer of our history. I will take common sence, honnor and integrity over all that s----- degree ANY DAY. We, uneducated people do s----- and horrible thing because we don't know the different. Whats your "colledge degree" excuses?

volochine writes:

in response to marcari:

Ponder this: You are president of the US, hundreds upon hundreds of Seals, trainers, Air Force people are working to attack the compound. They know the dimensions of every room in the building. You have spies on the ground who know what room Osama is in. The intel people tell you all this information and the Seals are fully prepared to go in. And you say NO! OK, he made the call...nice going, but to say no would have been the biggest blunder in American history. Do we remember Roosevelt for the raid on Tokyo or do we remember Doolittle? Name on Seal that led the raid.

Marcari, tell me you are educated up north. Your education and literacy are exposing you. Horrible comment on its own.

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