The US State Department’s Bureau of International Information Programs, in an effort, one presumes, to shape America’s image abroad, has put out a book of President Obama’s speeches, to be read the world over. Of course, President Obama has only been president a few months, and putting out such a book takes a few months, so there is actually only one speech in the book that he delivered after becoming president: it is his inaugural address, which the State Department entitles: “The Remaking of America.”
Other speeches in the book are mostly from the presidential campaign: from his announcement speech (entitled “Our Past, Future & Vision for America” in the book) to his election night speech (entitled “Change Has Come to America”). There are also excerpts from his 2004 Democratic convention speech and, most amazing of all, from his 2002 speech against the Iraq war.
In its excerpts from that 2002 speech, the State Department has chosen one quotation in particular to feature in a pull-out quote. It reads, in huge letters: “What I am opposed to is a dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics” (page 95).
This is the image of America that our new president and his Department of State apparently want to project around the world: a nation in need of remaking; a nation begging for change; a nation that engages in dumb, rash wars; but a nation led by Barack Obama, who recognizes all this, and therefore maybe not that bad a nation after all.
They’re bound to love us now.