Thursday, November 12, 2009

Barack Obama Makes Pit Stop In Anchorage, Alaska Enroute To Asia, Addresses Troops At Elmendorf AFB, Has Now Set Foot In All 57 States

President Barack Obama addressed troops at Elmendorf AFB during a fuel stop for Air Force One in Anchorage, Alaska on November 12th, 2009. With today's visit, Obama said he's now visited all 5750 states. Media stories from the Anchorage Daily News, the Anchorage Daily Planet, KTUU Channel 2, and KTVA Channel 11. National coverage on the ABC News Political Punch blog.

Anchorage Daily News gallery of 46 photos available HERE.

Dignitaries in attendance included Democratic Senator Mark Begich and Republican Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan. Senator Lisa Murkowski, still recovering after plowing through the one-foot tall, 1,900+ page health care boondoggle recently passed by the U.S. House, had a prior commitment in Kotzebue, and Congressman Don Young did not return to Alaska for the recess, although he generously donated his two tickets to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ethan Berkowitz and his wife. Republican Governor Sean Parnell also had a prior commitment to address the Associated General Contractors in downtown Anchorage, but Lieutenant Governor Craig Campbell was there to represent him.

An estimated 2,000 people were on hand to listen to Obama's speech. By all indications, it was not a mandatory formation for military personnel, although I can tell you from personal experience that senior NCOs and officers were probably strongly "encouraged" to attend if available (it's called "mandatory fun"). Attendance tickets were actually parceled out to the different military units on Elmendorf and Fort Richardson.

Before speaking to troops for roughly 15 minutes, the president said he met with the family of Marine Cpl. Gregory M.W. Fleury, a Service High School graduate who died on October 26th, 2009 while serving in Afghanistan. Obama promised the troops they'd be provided with a clear mission, equipment and public support at home. "I want you guys to understand I will never hesitate to use force to protect the American people or our vital interests," Obama said. "But I also make you this promise -- I will not risk your lives unless it is necessary to America's vital interests. And if it is necessary the United States of America will have your back." Read the complete transcript of Obama's speech HERE; Obama's entire 15+ minute speech was also captured by KTUU and is embedded below:

One unidentified airman posted a comment to KTUU's story, criticizing their coverage of Obama's appearance, and claiming it made the troops sound like Obama groupies:

Guest Today 6:00:15 PM
As one of those servicemen required to attend todays event, I would like to straighten out a few of KTUU facts. The article made it sound like we wanted to be there an hour early out of excitment, hardly, we had too be there early to get through the metal detectors. That is nothing special about Obama, I did the same to see Presdent Bush. Also, the families and servicemen that met with the President were not all KIAs (obviously, as some of the servicemen that met with him are still on Active Duty). All that being said, it is still an honor to meet the Commander in Chief who I have sworn to uphold the orders of, whether I agree with them or not.

A separate ADN story discusses the itinerary and purpose of the trip. After the short layover, Obama left Anchorage for his first major trip to Asia as president. Obama was expected to travel first to Tokyo, where he would speak on his Pacific Rim policy and meet with Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama. A surging China and newly assertive Japan are chipping away at America's standing on diplomacy and trade. Obama will also add Singapore and South Korea to the 16 foreign countries he's already visited.

Prime Minister Hatoyama swept to power vowing a more equal partnership with Washington. He's promised to halt Japan's refueling of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, review its basing agreement for 47,000 U.S. troops and explore the possibility of a new Asian trading block excluding the United States. On the other hand, he's pledged $5 billion to aid Afghan development.

But the highlight of Obama's trip is the stop in Singapore on Saturday November 14th for the annual Asia-Pacific economic summit, where 21 nations assemble to discuss regional economic interests. Complicating the summit is a resurgent wave of protectionism, spawned in part by America's economic problems.

Obama's biggest challenge in Asia is the rising economic and military power of China. Obama will meet with Chinese leaders in Shanghai and Beijing, tour the Great Wall and Forbidden City and hold a town hall meeting with Chinese youngsters at a Shanghai museum during a three-day stay. Issues on the menu include the vast trade gap between the U.S. and China, the undervalued Chinese currency, and a laundry list of minor disputes on everything from Chinese tire exports to DVD piracy. Obama also wants Chinese help in thwarting nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea, and its cooperation on a new climate treaty. This will also be a major test for the new U.S. Ambassador to China, former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr., who, because he's a Mormon, is considered by many to be a particularly inspired selection.

Obama will then cap his trip with a visit to South Korea as his administration prepares to send an envoy to Pyongyang for rare direct talks.


  1. As the Ft. Hood massacre and military "diversity" talk clearly shows, ours is a tale of two militaries.

    One military is battle hardened and forward deployed; the other is soft, bureaucratic and backward. One military champions Theodore Roosevelt's "manly virtues"; the other espouses leftwing feminist cant. One military takes the fight to the Jihadist enemy; the other cowers before the Jihadist lobby.

    One military champions excellence; the other champions "diversity." One military champions fairness and equality; the other champions affirmative action, quotas and set-asides. One military is at war with the Islamists; the other is at war with the U.S. Constitution. One military is politically incorrect; the other kowtows to political correctness.

    Yes, Virginia, multiculturalism and other dangerous nostrums have indeed infected the highest echelons of the U.S. military. So much so that the Army's highest ranking officer, General George W. Casey, Jr. said in the wake of a horrific massacre of American soldiers at Ft. Hood:

    "What happened at Ft. Hood was a tragedy; but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here."

    An even greater tragedy, eh? Even greater than the murder of 14 innocent men, women and a baby? Even greater than the likelihood that there are other Islamists in our midst who are now planning similar massacres of American troops?

    So much so that the Navy's highest ranking officer, Admiral Gary Roughead, has said, "Diversity is our number one priority."

    The Navy's number one priority, eh? Is diversity more important even than combating piracy and defeating al Qaeda?

    So much so that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, elevated diversity to a "strategic imperative" when he was the chief of naval operations.

    A "strategic imperative," eh? One wonders how the great armies and navies of the past, most of which were decidedly non-diverse, ever managed to win a battle, let alone a war. What about the all-Jewish Israeli military, which is widely recognized as one of the world's greatest fighting forces?

    General Casey and Admirals Mullen and Roughead are not stupid men, and they surely mean well. But they have internalized the politically correct lessons of the academy and the popular culture, which propagate leftist nonsense like "diversity" (read: affirmative action and reverse discrimination). And they are actively seeking to impose these dangerous ideas on the U.S. military.

    The Washington Post, for instance, reports that according to Bruce Fleming, the Naval Academy "operates a two-tiered admission system that makes it substantially easier for minority applicants to get in."

    Fleming is a tenured professor of English at the Naval Academy and a former admissions officer there. "We're dumbing down the Naval Academy… [and] we're dumbing down the officer corps," he told the Post.

    Of course, Naval Academy officials strenuously deny that this is happening; but Fleming makes a convincing case. "Don't want to believe me?" he writes. "[Then] have a lawyer sit in on a year's worth of admissions board deliberations. Or better still, pray that one of the stellar white students rejected to give a seat to a 'diverse' candidate sues us. That's the only way taxpayers will ever fully understand the price to them of 'putting diversity first.'" The price of military "diversity" has been even more exorbitant, perhaps, than Fleming himself probably ever imagined. Indeed, as retired Army Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters reports, political correctness resulted in the Army's retention and promotion of the Ft. Hood killer, Jihadist Major Nidal Malik Hasan:

  2. "A dirty big secret in our Army has been that officers' promotion boards have quotas for minorities. We don't call them quotas, of course. But if a board doesn't hit the floor numbers, its results are held up until the list has been corrected. It's almost impossible for the Army's politically correct promotion system to pass over a Muslim physician."

    Herein lies the real outrage: Political correctness and "diversity" led to the Ft. Hood massacre. The Army's failure to apply its own standards fairly and equally throughout the ranks led to the Ft. Hood massacre.

    General Casey is absolutely right about one thing: Diversity, properly understood, ought not be a casualty of this calamitous act. Affirmative action and reverse discrimination, however, should be banned from the ranks.

    Equal rights for all and special privileges for none. Islamists and Jihadists especially are due no special deference. They are combatants with whom we are at war. We Americans ignore this reality at our peril. Indeed, 14 innocent men, women and a baby have paid the ultimate price for our dereliction of duty.