March 26th, 2008 by Rightsideup

Perhaps he wrote these paragraphs himself, but whether he did or someone wrote them for him, this is some fantastic writing, from the speech he is due to give today:

When I was five years old, a car pulled up in front of our house in New London, Connecticut, and a Navy officer rolled down the window, and shouted at my father that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. My father immediately left for the submarine base where he was stationed. I rarely saw him again for four years.

My grandfather, who commanded the fast carrier task force under Admiral Halsey, came home from the war exhausted from the burdens he had borne, and died the next day. In Vietnam, where I formed the closest friendships of my life, some of those friends never came home to the country they loved so well. I detest war. It might not be the worst thing to befall human beings, but it is wretched beyond all description.

When nations seek to resolve their differences by force of arms, a million tragedies ensue. The lives of a nation’s finest patriots are sacrificed. Innocent people suffer and die. Commerce is disrupted; economies are damaged; strategic interests shielded by years of patient statecraft are endangered as the exigencies of war and diplomacy conflict. Not the valor with which it is fought nor the nobility of the cause it serves, can glorify war. Whatever gains are secured, it is loss the veteran remembers most keenly.

Only a fool or a fraud sentimentalizes the merciless reality of war. However heady the appeal of a call to arms, however just the cause, we should still shed a tear for all that is lost when war claims its wages from us.

These words open the major speech on foreign policy he is giving. They do a wonderful job of introducing his personal and family history of service in the military while making forcefully clear that this history makes him less, not more, prone to wage war. The rest of the speech is worth reading too – let’s hope it gets the coverage it deserves in the news this evening and tomorrow.

February 13th, 2008 by Rightsideup

This video is so much better than anything we’ve seen in this campaign – the quality of Reagan’s speeches (and of course his delivery) was just way beyond what’s on offer today. And there are so many examples of them. The music and “Yes We Can!” chants are of course a reference to the Barack Obama video that’s doing the rounds, but ignore those and focus on the Gipper.