9/11, the Obama Inaugural Address, and the Shared Sacrifice George W. Bush Never Called For

No need for all of us to sacrifice

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By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

I mentioned earlier in the week the striking absence of any explicit references in Barack Obama's inaugural address to 9/11. Vinca LaFleur, who was a National Security Council speechwriter for Bill Clinton, suggested that the speech's call for a renewal of fundamental American values was an indirect refutation of the notion that "9/11 changed everything."

Another 9/11-related view of the speech strikes me: It's the kind of speech—specifically because of the theme of shared responsibility and shared burden in a long struggle—that we famously did not hear from George W. Bush after 9/11.

He and his gang did talk about a long struggle, but the sacrifice was to be borne by our armed forces while the rest of us at home hugged our children and went shopping. This dichotomy, by the way, nicely set up the troops as a political shield—if you criticized the Bush national security policy, you were attacking the troops who were busy sacrificing for you.

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