The good news is this: President Obama has stepped up and done the right thing by agreeing to send more troops to Afghanistan. If he is successful in getting our NATO allies to send some more, General McChrystal will be getting almost everything he asked for. This was politically brave for Obama. His base hates the war and was hoping that he would start pulling troops out immediately. So for this, Barack Obama, I salute you.
Of course there’s bad news. For starters: number of times the word “victory” was used: 0. It seems that Obama, like the French, has no word in his language for “victory.” Number of times he referred to himself: 987,692 (approximately). My Lord, this man is a narcissist. More troubling, he did his best impression of a teenage boy on prom night, promising to pull out even as he’s making the case for going in.
Al Qaeda’s base of operations was in Afghanistan, where they were harbored by the Taliban — a ruthless, repressive and radical movement that seized control of that country after it was ravaged by years of Soviet occupation and civil war, and after the attention of America and our friends had turned elsewhere.
Three paragraphs into the speech and he has already apologized for America. This may be a record, folks.
Then, in early 2003, the decision was made to wage a second war, in Iraq. The wrenching debate over the Iraq war is well-known and need not be repeated here. It’s enough to say that for the next six years, the Iraq war drew the dominant share of our troops, our resources, our diplomacy, and our national attentionand that the decision to go into Iraq caused substantial rifts between America and much of the world.
It’s Bush’s fault.
Today, after extraordinary costs, we are bringing the Iraq war to a responsible end. We will remove our combat brigades from Iraq by the end of next summer, and all of our troops by the end of 2011. That we are doing so is a testament to the character of the men and women in uniform. (Applause.) Thanks to their courage, grit and perseverance, we have given Iraqis a chance to shape their future, and we are successfully leaving Iraq to its people.
This part isn’t Bush’s fault. For the record, I disagree with nothing in those last two sentences. But it might have been nice to mention that this victory was brought to you by Bush’s order to send more troops to Iraq at a time when it was considered political suicide. But no…Bush gets blame for the bad, no credit for the good.
As your Commander-in-Chief, I owe you a mission that is clearly defined, and worthy of your service. And that’s why, after the Afghan voting was completed, I insisted on a thorough review of our strategy. Now, let me be clear: There has never been an option before me that called for troop deployments before 2010, so there has been no delay or denial of resources necessary for the conduct of the war during this review period.
What a crock. Although no troops were going to be deployed before 2010, if President Hamlet had made his decision three months ago we could have been laying the groundwork for those troops to start heading over sooner, rather than later. To pretend that his dithering didn’t delay the sending of troops is ludicrous. For three months there has been no forward movement when we could have been making preparations and outlining plans.
And as Commander-in-Chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home.
So it’s crucial for our national security to do this in an 18-month time frame? I’m aware that this is actually a handout to the Left, a way of telling the Soros Monkeys that he’s willing to send troops but his heart really isn’t in it. But letting the enemy know the date we’re going to give up isn’t a particularly good strategy.
I’ve traveled to Dover to meet the flag-draped caskets of 18 Americans returning home to their final resting place.
And despite the fact that I brought a camera crew with me, this was not a photo-op!
All told, by the time I took office the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan approached a trillion dollars. Going forward, I am committed to addressing these costs openly and honestly. Our new approach in Afghanistan is likely to cost us roughly $30 billion for the military this year, and I’ll work closely with Congress to address these costs as we work to bring down our deficit.
As the trillion dollar plus health care reform is working through Congress, I can’t believe this was said with anything approaching a straight face.
We have spilled American blood in many countries on multiple continents. We have spent our revenue to help others rebuild from rubble and develop their own economies. We have joined with others to develop an architecture of institutionsfrom the United Nations to NATO to the World Bankthat provide for the common security and prosperity of human beings.
We have not always been thanked for these efforts, and we have at times made mistakes.
Wrapping up…better throw in another apology for good measure.
For unlike the great powers of old, we have not sought world domination. Our union was founded in resistance to oppression. We do not seek to occupy other nations. We will not claim another nation’s resources or target other peoples because their faith or ethnicity is different from ours. What we have fought for — what we continue to fight for — is a better future for our children and grandchildren. And we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples’ children and grandchildren can live in freedom and access opportunity. (Applause.)
As a country, we’re not as young — and perhaps not as innocent — as we were when Roosevelt was President. Yet we are still heirs to a noble struggle for freedom. And now we must summon all of our might and moral suasion to meet the challenges of a new age.
In the end, our security and leadership does not come solely from the strength of our arms. It derives from our people — from the workers and businesses who will rebuild our economy; from the entrepreneurs and researchers who will pioneer new industries; from the teachers that will educate our children, and the service of those who work in our communities at home; from the diplomats and Peace Corps volunteers who spread hope abroad; and from the men and women in uniform who are part of an unbroken line of sacrifice that has made government of the people, by the people, and for the people a reality on this Earth.
Excellent. Almost sounds like one of George W. Bush’s speeches was left in the teleprompter.
I really shouldn’t complain too much. The policy is what’s important here, and the policy is correct. The problem to me is Obama’s stubborn refusal to talk in clear terms about victory or “winning” this conflict. It comes through the entire speech that Obama views victory as “a successful conclusion,” and “a successful conclusion” as the withdrawl of troops. Obama made the right decision here, and should be applauded for it. But at the same time, I get the feeling that the decision was based on politics and, rhetoric aside, not because he truly believed it was the right thing to do.