December 1, 2009

"We must deny al Qaeda a safe-haven. We must reverse the Taliban’s momentum and deny it the ability to overthrow the government."

"And we must strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan’s Security Forces and government, so that they can take lead responsibility for Afghanistan’s future.... [W]e will pursue a military strategy that will break the Taliban’s momentum and increase Afghanistan’s capacity over the next 18 months...."

ADDED: I only got a chance to watch the last 15 minutes or so. (Office Christmas party.) But I'll say what I thought: He sounded oddly stern, like he was lecturing us. Annoyed at us. The words were meant to be inspirational but there was no lift... no lift of a driving dream. Is he tired of being Obama? Or was it the vibe in the room? I don't think those West Point folk liked him too much. He made some pauses that felt awkward in advance of grudging applause, and the response at the end was minimal. The camera searched among the faces and found only grim ones. No one glowed with the fire of Obama-love.

AND: "America – we are passing through a time of great trial." I wanted to feel that line, but the delivery was cold and perfunctory. I had to imagine Reagan saying it to understand what it was supposed to mean.

236 comments:

1 – 200 of 236   Newer›   Newest»
vbspurs said...

THANK YOU FOR THE THREAD.

Hey, did you see the African-American cadet in full out snooze mode? LOL.

Cheers,
Victoria

...wv: micultio!!! Hispanics for Obama.

vbspurs said...

His politically correct pronunciation of foreign words is horning into his English. "Abee-lee-tees"?

vbspurs said...

"Tools of Mass Destruction".

Is he talking of Elin Woods' Big Bertha?

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Saw antoher cadet catching a cat nap. I guess they recognize a bad campaign speech when they hear it.

vbspurs said...

Egad, what a boring speech, Bushman.

wv: dismo!! I kid you not!

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

I hear you Victoria. He's really spinning out of control now. The UN and World Bank? WTF?

vbspurs said...

First applause from the crowd. After the Prez referenced our future -- our children. "As a country, we're not as young...and perhaps not as innocent."

Subliminal message: America. You're always wrong.

ricpic said...

He crapped real good on the Bush administration. That's the one thing he does well.

vbspurs said...

The UN and World Bank? WTF?

I hate when he talks about that. It brings out the crazies -- the New World Order conspiracist crowd.

vbspurs said...

The applause floodgates are now open. And he's catching fire now. Man, does his ego feed off the crowd.

XWL said...

I suspect the President's performance in speeches is very dependent on the energy in the room.

Without adoration, he's a very dim bulb.

vbspurs said...

wv: JUGGLEST!!!

vbspurs said...

THANK YOU. AND GOD BLESS YOU. AND GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

I think that's the first time I've ever heard that trio of patriotic signoffs. Thanks, Mr. President.

Cheers,
Victoria

vbspurs said...

I'm watching the post-speech talking heads on ABC. You guys?

madawaskan said...

One word to describe this speech so far-

small.

Blaming, blaming and a bold face lie.

This has been a war effort and while you do have to give Obama credit for reminding the Congress of their vote, NATO of their initial commitment, and the UN Security Council-he goes on to continually-

divide.

Divide the American public,and worse he lies to the corps and they know better.

Obama states that no troops were being asked for before-

2010.

Does he know this is December?

Does he have any idea how long it takes to deploy troops?

2010 is less than 30 days away.

The cadets know that.

As a Commander in Chief with 20/20 hindsight all that happened before you-

Reap the whirlwind for that President Obama hopefully it's only you that pays.

Ironic that he ends with this-

But I also know that we, as a country, cannot sustain our leadership nor navigate the momentous challenges of our time if we allow ourselves to be split asunder by the same rancor and cynicism and partisanship that has in recent times poisoned our national discourse.

It is easy to forget that when this war began, we were united – bound together by the fresh memory of a horrific attack, and by the determination to defend our homeland and the values we hold dear. I refuse to accept the notion that we cannot summon that unity again. I believe with every fiber of my being that we – as Americans – can still come together behind a common purpose.


He is his own worst enemy-and the most effective agent against this very goal.

Rialby said...

"Years of debate over Iraq and terrorism have left our unity on national security issues in tatters, and created a highly polarized and partisan backdrop for this effort."

Umm, ok. Who was responsible for that?

vbspurs said...

ABC signed off! Can we watch Snoopy now please?

John Lynch said...

Funny how he leaves an out before 2012.

Eh, we'll see, as always.

TWoPolitics said...

I fell asleep.

vbspurs said...

One word to describe this speech so far-

small.


Yes. It was small beans and short. I'm actually glad it wasn't long on soaring rhetoric, though.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Well said Madawaskan.

vbspurs said...

LOL! Krauthammer just said that it's not the kind of speech given by Henry V or Churchill.

madawaskan said...

To add-

by taking so long to make this decison he borrowed enemies from all sides-some who weren't as emboldened.

By giving hope to the Left that he would reject the request he made his own "war of necessity" questionable, and he undermined all those that would have been naturally aligned with this decision.

He's handicapped the very decision with the pacing that begets indecisiveness.

Priority being what exactly?

He's left that obscured.

vbspurs said...

WaPo link with the full speech

Joe said...

This sounds awfully like the Vietnam "strategy" that worked so well.

Rialby said...

Althouse - you voted for a WIMP.

madawaskan said...

Thank you Bushman.

I can't tell you how it makes my stomach flip for him give this defensive, excuse ridden speech in from of the cadets.

The military academy culture....it does it's best to discourage that.

If President Obama was a first year cadet with that list of blame throwing-he'd get..

well.

vbspurs said...

Althouse - you voted for a WIMP.

Ugh. I just wish he had been allowed to sleep before this speech -- because he sounded utterly flat. It's that creepy unemotional delivery that I'll remember, instead of his words.

I can't believe this speech took 10 months.

Joe said...

If "our security is at stake," then why the fuck is he taking so long to deploy the troops? Because our security isn't at stake. This is a bullshit war that has and will continue to get American soldiers killed for no damn reason.

(Frankly, any nation in which rape is legal can go to hell as far as I'm concerned.)

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maguro said...

Counting on the Afghan security forces to improve enough that we can withdraw in 2 or 3 years is nothing more than wishful thinking. They're incompetent at best and in collusion with enemy at worst. If this war is going to be won, we're the ones who will be doing it.

vbspurs said...

If this war is going to be won, we're the ones who will be doing it.

Iraq is a legitimate, structurally developed country. Afghanistan has been a backwater since the time of Alexander the Great. I'm afraid you are right, Maguro.

wv: razin. As in my blood pressure.

Skyler said...

Another instance, which is quite the trend since Viet Nam, of politicians trying to finesse the cost of a war and ignoring the fact that wars don't get shorter or more successful if you are parsimonious with your efforts.

It's not just B. Hussein. Bush was the same with his Cheney/Rumsfeld strategies.

Here's a clue. When a general asks for 600,000 to invade Iraq, it's probably a good idea to give him about 800,000. If they ask for only 40,000, it's best to give them 100,000, unless they specifically want fewer. In most cases, that should be a court martial offense.

You don't fight a war like you run a business by minimizing costs to maximize profits. You give it all you can so that you can be sure of the results.

kentuckyliz said...

I actually appreciate the west point setting--no tendentious applause and cheers and jeers like the health care gauntlet speech in front of senate/congress.

silence.

let it fall flat.

did you notice, some cadets didn't clap--at the beginning and the end.

vbspurs said...

did you notice, some cadets didn't clap--at the beginning and the end.

Including the strategically placed minority cadets. That lady cadet, perhaps of Indian origin, especially. They all looked bored and disengaged.

He and they know this is not his crowd.

vbspurs said...

Dennis Kucinich on O'Reilly. I dp believe this is one of the signs of the Apocalypse.

wv: temper! LOL.

Adrian said...

Best commentary was on Twitter. My favorites:

@DLoesch "America will speak out on behalf of their human rights." Just like we did in Iran. Whoops. I mean Honduras. Oh, WHOOPS.

@JasonMunich: How come he doesn't say Guantanamo Bay all Spanish like?

@andylevy: "We've not always been thanked 4 these efforts & we've at times made mistakes. & I've apologized 4 each of those"

@SoccerSealUSA: he is seemingly angry about the 9/11 attack yet he's giving the mastermind behind it all a fair trial?!

chuck b. said...

@Michael_Haz has it squared away. http://twitter.com/Michael_Haz

vbspurs said...

How come he doesn't say Guantanamo Bay all Spanish like?

LOL!!

Irene said...

One word to describe this speech so far-

"Nuanced."

vbspurs said...

I think giving a strict timeline is fundamentally crazed, not only for the usual reasons which we commenters have touched on during the Iraq War, but because it could be his "read my lips, no new taxes" moment, if he doesn't follow through. Anything could happen in these 18 months.

Florida said...

(Voice of Jean Luc Picard): There are SEVEN LIGHTS!

You should tag this post "Obama Is Like Gul Madred"

vbspurs said...

Senator Lindsey Graham on CNN. "This is a thinking, devious enemy".

Can you imagine if Obama actually had said this about the Taleebahn?

jag said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
traditionalguy said...

That was a masterfull walk of a tight rope without falling off. He told the Cadets that they will start to pack up and withdrawal as fast as they have actually arrived in country. He told the Dems that he had to do at least the minimum minimum first. And he told the wing nuts that he was doing Bush's Iraq strategy in totally different Afghanistan. And he called McChrystal's bluff to win it in 10 months or less after the New 30,000 soldiers get deployed. This was definitely better than most of his speeches. I bet he actually put some work in on this one.

chickenlittle said...

@madawaskan: good to see you around again.


wv: "gethsm" I missed the speech; was Obama sweating blood or something?

vbspurs said...

Afganistan will remain a violent, corrupt and backward place. I don't understand why more conservatives don't oppose this war.

Because the alternative is far worse. Do not be an ostrich. You cannot hide your head in the sand, and let our enemies plot violence with impunity.

Methadras said...

How do you deny AQ safe haven when Pakistan is right next door. I thought he was going to unilaterally invade Pakistan without international consideration. He said he would on the campaign trail. Oh wait.

jag said...

Afganistan: the vast graveyard where imperialistic ambitions are buried. Stupid decision. Futile conflict.

Penny said...

I found this speech very compelling. Particularly when he said this:

"What we have fought for - and 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."

chickenlittle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
floridaenterprise said...

Yes, but what are Obama's defense plans for Minos Korva?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xt9aFw7MkjM&feature=player_embedded

THERE ARE FOUR LIGHTS!

madawaskan said...

chickenlittle-

You lucky bastard...

I was told by friends to avoid it but-

I. had. to. watch.

[I feel ill.]

chuck b.

Thanks for Michael Haz's twitter comments link.

The Haz gets it.

traditionalguy said...

Jag...We do. Most of the information is not available in the media. It's too far away. The conservatives always want to see a victory, but it takes a study of the terrain and the logistics to see that a victory will simply be getting out of there alive before most of the troops reach retirement age.

chickenlittle said...

Here's hoping Obama can help awaken the other half of the country regarding the seriousness of the threat.

I thought the partisan rejection of GWT by the Dems was a very low blow. Maybe now that they own it more they will grow up a bit.

wv: "preterd" paging Titus

vbspurs said...

imperialistic ambitions

Hear that kids? We're just in Afghanistan because we're filthy capitalist imperialist pigs.

Irene said...

"Afganistan: the vast graveyard where imperialistic ambitions are buried."

Afganistan historically has been called "the graveyard of empires."

The alternative is that Afganistan will become the empire that transforms other nations into graveyards.

vbspurs said...

Wow. Maxine Waters (on MSNBC) is even more clueless than usual.

"I don't get it". No, you really don't.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Afghanistan is a 10th century country run by war lords and dope farmers, with a healthy dose of religious wackos.

Nation building is out of the question. Ask the British. Ask the (former) Soviets.

TMink said...

I appreciate his policy in this instance and his willingness to do this. I think he is doing the right thing.

Trey

Monkeyboy said...

" if other peoples' children and grandchildren can live in freedom and access opportunity"

If only he believed that for Iraqi, Iranian or Honduran children.
..and opportunity for Afghans didn't have an experation date.

vbspurs said...

Althouse wrote:

Is he tired of being Obama?

Good point. He may well be "tired of being Obama the Commander-in-Chief". He clearly loves being a politician more.

vbspurs said...

Irene, may I quote this?

The alternative is that Afganistan will become the empire that transforms other nations into graveyards.

Perfect.

Irene said...

Sure, Victoria.

(I am a recovering historian.)

vbspurs said...

From Dana Loesch's live-blogging:

- “The only nation I’m interested in rebuilding is our own.” Er, the US needs rebuilding? In what image?

Did he really say that? Rebuilding? No. We don't need rebuilding. America was built to last.

vbspurs said...

(I am a recovering historian.)

ME too! Excellent, thanks!

Will be back later. Hopefuly there'll be more comments later. :)

Cheers,
Victoria

Irene said...

We have another thing in common, Victoria.

Quayle said...

"What we have fought for - and what we continue to fight for - is a better future for our children and grandchildren...."

Forget it. Thanks to Obama's spending our children already don't have a penny in their pockets.

He's killing out future more and more with every week.

Montagne Montaigne said...

Wow, once again, Althouse's from-the-hip impressions about "the vibe" and "what Obama is thinking" are beyond dumb. Then again, that's why I come here-- to be enraged, by stupidity. So thanks.

Ironclad said...

There is not one word in the speech about the only issue that is really keeping us in Afghanistan - the nukes in Pakistan. All the rest is just dross. Keeping the nukes out of the crazies hands is the top priority (well, the REAL crazies) is the only reason now to have a presence there. If Afghanistan rots away, the Pakistan falls. And there have already been several attempts on the nuclear storage facilities across the border.

Pay off the (bribable) governors, build roads and schools for the locals, buy the opium (and dump it in Iran) and make the Pashtun areas that still want to fight into rubble. That is how you "win" there.

Monkeyboy said...

I will say that he is doing the right thing, but I wish he wouldn't do it so meanly.
(In both meanings of the word.)

jayne_cobb said...

Apparently Matthews stepped in it on MSNBC tonight when he said:

"He went to the enemy camp tonight, to make the case."

Montagne Montaigne said...

It's so odd to be stern when committing Americans to battle. He should have punctuated the speech with more jokes, right Anne?

Obama has made a whole lot of people retarded, apparently.

chickenlittle said...

He went to the enemy camp tonight, to make the case.

Matthews just clarifies whose side he's really on. I hope his career ends badly one day.

LoafingOaf said...

Obama refuted the Althouse talking point about the "dithering" by noting that the General's requests did not call for troops to be deployed before 2010.

When Obama pointed this out to me, I felt I had been lied to by the right-wing blogosphere.

Maybe the Professor should apologize to the President for that.

Oh, wait, she conveniently missed the first half of his speech (the best half).

JohnAnnArbor said...

So. Taliban need to mark their calendars, withdraw a bit, and renew their attacks about 17 months from now.

Then what?

Rick said...

I watched about 5 minutes of it. I guess he has to read it word for word to be sure he doesn't say something stupid. But I just felt it would be better for me to read it than listen to him.

I'd rather see a politician speak about ideas that he has internalized and actually cares about rather than just reading words.

I'll give him this much. He's an above average public reader.

Monkeyboy said...

"the General's requests did not call for troops to be deployed before 2010"

umm...you do know that 2010 starts in 30 days right?
and that there is a pretty long deployment cycle from decision to boots on the ground?

RLB_IV said...

Tra..Lala..Boom tee a, Tra...Lala..Boom tee a.......
Another fine show by Barack the Magician!

"The UN and World Bank? WTF?" The secret codes of the master magician.

" Krauthammer just said that it's not the kind of speech given by Henry V or Churchill"

There may be unicorns prancing on the White House garden but he ain't Barack the Magnificent. Hmm,
Unicorns and the Battenburgs, interesting...

"Can we watch Snoopy now please?"
I second the motion.

The theme of the magicians speech in a "nutshell" was we must community organize Afghanistan and those pesky Packys.

J Lee said...

He sounded oddly stern, like he was lecturing us. Annoyed at us. The words were meant to be inspirational but there was no lift... no lift of a driving dream. Is he tired of being Obama? Or was it the vibe in the room?

He had to eat spinach tonight, and that's not what he signed onto this gig for.

Obama hates conflict within his voting blocks because it both affects his personal likability within those groups and by having to make a decision on a tough issue, locks him into a position for at least X amount of time. That's why he voted 'present' on so many controversial issues in the past, in order to maintain the ability for all wings of the Democratic Party to see in him what they wanted to see.

Obama was forced to line up with the Blue Dogs tonight -- not doing everything most Republicans wanted as far as his committment to winning in Afghanistan goes, but certainly not doing what the left side of his base wants, which is withdrawal ASAP. Combine that with the fact that in his heart, he may be more on the side of those people than long-term political viability allows him to be, and you can see why Obama would have given a tepid speech while neither looking nor sounding like a happy camper tonight.

Monkeyboy said...

In other words MyCrystal's "year to win it" started 3 months ago, troops will get there maybe mid-2010, (9 months into the year) and leave in 2011.

The only good news is we're going into winter, and it buys us some time, although we failed to set the conditions prior to the snow, so I think we lose the initiative come spring.

rhhardin said...

John and Ken (KFI, real audio) attributed the Obama love to an estrogen rush.

The estrogen rush is over, I guess.

john said...

So Monty -

you disagree with Obama's Afgansitan strategy? It seems as though many here are nominally supportive, although the too-little-too-late'ness of this announcement certainly is criticizeable, in fact greatly so.

And the cadets are still students. The last thing they probably wanted to do was play dress up after dinner.

Cedarford said...

vbspurs said...
THANK YOU. AND GOD BLESS YOU. AND GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
I think that's the first time I've ever heard that trio of patriotic signoffs. Thanks, Mr. President.


Well, vbspurs, it is important to note he was addressing West Point cadets. Do you think he closes speeches out the same way addressing a room full of Hollywood or NYC donors?

=================
Skyler - You don't fight a war like you run a business by minimizing costs to maximize profits. You give it all you can so that you can be sure of the results.

That's right! Just remember LBJ! Or General Haig at the Somme!
When in doubt, or when you have no idea...just pour more troops and money in.

master cylinder said...

So....now y'all are AGAINST Obama sending troops?
I don't get it.

James said...

Tonight Chris Matthews referred to West Point Military Academy as the "enemy camp."

See the video clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTbJcixsLq8

jag said...

@ save_the_rustbelt (8:13 pm)

Perfectly said!!!!!

john said...

Monty said -

Obama has made a whole lot of people retarded, apparently.

I knew you would come around. Keep at it guy!

Theo Boehm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Freeman Hunt said...

THANK YOU. AND GOD BLESS YOU. AND GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.

That part is good.

LoafingOaf said...

Obama: "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."

The right-wing blogosphere claimed otherwise.

Fen said...

Obama's speech? No Class.

jaltcoh said...

I had to imagine Reagan saying it to understand what it was supposed to mean.

Hm, you skipped over a few presidents there.

edutcher said...

Give the Corps of cadets credit, nobody yelled, "You lie", even though it's their lives with which The Zero is playing politics.

Douglas MacArthur and Robert E. Lee would be pleased.

Joe said...

If "our security is at stake," then why the fuck is he taking so long to deploy the troops? Because our security isn't at stake.

You want a safe haven for Al Qaeda again?

(Frankly, any nation in which rape is legal can go to hell as far as I'm concerned.)

You think we invaded France in 1944 because we wanted to make the world safe for insufferable snobs?

It was the quickest way into Germany, pure and simple.

Skyler said...

Another instance, which is quite the trend since Viet Nam, of politicians trying to finesse the cost of a war and ignoring the fact that wars don't get shorter or more successful if you are parsimonious with your efforts.

It's not just B. Hussein. Bush was the same with his Cheney/Rumsfeld strategies.

Here's a clue. When a general asks for 600,000 to invade Iraq, it's probably a good idea to give him about 800,000. If they ask for only 40,000, it's best to give them 100,000, unless they specifically want fewer.


If you're talking about Shinseki, he wanted 10 divisions, the entire US Army. Then again, he was concerned about how we would draft 10 million men the next time the Russians came through the Fulda Gap.

It was never about raw numbers. When you send troops to take a city (Fallujah) and then withdraw them when they've only captured a third of the place, your tactics (and attitude) are wrong. Even before the first surge brigades arrived in Iraq, the Petraeus tactics were already showing success.

kentuckyliz said...

did you notice, some cadets didn't clap--at the beginning and the end.

But they clapped for Dubya. They know who is going to back them up and who won't.

vbspurs said...

Afganistan will remain a violent, corrupt and backward place. I don't understand why more conservatives don't oppose this war.

Because the alternative is far worse. Do not be an ostrich. You cannot hide your head in the sand, and let our enemies plot violence with impunity.


This is what the Demos can't get. All they can see is political advantage. The idea people's lives are at stake doesn't register - just like the health care that's supposed to insure everybody, but puts less than half of the "uninsured" on the rolls.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Afghanistan is a 10th century country run by war lords and dope farmers, with a healthy dose of religious wackos.

Nation building is out of the question. Ask the British. Ask the (former) Soviets.


The Russkies did everything they could do get the people mad and tried withdrawing to the major settled areas. Didn't work so well.

The Limeys were never run out of the place. There was more fighting in what's now Pakistan - the NorthWest Frontier of Rudyard Kipling.

The issue is stabilize the place, that's what McChrystal is aiming for, deny the Taliban an enclave in the southern provinces. Given his experience, I tend to trust his, and Petraeus', judgment.

See Victor Davis Hanson -
http://www.morningjournal.com/articles/2009/11/06/opinion/doc4af428c8801d9888871579.txt

Montagne Montaigne said...

Oaf--I didn't say Althouse was dumb. But this post is most certainly dumb, and the responses to this speech here are petty, incoherent, and verging on immoral.

madawaskan said...

Fen-

Yep, he basically implied that McChrystal's sense of urgency over the matter, and the various methods in which the Pentagon tried to get Obama to hasten his decision was-

All play acting-a lie.

Finally, it's as if this speech was written by -

two different people.

Good opening and conclusion, with a middle that undermined both.

Titus said...

I hated it and didn't even watch it.

LoafingOaf said...

Here's part of Obama's rationale for rejecting the open-ended approach: "...t[T]he absence of a timeframe for transition would deny us any sense of urgency in working with the Afghan government. It must be clear that Afghans will have to take responsibility for their security, and that America has no interest in fighting an endless war in Afghanistan."

That's a good point. Afghans need to know they will have to take respinsibility for their long-term, and there should be a sense of urgency.

I also don't get why the right-wing blogosphere were geared up to attack Obama's speech before he even delivered it. The speech I heard was from a President who clearly takes the mission in Afghanisran seriously, and he's bucking the Michael Moore lefties of his party in doing so. I'm not surpised, as he emphasized Afghanistan and Pakistan all through his campaign. What I amsurprised about is how the right-wing blogosphere just wants to attack him, and seem to care more about bashing Obama than having success in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Titus said...

And of course the cadets hated him.

He is a democrat.

vbspurs said...

The cadets don't hate him. They want to BE him. I'm sure in that West Point crowd tonight, there is a future President of the United States, and they're taking notes on how not to give a wartime speech.

vbspurs said...

John Insane McCain on Hannity right now, not so insane. Soft-spoken but resolute. Sigh.

vbspurs said...

Edutcher wrote:

This is what the Demos can't get. All they can see is political advantage.

Because it's ideologically impure. You cannot be pro-war and be a Barack Obama Democrat. The ideology trumps everything.

Michael Hasenstab said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Hasenstab said...

I have been made aware of secret plans to arrest Tollybon leaders, mirandize them, give them trials in which they will found not guilty, and then re-locate them to Cincinnati where they will open shops called Cinnebon.

Maguro said...

That's a good point. Afghans need to know they will have to take respinsibility for their long-term, and there should be a sense of urgency.

It's completely unrealistic to believe that the Afghan security forces will be able to step up in a few years and take responsibility for fighting the Taliban just because we say so. They're many years away from that level of compentence and motivation.

If Obama is basing his war plans on some rosy vision of the ANA and ANP, he's making a big mistake.

PatCA said...

"Is he tired of being Obama?"

No, he just doesn't like us very much.

vbspurs said...

I've reflected on this speech, and I have to say -- if you had told me on January 1st that in 2009, Barack Obama's first important decision would be about continuing the war in Afghanistan in December (even after months of milquetoast dithering), and not signing Cap and Trade, not imposing the Fairness Doctrine or Card Check, not having a slam dunk with socialised medicine with clear party majorities in both Houses of Congress, and that we would still have Gitmo operational, I'd say, I'll take that.

That's a good year for America under the most ideologically leftist, most post-American President ever elected.

Cheers,
Victoria

Freeman Hunt said...

I hated it and didn't even watch it.

Ha ha. Titus wins the thread.

I'm not watching boring speeches I can just read later. If a President wants me to watch these things, he's got to make the delivery worth watching.

I'll tune in if we get a Churchill or a Reagan.

TmjUtah said...

On the afternoon of September 11, 2001, I was driving from one project to another on autopilot.

I was supposed to be off that day because we were scheduled to fly back east to attend my late mother-in-law's memorial but with the shock of the attack on top of the forced inactivity due to the shut down of CONUS airspace, I went into work.

I was listening to a rebroadcast of Bush's second statement. As I processed the words and attempted to keep things together, it suddenly struck me that it was very nearly Al Gore that would have been in that office...

I had to pull over until the shaking stopped.

Watching Obama tonight, I got the feeling that here was some one that could make Al Gore look like a viable option.

I don't want a surge that is just a political calculation. I want our troops coming home. We lack the leadership to pursue victory, and we do not deserve the blood that our sons, fathers, sisters, and mothers will continue to shed from this day forward.

Obama surrendered tonight. He's probably got a side deal with al Qaeda to let them have sanctuary areas in exchange for not being too blatant in their attacks.

This is a sad damned day.

A lot of those cadets you saw tonight are going to be "five and out". They didn't get to be cadets for being stupid.

LoafingOaf said...

Freeman "I *am* Sarah Palin" Hunt said...
I'll tune in if we get a Churchill or a Reagan.

No, you'd tune in if we got Sarah Palin, and she gave a speech about Afghanistan without even being able to find the country on a map.

Freeman Hunt said...

No, you'd tune in if we got Sarah Palin,

You, sir, are incorrect.

Freeman Hunt said...

I didn't even finish watching Palin's debate with Biden.

LoafingOaf said...

vbspurs said...
I've reflected on this speech, and I have to say -- if you had told me on January 1st that in 2009, Barack Obama's first important decision would be about continuing the war in Afghanistan in December (even after months of milquetoast dithering), and not signing Cap and Trade, not imposing the Fairness Doctrine or Card Check, not having a slam dunk with socialised medicine with clear party majorities in both Houses of Congress, and that we would still have Gitmo operational, I'd say, I'll take that.

Obama emphasized Afghanistan an PAkistan through his entire campaign for office. I understand it is susprising to you when a politician sticks to what he campaigned on. It's been a long time since we've seen that.

vbspurs said...

"In Iraq, we do what we must. In Afghanistan, we do what we can".

Congressman Sestak (D-PA) on Hannity. Captures the defeatism perfectly.

elHombre said...

Loafing Oaf wrote: Obama refuted the Althouse talking point about the "dithering" by noting that the General's requests did not call for troops to be deployed before 2010.

Preparation to deploy begins with the decision to deploy. If the decision is delayed, the deployment is delayed. The lag time will reflect Obama's dithering.

Assuming, as we must, that earlier deployment would enhance the safety of existing troops, his dithering has put them at greater risk.

vbspurs said...

I didn't even finish watching Palin's debate with Biden.

I have a DVD-Rip in case of interest.

newscaper said...

Loafing Oaf said
"But she decided a long time ago that Obama is terrible and so she aims to prove she was right about that early assessment and it will take a lot for Obama to shake her from it."

You are either a newcomer, idiot, or both.

Ann actually talked herself into voting FOR him.

She's realized her mistake and endured some well deserved "We told you so"s.

IOW the exact opposite of what you suggest.

somefeller said...

Master Cylinder asks: So....now y'all are AGAINST Obama sending troops? I don't get it.

Actually, it's quite easy to get. Obama is for it, so therefore the Obama Derangement Syndrome crowd is against it.

Jason said...

Any leader who cannot speak, clearly and unequivocably, in terms of victory, will be rejected by West Point cadets.

And rightly so.

Obama hasn't the slightest clue about his audience.

Freeman Hunt said...

Master Cylinder asks: So....now y'all are AGAINST Obama sending troops? I don't get it.

They want more troops and no 18 months, and we're outta there timeline.

Freeman Hunt said...

I threw that extra comma in there as a bonus prize. Collect them all.

master cylinder said...

Okay I get it, hating the troops and hating Obama

elHombre said...

Loafing Oaf wrote: I understand it is surprising to you when a politician sticks to what he campaigned on. It's been a long time since we've seen that.

Evidently, it's surprising to his Democrat colleagues in DC as well.

Surely, you are not contending that Obama is sticking to his campaign "promises." Have you been in a coma?

master cylinder said...

el hombre-you are proving to be more and more uninformed with every comment.
YES! he said he would do this.

LoafingOaf said...

Here's how I'd use this speech to attack the left. The hard left and much of the mainstream of the Democratic Party held up the Michael Moore movie Fahrenheit 9/11 as some kind of masterpiece. The movie claimed that Bush went to Afghanistan for a Unocal natural gas pipeline. How does that conspiracy theory hold up today? Obama's in on tha, too? Will the Democrat representatives who so ostentatiously supported that film apologize for pushing such a conspiracy theory? PRobably not, but history will laugh at that film and the people who backed it. IMHO.

Look, I mean, I think it's important that a Democratic President made this speech that went over the reasons we're in Afghanistan and why we need to surge towards victory. I remember sitting in classrooms at a university when we went into Afghanistan, and my professors were forcing me to read a bunch of bullshit essays that took the Noam Chomsky view of the war -- stuff about how we were gonna cause a "silent genocide" in Afghanistan. In reality, our intervention there helped avert an imminent mass-starvation amongst the Afghan people. Do people remember Afghans were on the brink of starving to death in 2001?

And I think the hard left thought Obama was lying all campaign about Afghanistan, and that he'd turn out to be on their side once in power. He wasn't lying. And now the hard left are the lonely ones. Their conspiracy theories and so forth about the Afghanistan war will not hold up well in history, and this Obama speech helped push that propaganda to the dustbin.

Darren said...

The cadets were formed up to march to Eisenhower Hall about 5:30, and the President didn't speak until 8. I'm sure they were seated well over an hour before the speech, and the Dress Gray uniform is ideally designed for sleeping (it's warm, thick, and the collar will hold up your neck).

All that, and no, the president isn't very popular there.

vbspurs said...

Sarah Palin followes the Salahis example and crashes West Point via Facebook. ;)

[...] We should be clear, however, that fewer troops mean assuming more risk. Talk of an exit date also risks sending the wrong message. We should be in Afghanistan to win, not to set a timetable for withdrawal that signals a lack of resolve to our friends, and lets our enemies believe they can wait us out. As long as we’re in to win, and as long as troop level decisions are based on conditions on the ground and the advice of our military commanders, I support President Obama’s decision.

- Sarah Palin

edutcher said...

LoafingOaf said...

I also don't get why the right-wing blogosphere were geared up to attack Obama's speech before he even delivered it.

Because they knew what was coming?

The difference here is that the conservatives won't go around finding an excuse to call the troops Nazis or baby killers or anything of the sort.

They don't like this because it has "defeat" written all over it and anyone with the faintest grasp of history sees it.

They also don't like it because once again American troops are being asked to go in harm's way this time because a politician hasn't got the guts to make a real decision. This has been hanging fire for nine months and, given how quickly Harry Truman committed to Korea or Lincoln called for troops to fight the South, the troops could have been on the way by Tax Day this year.

Bambi's trying to placate everybody and he'll end up alienating almost everyone who still likes him. Even the trolls will start to bad mouth him when the next Kerry (shudder) comes along.

vbspurs said...

Even the trolls will start to bad mouth him when the next Kerry (shudder) comes along.

What, and be called racists?

TmjUtah said...

I think that Chris Matthew's Freudian slip referring to West Point as "enemy camp" will probably take on a life of its own for the next few news cycles.

Matthews is past annoying and has achieved a fine high pitch of embarrassing.

somefeller said...

The difference here is that the conservatives won't go around finding an excuse to call the troops Nazis or baby killers or anything of the sort.

No, they'll just call Obama that.

elHombre said...

Okay I get it, hating the troops and hating Obama.

No, you still don't get it, but that's pretty common for the lefties who post here.

See, when Freeman says, "They want more troops and no 18 months, and we're outta there timeline," that's pretty much states an issue of substance. It's not about hating anybody.

Beyond your ken, eh?

vbspurs said...

Hillary Clinton in a black pantsuit. Still sending secret messages to the PUMAs then.

Jim Howard said...

I'm as right wing wacko as they come, but I came away thinking that it could have been worse.

It's good he reminded his Party that their political leaders all voted for this war.

The one thing I don't understand is why he didn't go all in with the requested 45,000 person surge?

Does he think that he somehow does not own 100% of the outcome from now on because he went in with only 66.6% of the requirement?

Christy said...

I simply couldn't continue to watch after he said, "We will support Afghan Ministries, Governors, and local leaders that combat corruption and deliver for the people. We expect those who are ineffective or corrupt to be held accountable." Emphasis added by me. Integrity for the Afgans but none for the U.S. ?

Turned it over to watch Much Ado About Nothing -- much better.

miller said...

Plus there's the undercurrent of whining of how bad Bush made things with this icky war - as if we are forcibly holding the MC President in office.

I believe (but I might be wrong) that Bambi ran for this office on his own choice. If he didn't know there was a war in Afghanistan before he was elected, maybe he should have stayed out of the race.

Michael Hasenstab said...

Freeman Hunt said I threw that extra comma in there as a bonus prize. Collect them all.

And you, a novelist!

chuck b. said...

Jason said "Obama hasn't the slightest clue about his audience."

You are wrong about who the audience was. His audience was not West Point, it was moderates watching at home who still like him. West Point was just decoration.

elHombre said...

Master Cylinder wrote: el hombre-you are proving to be more and more uninformed with every comment.
YES! he said he would do this.

You really must broaden your horizons if you're going to dip your oar into other's conversations. Obama's "campaign promises" were not limited to Afghanistan were they?

Freeman Hunt said...

Just now on Twitter:

kathrynlopez: Chris Matthews on Cheney now: the former vice president "jumped out from under his bridge to bite Obama on the ankle"

LOL And I like Cheney a lot.

Peter said...

So we are out of there in 2011. Great.

Someone tell me exactly why anyone in the Armed Service should risk getting hurt or killed over there, then. And tell me why any Afgani should risk anything on the word of Armerica?

I'm not particularly fond of war, I learned that in Viet Nam. Still, fuming over that, 58,000 of my brothers, as well as a few sisters were killed, hundreds of thousand of us were wounded, don't know how many of us suffered from tropical diseases and Agent Orange. We fought, we ended the Viet Cong in '68, then we chased most of the surviving NVA out of the South, then left with the promise of air and naval support, plus plenty of supply promises.

Then the Democrats broke that promise when the North re-invaded.

Now Obama promises the same. Being a Democrat means never trust the word of The United States of America. It was only two million Cambodians and a few hundred thousand Viet Namese, plus the boat people who died at sea or were killed and raped by pirates. Ah, who cares? They were stupid enough to trust America, they deserve to die.

I've hated Democrats ever since the fall of Saigon.

Titus said...

I love kathryn lopez.

Get her out to every college in do some young republican recruitment.

She is hot, fab, has a mind like a wip, can write like no other and would be so good for us.

Go Katey Jo. Love you!

My dream is to go on a NRO cruise and swim with the dolphins with her. Precious.

OldGrouchy Doug Wright said...

This speech from West Point will be known in the history books as Obama's "I" speech. Of course, most of his will be known as "I" speeches too.

I must ask Miss V whether Obama said anything of importance tonight! I fall asleep also but then I'm Scottish and that probably doesn't count.


wv: He "gestes" wildly to the adoring crowd.

Jason said...

The word just went out: Anyone who collaborates with Americans better enjoy the next year or two. Because after 2011 you die.

Chip Ahoy said...

This reminds me of The deflated snowman at Pennsylvania visitor center.

If he's putting Karzai on notice and taking business directly to local-level Afghan governments, that does makes sense to me. Creating at least an appearance of a viable exit strategy also makes sense, for him politically.

My views were deeply influenced by Maj. Jim Gant's (PDF) One Tribe at a Time essay on strategy for success in Afghanistan. While falling far short of restructuring the military to blend in more inconspicuously and with much greater autonomy in decision making, working with the locals completely apart from their so-called central government, which is utterly not trusted outside the capital and an entire world apart, does make sense.

But this post is about Obama's speech, and on that I have zero to say.

edutcher said...

vbspurs said...

Even the trolls will start to bad mouth him when the next Kerry (shudder) comes along.

What, and be called racists?


It'll be OK, Bambi will have been pronounced by Jesse Jackson as being insufficiently black in the same way the good Rev has pronounced anyone of African descent not supporting DemoCare as not really black

somefeller said...

The difference here is that the conservatives won't go around finding an excuse to call the troops Nazis or baby killers or anything of the sort.

No, they'll just call Obama that.


No, dear, that's a lefty, Demo thing; remember LBJ? And you'll be one of those doing it when Murtha or the Dick from Illinois makes it fashionable.

vbspurs said...

I must ask Miss V whether Obama said anything of importance tonight! I fall asleep also but then I'm Scottish and that probably doesn't count.

Oh I forgot about you being Scots, Old Grouchy! (I so miss Simon...a fellow traveller on Althouse, yesteryear).

I'll link to Powerline's Paul for his takedown of tonight's speech. An extract for you, OG:

The president's salesmanship, much of it quite defensive, made for an uninspiring speech. Obama attempted to compensate by closing with a rhetorical bang. But, ever the salesman, he felt compelled to offer something for everyone. First, he expressed his solidarity with the left by patting himself on the back for opposing "torture" and for closing Gitmo (one day).

Then, having gone on forever without receiving applause, Obama finally shifted the speech away from himself and onto his country. He spoke eloquently about how the U.S. has underwritten the security of the world for six decades, without seeking domination, territory, or resources in return.

It was too little, too late as far as I was concerned, but it finally brought Obama applause. Perhaps there's a lesson in this for the president.


I'm more upbeat about the speech tonight, but certainly not about Obama's inanimate delivery which barely masks high distaste in becoming America's most recent war President.

Cheers,
Victoria

somefeller said...

No, dear, that's a lefty, Demo thing; remember LBJ? And you'll be one of those doing it when Murtha or the Dick from Illinois makes it fashionable.

Sounds like you haven't been to a tea party or anti-abortion protest, where both such insults are part of the common parlance. But, if that's the case, good for you, edutcher. In some ways that makes you a better class of conservative than I gave you credit for.

Joe said...

edutcher,

We will NEVER win in Afghanistan. Never. We will just get plenty of Americans killed for no damn reason.

The ONLY reason to stick around is because Pakistan has nukes. The solution: Take them. That's it. We go into Pakistan and take their nukes.

If the Taliban comes back. Easy; we pay some tribal chiefs to take care of them and, if need be, lob a few missiles and drop some bombs. What we don't do is nation building--we suck at it and Afghanistan is a true lost cause.

former law student said...

I don't think those West Point folk liked him too much. He made some pauses that felt awkward in advance of grudging applause, and the response at the end was minimal. The camera searched among the faces and found only grim ones. No one glowed with the fire of Obama-love.

I was surprised there was any applause before the end of the speech. And I can't picture the context where being solemnly reminded of one's responsibilities as an Army officer would make one break into a grin.

Does he have any idea how long it takes to deploy troops?

This was the excuse the French made when the Viet Cong was kicking their butts. You'd think we would have learned something from their (and our) experience.

Here's a clue. When a general asks for 600,000 to invade Iraq, it's probably a good idea to give him about 800,000.

Probably quite doable now, that the economy's in the shitter.

It's completely unrealistic to believe that the Afghan security forces will be able to step up in a few years and take responsibility for fighting the Taliban just because we say so. They're many years away from that level of compentence and motivation.

Maybe we can hire the Taliban to train them. They seem to have gotten quite good fairly quickly.

Typical Republican wussiness, however. Build up the enemy to superherodom in their minds, then waaah waah wahh.

Soldiers who fight for another nation are called "mercenaries." Why don't we hire the French Foreign Legion to fight in Afghanistan?

gbarto said...

Since the dawn of the Great Game, Afghanistan has always been treated as a place for empires to duke it out, and without much regard for the people who actually lived there. After a century or so of this, the Afghans have learned that you don't lay down your life to defend the claim of conquerors that are all too quick to bug out when domestic politics make staying unpleasant.

The only difference between now and a century ago is that Afghanistan is now a wedge between the Wahabbists and the Americans, instead of the British and the Russians. But it's patently clear that now, as then, the fate of the Afghan people is of little concern; all that matters is the frustration of some rival power.

Yes, we must deny al Qaeda a safe-haven. Yes, we must reverse the Taliban's momentum... But unless we commit to staying until the Afghan government is not merely beyond the reach of our enemies but within the reach of the Afghan people as an instrument for protecting their own lands and way of life, we are at our essence no better than the countless other "conquerors" of Afghanistan whose failures in Afghanistan foreshadowed their failure as empires more generally.

In our ventures in Afghanistan and Iraq, we had an opportunity to redeem ourselves for letting the first fall to the Taliban and the second further into the clutches of Saddam. That opportunity is slipping away.

They say that Afghanistan is the place where empires go to die. Generally speaking, the empires in question deserved it. Pray that we do better, but I'm not optimistic.

edutcher said...

somefeller said...

No, dear, that's a lefty, Demo thing; remember LBJ? And you'll be one of those doing it when Murtha or the Dick from Illinois makes it fashionable.

Sounds like you haven't been to a tea party or anti-abortion protest, where both such insults are part of the common parlance.


That's a lie and we both know it. A couple of infiltrators from ACORN or its wholly owned subsidiary, SEIU, do not constitute the conservative populace in this country.

Joe said...

edutcher,

We will NEVER win in Afghanistan. Never. We will just get plenty of Americans killed for no damn reason.


We won in 2001, remember, even though all the good little lefties said we couldn't. If Obama stopped acting like a communist and started acting like an American, we can do it again.

What we don't do is nation building--we suck at it...

You mean like we did in Germany and Japan and South Korea? Or perhaps you're thinking of the Philippines, the only country in the Pacific War to stay loyal to its proprietors?

OldGrouchy Doug Wright said...

Dear friends, we do forget that the only way that Alexander The Pompous won in Afghanistan was to marry the beautiful Roxana thereby securing the support of her father, a major tribal king.

We cannot expect Obama to emulate Alexander in this regard because Michelle would do him grievous harm or even worse.

And since that seems to be the only way for other outsiders to win over the Afghans, perhaps Obama was correct for his administration, in stating his planned surrender on July 4, 2011! Will that event be covered by TV with round-table discussions afterward?

Obama has overlooked that it's possible for the USA to actually win in Afghanistan, if we really tried, even if that does not seem to be of interest to him right now, IMHO.

Lastly, did Obama say anything else of importance during his "I" speech from West Point?

Cheers everyone.

Aurelian said...

FLS

Since your post is devoid of factual data I will correct ONE thing. The Legion is in Afghanistan. Now.

Aurelian said...

We can't hire them because they are the FRENCH Foreign Legion, tho' I like the idea of an American Foreign Legion.

Seven Machos said...

Your Seven Machos here. It's been too long. I disagree that it's possible to win in Afghanistan. There's no securing a state when there's no state. However, the cost of being there is minimal and as long as there are people who want to do us harm there, we have to stay.

The irony is that Obama must support the Afghanistan effort because he campaigned on it even though he and most of his fellow leftists hate this war, like they hate all uses of American power for American interests.

miller said...

"Sounds like you haven't been to a tea party or anti-abortion protest, where both such insults are part of the common parlance."

This is, of course, a tired lie.

miller said...

Well, I see others beat me to the refutation.

miller said...

BTW, what MC President failed to say was "and free ponies and rainbows for everyone!"

I am trying to think how this would sound in FDR's speeches: "Yesterday, December 7th, a day that will live in infamy...and a day we will fight for no more than 4 years; afterwards which we will withdraw to our borders and let the Japs and the Huns have their free rein because we only have the will for a set amount of time, and if we don't win it by then, well, then, that's too bad. And you guys who will sacrifice your lives - hope it doesn't go badly - you wouldn't want your lives to go to waste because your Commander-in-Chief was simply giving a re-election speech."

I don't know what the right answer is on Afghanistan. But saying "we'll fight for another 18 or so months and then we'll leave" just sounds crazy to me. If I were an enemy commander, wouldn't this help me plan my strategy?

sierra said...

Timetable is a stupid idea that's going to get a bunch of people killed, not to mention uninspiring all around. Not exactly a Winston Churchill moment. Also, I get it, Mr. President, you don't like your predecessor, but to go after him for spending An Amount Approaching One Trillion Dollars over most of his two terms on both Iraq and Afghanistan isn't exactly a strong rhetorical point, one year into your presidency.

miller said...

Wasn't there a point in time where Bush stopped blaming Clinton for everything?

Methadras said...

Penny said...

I found this speech very compelling. Particularly when he said this:

"What we have fought for - and 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."


Yes, as long as they go to government for that access and opportunity. Reading between the lines whenever President Barely talks is a full time occupation now. Weak, spineless fool.

Methadras said...

Jason said...

The word just went out: Anyone who collaborates with Americans better enjoy the next year or two. Because after 2011 you die.


Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos says what?

miller said...

"Weak, spineless fool."

Yes, I agree.

With the added benefit that he thinks he's smarter than the market and history.

(I nearly drove off the road in laughter when he mentioned his "concerns" about the $30bn the deployment would cost. THIS FROM A GUY WHOSE SPENDING WILL REACH TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS. I am glad irony is not chocolate cake because I would die in a sugar coma.)

former law student said...

Obama has overlooked that it's possible for the USA to actually win in Afghanistan

For some values of "win."

Have Republicans forgotten the Cold War? Winning back them consisted of not being annihilated. It took all the running we could do to stay in the same place, as LeCarre's book title suggested.

I like the idea of an end date -- if you never set milestones you never achieve them.

former law student said...

"Tools of Mass Destruction".

Is he talking of Elin Woods' Big Bertha?

I think that was a Tool of Glass Destruction.

miller said...

I think he was making an obvious dig at "weapons of mass destruction" -- but I don't understand the reason for the dig. Was he trying to imply he's not using junk data to impose a costly battle?

Then why is he using junk data to impose the Copenhagen decisions?

Why is he using junk data to impose health care?

He really needs a better writer for his teleprompter.

However, props to him for not having a shout-out and for not saying that his speech in front of the cadets was a good photo-op.

OldGrouchy Doug Wright said...

Methadras: Yep, you're correct, lots of folks in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia died after our Congress ran away, surrendered, back in 1975! So glad you brought that up.

Of course, the "Boat People" back then had the sea they could escape to or some even had Thailand to huddle in. Wonder where the Afghans will be able to run to. Pakistan doesn't sound too swift of a safe haven for America's former allies.

Do you think we should outlaw wars which do not have planned surrender dates defined in the declaration of war intent?

David Baker said...

Make no mistake, Obama's presence at West Point was an insult to its history, mission, and purpose.

Synova said...

"For some values of "win.""

Of course.

The thing is that the "rah rah" that some find so distasteful, words like "win" or "victory", involve at least the concept that there is an achievable, realistic, real world goal.

I suppose I ought to read the whole speech at some point but what Althouse quoted involves pretty much context free tactics and if "deny al Qaeda a safe haven" is the ultimate goal... well, I can do it for way way cheaper and they should hire me.

We can easily deny al Qaeda a place there if we chose to do so.

But Bush wasn't willing to simply destroy and deny but set out to remake the region into something we can coexist with. That's why *conceptually* his mission names (Enduring Freedom, etc) were the way they were.

Now, maybe all that is a very bad idea. It's certainly the *harder* thing to do.

Because there is no NEED for us to coexist or find a way to coexist. We can destroy and deny whatever we want to destroy or deny.

If Obama is talking tough about pushing back the Taliban and al Qaeda but has no plan to engage in cultural, economic or political Statesmanship... then we ought to just drop some bombs.

Or maybe just skip it all and go home.

Penny said...

From our President:

"...the AMERICAN PEOPLE were viciously attacked from Afghanistan, and REMAIN A TARGET for those same extremists who are plotting along its border. TO ABANDON this area now - and to rely only on efforts against al Qaeda from a distance - WOULD significantly hamper our ability to keep the pressure on al Qaeda, and CREATE AN UNACCEPTIBLE RISK of additional attacks on our homeland and our allies."

Regardless of the history of Afghanistan, and all the difficulties of being there, this President, nor any other before him, would send young military men and women if it was not to protect this nation, both in the short and long term.

Charges of doing so for "political party reasons" or because of "campaign promises", seems ludicrous.

Deb said...

"America – we are passing through a time of great trial."
Yes we are. It's call the Age of Obama.

Roger J. said...

the sad thing is this: using USMA as a prop will only result int the cadets who fell asleep to get slugged (demerits and area tours). During my cadet days between 1963 and 1967 I sat thru the various officials who came to extol LBJ's Viet Nam strategy--we would rather have been studying for the thermodynamics test the next morning--the end result of all the speeches was that I lost 20% of my classmates in viet nam

I hope the class of 2010 fares better

Roger J. said...

In re Chris Matthews: "West Point as the enemy camp"

What a craven sorry piece of shit--absolutely the worst thing I have ever heard from a commentator whose ability to say sucvh bullshit is secured by the enemies in the camp.

The Drill SGT said...

Skyler said...
Here's a clue. When a general asks for 600,000 to invade Iraq, it's probably a good idea to give him about 800,000. If they ask for only 40,000, it's best to give them 100,000, unless they specifically want fewer. In most cases, that should be a court martial offense.

You don't fight a war like you run a business by minimizing costs to maximize profits. You give it all you can so that you can be sure of the results.


humm. like the Powell Doctrine?

Powell was a politcal general, but he understood that old adage:

Few operations and few demolitions fail due to too many troops or too many explosives

when in doubt apply the Skyler rule.

The Drill SGT said...

You guys need to understand that at this point, West Point is pretty grim, its getting cold and dark, and first term is wrapping up. The joys and relative freedom of a winning football season are about over. Cadets are tired and getting depressed.

Obama could have given them a lift if he had channeled more MacArthur as in:

War's very object is victory, not prolonged indecision. In war there is no substitute for victory.

another example: last month, the Corps of Cadets did go all gaga over a visit by a celebrity. Ross Perot came to receive WP's highest award for Leadership.

Each year, West Point's Association of Graduates honors a patriot whose life's work mirrors the Academy's motto, "Duty, honor, country."

West Point recognized Perot, 79, for his decades of philanthropic work on behalf of the troops and national security.

The Drill SGT said...

The Corps understands the bogus time line of this surge. start sending in forces this Spring and start pulling them out next Spring.

that is of course a plan for defeat.

The Cadets are both realists and Idealists

What could have gotten them on their feet and cheering was a John McCain speech about

Duty, Honor, Country;
The War is gonna be tough;
and we're in it to win it.

now can the war be won?, I have my doubts even with the best leadership and resources, but teling our enemies and the Afghan people that we are going to pull out in 18 months is a plan for certain failure.

To win, Obama needed to project a steady hand and a determination for victory. like a MacArthur, Bush, Churchill, McCain or Henry V

better to cut and run sooner rather than later if ultimate defeat is certain

This plan makes a one term Obama presidency a sure thing

The Drill SGT said...

Althouse, please forgive the big c/p of McCain on the speech:

“The President has made the right decision to embrace a counterinsurgency strategy for Afghanistan and to resource it properly. I think the 30,000 additional U.S. troops that will deploy as part of this mission, plus greater allied commitments, will enable us to reverse the momentum of the insurgency and create the conditions for success in Afghanistan. I support the President’s decision, and I think it deserves the support of all Americans, both Republicans and Democrats.
“What I do not support, and what concerns me greatly, is the President’s decision to set an arbitrary date to begin withdrawing U.S. forces from Afghanistan. A date for withdrawal sends exactly the wrong message to both our friends and our enemies – in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the entire region – all of whom currently doubt whether America is committed to winning this war. A withdrawal date only emboldens Al-Qaeda and the Taliban, while dispiriting our Afghan partners and making it less likely that they will risk their lives to take our side in this fight.
“Success is the real exit strategy. When we have achieved our goals in Afghanistan, our troops should begin to return home with honor, but that withdrawal should be based on conditions on the ground, not arbitrary deadlines. In the days ahead, I will seek to address this and other questions I have about the President’s policy, including my continuing concern about the civilian aspect of our strategy.

bearbee said...

...that is of course a plan for defeat.

The current commander-in-chief is truly, truly, truly an idiot.

The Drill SGT said...

ps: I had not read MCain on the speech when I made the earlier posts, but you just had to know what he was gonna say. The guy is predicatable in this regard.

LoafingOaf said...

I said: Obama refuted the Althouse talking point about the "dithering" by noting that the General's requests did not call for troops to be deployed before 2010.

On MSNBC this morning, General Petraeus was just on, and he totally rejects the talking point about Obama the "ditherer". He declined answering when the MSNBC hosts were trying to prompt him to slam Dick Cheney, but he made clear that he thought the peple pushing that talking point didn't know what they were talking about.

The Drill SGT said...

LoafingOaf said...
On MSNBC this morning, General Petraeus was just on, and he totally rejects the talking point about Obama the "ditherer".


what did you expect? You realize of course that it is grounds for a Court Martial or at least relief to call him a ditherer? MSNBC is smart enough to know that they can only get neutral to favorable Obama quotes from him.

UCMJ ART. 88 - CONTEMPT TOWARD OFFICIALS

Any commissioned officer who uses contemptuous words against the President,...

AllenS said...

You'll have to excuse LoafingOaf, Drill, he's a chickenhawk.

LarsPorsena said...

"On MSNBC this morning, General Petraeus was just on,.....

MSNBC interviews someone from "the enemy camp".

vbspurs said...

Tool of Glass Destruction.

Excellent, FLS.

vbspurs said...

Petreaus was also on Fox, and seemed very punchy today. I would support him with eyes closed if he ran for president, but I do not know he has that Eisenhower-like bonhomie to be president.

Pogo said...

I suppose Obama's speech was inspiring to someone.

vbspurs said...

Make no mistake, Obama's presence at West Point was an insult to its history, mission, and purpose.

Oh come on, David. This reminds me of when Bush went to lay flowers on Gandhi's monument in India, and one of their journalists wrote that it turned his stomach to see this "warmonger" honouring a man of peace.

At some point, we have to lay aside these gut-clenching reactions towards each man. We know who they are, but they can evolve (especially if he hold them accountable).

vbspurs said...

If WE hold them accountable. I'm not sure why I am making all these typographical errors of late. Apologies.

AllenS said...

Anybody catch Chris Matthews latest nonsense? The tingling down is leg, apparently, has been pee.

Paco Wové said...

"You'll have to excuse LoafingOaf, Drill, he's a chickenhawk."

Not really a chickenhawk. Mostly, just gets all tingly-legged re: Obama. Also, Sarah Palin ate his brain last year.

vbspurs said...

OT: Remember the Iraqi journalist shoe-thrower? A fellow journalist returned the favour yesterday.

Look, I understand that showing the sole of feet or shoes is an insult in the region, but throwing shoes seems too effeminate for words. Just throw a belt and some mascara whilst you're at it.

vbspurs said...

Re: Tweety's latest insult. Enemy Camp? That's MSNBC.

Imagine sliming the West Point cadets, some of whom do not know who Paul Wolfowitz is, by practically calling them brainless drones. This is how the political Left truly views the military -- boobs, victims, and bloodthirsty maniacs.

MadisonMan said...

So. Taliban need to mark their calendars, withdraw a bit, and renew their attacks about 17 months from now.

Then what?

Well, I thought the same thing about the Surge in Iraq, which I supported with caution, but withdrawing and waiting doesn't appear to have worked there.

I support this surge as well, although like in Iraq, I do wonder how it will be paid for.

MadisonMan said...

And it's always a good day when you are comment #200!

Pogo said...

Every time Obama speaks, all I can hear is the schoolteacher drone from the old Peanuts cartoons on TV.

Wawa wa wawawa waaaah.

(go to 1:17)

The Drill SGT said...

MadisonMan said...
Well, I thought the same thing about the Surge in Iraq, which I supported with caution, but withdrawing and waiting doesn't appear to have worked there.


The difference was that whether you liked our hated Bush, you and the enemy knew he was committed to victory. Obama? Committed to looking good. But good to whom?

vbspurs said...

Wawa wa wawawa waaaah.

Obama is Miss Othmar? Hehe.

(I looked up the name)

I feel all sad we missed the Peanuts Christmas Special yesterday. But good news! It'll be rescheduled for next week, same time.

LoafingOaf said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LoafingOaf said...

Paco Wové said...
"You'll have to excuse LoafingOaf, Drill, he's a chickenhawk."

really a chickenhawk. Mostly, just gets all tingly-legged re: Obama. Also, Sarah Palin ate his brain last year.

You just had to get your trolling in on me right before the thread hit 200 posts. The Blogger comments way of getting the last word, since hardly anyone knows how to see comments after 200.

I'm giving Obama a fair chance, unlike you. If I ever turn on Obama the way I turned on Bush, it will be based on actual job performance.

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 236   Newer› Newest»