City of Brass

City of Brass


Obama on Letterman: Remarkable.

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

I rarely catch late night television, so it was a bit of a surprise to me that President Obama was on Dave Letterman’s show last night. I much prefer the Letterman format of keeping a guest around instead of shooing them away after a couple of segments, though maybe that’s the norm for Letterman too and Obama was the exception. It was a really good appearance, with some truly funny moments (the highlight being the heart-shaped potato), personal ones (Obama talking in depth about the struggle for normality for his daughters), and policy issues – Obama essentially summed up his rationale and policy objectives for the economic crisis, health care reform, and Afghanistan in the space of thirty minutes. All between commercial breaks.

There’s no transcript yet that I can see but I wanted to note that Obama made a special effort to assert that he would not send more troops to Afghaistan unless there was a compelling argument for how the additional manpower would be used for success. Like social problems, military ones can’t always be solved by simply throwing more resources at them (a lesson learnt well in Vietnam). Given my post yesterday I am really much more soothed that Obama will indeed assert his command and not be pressured by the military to send more troops. I’m not against more troops per se, but I am against sending them on an ill-defined mission and without any real strategy for success. Obama spoke clearly to that responsibility, mentioning that he has to write a letter to parents of soldiers who don’t come back, and wants to be able to tell the families that their children’s sacrifice was worth something.

All in all, I think Obama achieved more in terms of explaining his policies than he ever did during his televised formal addresses to the nation. Though it helped, as Leterman pointed out in monologue, that all Republican Congressmen has been removed from the building prior to Obama’s arrival :)

Also, I do expect we will see that heart-shaped potato in the Smithsonian. Obama, you promised.

Here’s the full video from CBS.com of the Obama episode.



  • Henrietta22

    Since President Obama has stated he will have to see that sending more troops will stand for sucess in Afghanistan, I think it won’t be long before our troops will be reorganized and mostly come home. Other men in the know say it would take 30 or 40 yrs. for A. problems to be solved. There are other ways to go about this whole delimma. They say it can’t be won as it is going. Anyway Al-Quaida isn’t in A., they are in Pakistan.

Previous Posts

is ISIS Islamic? Wrong question.
There is an excellent longform essay on ISIS published in The Atlantic, "What does ISIS Really Want?" that lays out an excellent case fore ISIS being genuinely different in ideology, motivation and ethos than Al Qaeda. The real question boils down to, is ISIS "Islamic" or not - and makes an excellen

posted 11:34:08pm Feb. 17, 2015 | read full post »

The Price of Extremism
This is a guest post by Durriya Badani. The execution style murder of three young North Carolina students, two of whom were hijab wearing Muslim women, raises questions regarding the rise of Islamaphobia in the United States in the form of hate crimes. Some will argue that the motive for the inc

posted 11:26:53am Feb. 12, 2015 | read full post »

Can atheism drive someone to murder? #muslimlivesmatter #chapelhillshooting
Like everyone else, I am in shock at the horrible tragedy in North Carolina last night, where three young Muslim Americans were brutally executed. The police are investigating and the murderer is in custody and cooperating. The family of the victims will hold a press conference soon, until then I am

posted 4:21:58pm Feb. 11, 2015 | read full post »

Halal Italian and Mexican catering in Chicago
This is a guest post by Whitney Gaspar. I am not Muslim. I am not any religion, really. I was baptized as a Catholic to please my grandma and raised as an atheist by my mother. I am spiritual and I believe in God. But that is not why I eat halal. I eat halal because it is logical. It simpl

posted 11:09:45am Feb. 09, 2015 | read full post »

the State of the Ummah, 2014/1436
I tuned into President Obama's 2014 SOTU for a while last week - mainly beca

posted 12:06:37pm Jan. 26, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.