The Daily Beast's Shushannah Walshe reports this morning that Fox News employee Sarah Palin, kicking off her nationwide "Hooray For Me And Also America" bus tour, took a jab at President Obama for apparently being insufficiently laudatory of the greatness of the American military:
She also made a slight dig at President Obama for saying Monday at Arlington National Cemetery that his "most solemn responsibility as president [is] to serve as commander in chief of one of the finest fighting forces in the world." Answering a question about Memorial Day, Palin said, "This is the greatest fighting force in the world, the U.S. military. It's not just one of the greatest fighting forces. And I sure hope our president recognizes that. We're not just one of many. We are the best."
The Plum Line's Greg Sargent rightly pegs this as "the dumbest 'American exceptionalism' attack yet," explaining that on Memorial Day Obama praised the American military as "one of the finest fighting forces the world has ever known," but "this isn't good enough for Palin: If Obama doesn't say that our armed forces are the bestest, baddest, most ass-kicking-ist fighting forces in all of human history, he's subtly denigrating the troops."
And, as it turns out, Obama has indeed praised the American military using the exact phraseology Palin demands. Here's the president speaking to the troops at Fort Campbell in Kentucky shortly after the death of Osama bin Laden:
OBAMA: Now, in recent days, the whole world has learned just how ready they were. These Americans deserve credit for one of the greatest intelligence military operations in our nation's history. But so does every person who wears America's uniform, the finest military the world has ever known. (Applause.) And that includes all of you men and women of 101st.
But this quote, to me, is more interesting than anything Obama has said:
America's military may be one of the greatest forces for good the world has ever seen, liberating countless millions from tyranny, slavery, and oppression over the last 234 years. As a dominant superpower, the United States has won wars hot and cold; our military has advanced the cause of freedom in Iraq and Afghanistan and kept authoritarian powers like Russia and China in check.
That's from an April 16, 2010, Facebook note written by... Sarah Palin. The U.S. military "may be one of the greatest forces for good the world has ever seen." May be? There's a chance it isn't? Does Palin not fully realize how great a force for good the U.S. military has been? Do you get now how completely asinine this argument is?
The fact that Palin jumped on Obama for a slight variation in language speaks less to the president's opinion of the military than it does to the pettiness of Palin, who wants to play silly semantic games to attack Obama's patriotism.
- Sarah Palin