The most emotionally powerful moment in Barack Obama’s State of the Union address was also its most morally dubious. The nation’s commander in chief drew attention to a wounded warrior while eliding any responsibility for placing the young man in harm’s way.

A record number of Americans – 60 percent – think the government is too powerful, says Gallup, which also finds a near record low percentage trusts the government “to do what is right.” Who can blame us? The government under Republican and Democratic presidents has spent virtually the entire 21st century sending young men and women to fight in ill-defined and unsuccessful elective wars. That’s bad enough, but then to use them as props in political speeches? That’s positively obscene....

[Army Ranger Cory] Remsburg’s sacrifice is plain to see: He has a long, visible scar on his head and, the president  explained, he “is still blind in one eye” and “still struggles on his left side.” Regardless of political affiliation and ideological positioning, all Americans can appreciate Remsburg’s willingness to serve while questioning whether President Obama is right to use such a soldier as an applause line in a political speech....

What exactly was Remsburg – or any of his fellow soldiers – fighting for in Afghanistan? The president didn’t offer any explanation in his State of the Union address and you’d search his past speeches in vain for a clear and compelling reason, too.

That's from my newest piece at Time.com's Ideas sections.

Read the whole thing here.