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Live: Obama's West Point Address on Afghanistan


President Obama addresses cadets as he speaks about the war in Afghanistan at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

8:44 p.m. -- Timeline for withdrawal
"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. Taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011."

This is likely to be the most controversial notion in the speech -- that the president can flood the zone with troops, and that in the same breath he can talk about removing them from the country. In a superficial way, it resembles Bush's surge in Iraq, but Bush was truly limited by troop availability and thus even if he wanted to keep them longer it would have been difficult.

Obama is careful to offer a caveat -- "we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground" -- but that date is likely to linger in viewers' minds. This administration has had real trouble meeting deadlines -- witness the difficulty with closing the detainee facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba -- so it will be interesting to see how much of an albatross this date becomes.
--Glenn Kessler

Obama's timeline for the start of a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan is likely to stir some concerns in military circles, even though the pace of that eventual drawdown remains vague. Many in the military will recall how both in Iraq and Afghanistan previous predictions about the need for fewer troops proved overly optimistic and destabilizing when drawdowns were undertaken without regard for deteriorating security.

In addition, some U.S. military officers may worry that the Obama timeline, while a warning to the Karzai government, could also encourage Taliban insurgents who seek simply to outlast the military offensive.
--Ann Scott Tyson


8:40 p.m. -- Parsing the cost
"Our new approach in Afghanistan is likely to cost us roughly 30 billion dollars for the military this year, and I will work closely with Congress to address these costs as we work to bring down our deficit."

Administration officials say this short-term troop increase will be paid for through a supplemental appropriation--something Obama had said he would not do and a practice which Democrats had heavily criticized during the Bush years. Republicans are content to simply let it paid through deficit spending, but some leading Democrats are talking about a tax or a surcharge that would fall heavily on the most wealthy. Expect a big fight on this question.
--Glenn Kessler


8:35 p.m. -- The logistics of deployment
The president wants the 30,000 additional troops to begin deploying in early 2010 and arrive at the "fastest pace possible." But getting all those troops to Afghanistan by mid-2010 will be a huge challenge for the military.

In addition to identifying and preparing additional units for deployment, the Pentagon faces an enormous logistical challenge in moving troops and their supplies to Afghanistan. Because the country is land-locked, everything has to arrive by air or by ship and then be moved by truck through Pakistan. Shipping goods from the United States to forward-operating bases in Helmand province is a journey that can take weeks.

Then there is the challenge of housing the new troops. Unlike in Iraq, there are no unused military installations in Afghanistan into which the new forces can move. Combat engineers and contractors will have to construct and expand existing military facilities, which could take months.
--Rajiv Chandrasekaran

8:31 p.m. -- Point, counterpoint
"I recognize that there are a range of concerns about our approach. So let me briefly address a few of the prominent arguments that I have heard, which I take very seriously."

This is an effective section, laying out the case against worries that Afghanistan is another Vietnam, that the U.S. can keep going with the current troop level, and that there should be no exit strategy. The president is talking to several audiences here -- first, Democrats who want to quit the war, then doubters in his own administration (such as Vice President Biden) and finally Republicans who dislike deadlines for exiting a war.

Quoting Eisenhower is a nice touch--he doesn't often get cited in presidential speeches, but he was an ex-general skeptical of military demands and a fiscal conservative.
--Glenn Kessler


8:26 p.m. -- Does this deployment amount to a surge?
In deciding to add 30,000 troops in Afghanistan, is President Obama about to oversee a "surge"?

Based on advanced text of the speech, Obama will not use the 's' word to describe his military escalation during his speech tonight. But he did advocate a "civilian surge," and a senior administration official used the word "surge" - a loaded term that defined President Bush's escalation in Iraq, which Obama fiercely opposed - to describe the new policy in explaining it to reporters earlier today.

"The concept that he'll describe is to surge American forces to do several things," the senior official said, speaking on anonymity according to the ground rules laid by the White House. "He will also announce that this surge, if you will, will be for a defined period of time."

Obama has used Iraq as a frequent counterpoint, arguing once more that it had been a distraction from the Afghan front - and reminding the audience that he had opposed invading Iraq "precisely because I believe that we must exercise restraint in the use of military force, and always consider the long-term consequences of our actions." But he also welcomed an Iraq comparison in one respect - saying he would oversee a withdrawal from Afghanistan as, he said, he has done in Iraq. "Just as we have done in Iraq, we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground," Obama said.
--Anne Kornblut


8:23 p.m. -- America's war?
"Of course, this burden is not ours alone to bear. This is not just America's war. Since 9/11, al Qaeda's safe-havens have been the source of attacks against London and Amman and Bali.... Because this is an international effort, I have asked that our commitment be joined by contributions from our allies. Some have already provided additional troops, and we are confident that there will be further contributions in the days and weeks ahead. Our friends have fought and bled and died alongside us in Afghanistan. Now, we must come together to end this war successfully. For what's at stake is not simply a test of NATO's credibility - what's at stake is the security of our Allies, and the common security of the world. "

These are likely lines from Obama's many conversations with world leaders -- especially from NATO countries -- in recent days seeking additional troops. But so far it is not clear how much success he has had. Britain has offered up just 500 troops, but French officials have made it pretty clear no more troops are coming. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Brussels on Thursday to help make the case with NATO allies.
--Glenn Kessler


8:22 p.m. -- Fact checking Obama on 2010 deployments
"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."

This is technically true, but it is also the case that McChrystal's September report insisted that reinforcements were needed as quickly as possible to arrest the decline in Afghanistan and shift the momentum away from the Taliban. McChrystal has since said that he supports the policy review that the Obama administration conducted.

In addition, Gen. David McKiernan had made a request for an additional 10,000 U.S. troops that technically did not go before President Obama because it was not forwarded to him by the Pentagon -- but the request existed and was referred to by Gen. McChrystal in his report.
--Greg Jaffe and Ann Scott Tyson


8:20 p.m. -- Fact checking Obama on troop requests
"Commanders in Afghanistan repeatedly asked for support to deal with the reemergence of the Taliban, but these reinforcements did not arrive. That's why, shortly after taking office, I approved a long-standing request for more troops."

Both of General Stanley A. McChrystal's predecessors asked for additional troops from the Bush administration. In spring 2009, Gen. David McKiernan asked for additional troops and received about 21,000. He also wanted about 10,000 additional forces in early 2010, but the decision on those troops was deferred. McKiernan was fired from his command a few months later.
--Greg Jaffe


8:15 p.m. -- Obama's history lesson
President Obama took an unusual tack with the start of his speech -- a lengthy description of the war's history and the connection between the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and the war now being waged in Afghanistan.

As is so often his custom, Obama used the moment to regret partisan divisions. He said that the debate over Iraq had "created a highly polarized and partisan backdrop," and called for the citizenry to stop being "split asunder by the same rancor and cynicism and partisanship that has in recent times poisoned our national discourse." But the very timeline he laid out seemed destined to be seen forever through a political lens, with new troops arriving just before the congressional midterms in 2010, and starting to draw down at the outset of the next presidential election cycle the following summer.

While the recollection of the start of the war is reminiscent of former president George W. Bush, Obama's recounting of the the votes in Congress and the support of the United Nations and NATO is clearly an effort to reestablish the legitimacy of the enterprise--something Bush rarely felt he needed to do.

The president skipped lightly over Iraq, and the fact that the surge he opposed as a senator helped set the stage for the drawdown of troops in Iraq that he celebrates. Instead, he faulted Bush for the situation he confronts in Afghanistan: "while we have achieved hard-earned milestones in Iraq, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated."

It's interesting the president feels the need to recount this history at such length, almost as if he is trying to escape the moniker of "Obama's war."
--Glenn Kessler and Anne Kornblut


7:35 p.m. President Obama will culminate a months-long review of Afghanistan strategy tonight with a prime-time speech from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The president is expected to announce an accelerated deployment of 30,000 additional U.S. troops to the region and set July 2011 as the date when he will begin withdrawing forces after nearly a decade of war.

Washington Post reporters who have been covering the war and the president's deliberations will be your guides to the action, offering live analysis and fact-checking starting at 8 p.m.

By Post Editors  |  December 1, 2009; 7:16 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , National Security  
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Next: Obama's Afghan policy speech at West Point

Comments

Keep in mind that I don't get to decide which military orders are legal or illegal. That is up to each individual serviceman and woman. An order which is unlawful not only does not need to be obeyed, but obeying such an order can result in criminal prosecution of the one who obeys it. Military courts have long held that military members are accountable for their actions even while following orders -- if the order was illegal -- luckily, the Roberts Court will be the ultimate legal arbitor in such a case. If you are seriously interested in how to determine whether a military order is "illegal" or not, start here:

http://www.law.duke.edu/shell/cite.pl?13+Duke+J.+Comp.+&+Int'l+L.+389

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

For any serviceman or woman (friends and family) who want to prevent their deployment under an illegal order, the time to challenge is NOW. Don't wait until you get the actual deployment order, or it will be argued by Obama's DOJ that you accepted other "illegal" orders and simply don't want to fight.

http://www.orlytaitzesq.com

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Paul:

Dr. Orly Taitz (not Tavitz) has successfully prevented deployment of at least two service members. I understand you'd rather not debate whether the purported Commander-in-Chief is giving legal orders to the military, so why don't you try ANY of the points above or even just one of Michael Moore's points?

http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mikes-letter/open-letter-president-obama-michael-moore

Posted by: JakeD | December 2, 2009 8:28 AM | Report abuse

And while you're at it, Google Orly Tavitz.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 2, 2009 12:17 AM | Report abuse

After reading most of the comments, it is pathetic to read the rantings and ravings of fools who neither bother to pay attention to the past, present or future....

Of course, these same fools will read my words and believe that it applies to the other guy....

God help this country

Posted by: abbydelabbey | December 1, 2009 11:51 PM | Report abuse

After three month of dithering we get rambling nonsense from Obama? He intends to recreate the Vietnam disaster.

"I Obama will supply 30,000 troops as Kanonenfutter to Afghanistan".

Posted by: west129 | December 1, 2009 11:50 PM | Report abuse

The new war president, Obama, went to West Point and described a Vietnam-style military approach, a plan to exit, not achieve victory. It took Obama almost a year of transcendental meditation to develop his so-called "plan."

Posted by: mock1ngb1rd | December 1, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

arancia12:

If you don't believe me, then search Google yourself.

"Obama's paternal grandmother" "birth certificate"

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2009 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Ah, JakeD is as happy as a pig in slop with a new venue for the birther arguement. Yawn....

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 1, 2009 10:40 PM | Report abuse


It’s becoming difficult to find any objective reporting of the truth, or any actual truth coming from the White House or most in Congress. Taxpayers deserve better from their Fourth Estate and from their politicians.

http://pacificgatepost.com/2009/12/transforming-perceptions-of-reality.html

Posted by: JamesRaider | December 1, 2009 10:31 PM | Report abuse

No matter how much he and Michael Moore hate it this is and has been since the first Obama surge at the beginning of the year Obama's war. Interestingly enough, considering the fairly large number of casulties lately, you really don't see that reflected in the front pages of the news papers. The same news papers that put each and every Irag and Afganistan U.S. Military casulty on their front pages and endlessly whined about not being able to take pictures of flag draped coffins coming back home. I don't see any pictures of flag draped coffins even though the press is now allowed to take those pictures now. Perhaps the interest went away when Bush went away.

Posted by: RobT1 | December 1, 2009 9:58 PM | Report abuse

Dear President Obama,

After we Dismantle, destroy, and defeat Al Queda, can we dismantle, destroy, and deafeat the Right Wing Red Necks in America??? Please, please, please!!!!!

Posted by: Julescator | December 1, 2009 9:47 PM | Report abuse

Obama haters out in force!

Pro Counsel . . if you can't figure out the difference between WW II and Afghanistan, god help you.

Arancia12 . . . you are obviously used to seeing Bush/Cheney, McCain/Palin rallies that are 100% populated by fervent supporters high on political bs.

And to the rest, can you really not understand that the President is targeting 2011 as a withdraw date including the KEY PHRASE "depending on conditions on the ground" as cover for a lengthier stay as needed? This was as much a message to the Afghan government as to our nation.

Posted by: delantero | December 1, 2009 9:45 PM | Report abuse

WashPo reporters fact-checking?! Bwhahah!

Posted by: aevans11 | December 1, 2009 9:44 PM | Report abuse

arancia12:

George W. Bush's paternal grandmother never stated that he was born in Kenya, that's for sure.

IMPEACH TODAY! IMPEACH NOW! DO NOT WAIT ANOTHER SINGLE MINUTE! Flush Washington now and hope that Obama, Pelosi and Reid won't clog the tolet!

Posted by: JakeD
________________

JakeD, neither did President Obama's. Where did you hear that fairytale, Glenn Beck?

Impeach JakeD!!

Posted by: arancia12 | December 1, 2009 9:31 PM | Report abuse

What a weird speech by a guy in a big empty suit. Sometimes the disconnect is so great you'd believe he wasn't born in this country.

Posted by: georgejones5 | December 1, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

No.

Posted by: JakeD
_______________

As he stamped his little feet and pouted....

Posted by: arancia12 | December 1, 2009 9:29 PM | Report abuse

By the time the troops he is sending get to afghanistan they will only have 12 months before they start leaving again with no directive to win the war.

They will understandabley do everything they can to not make contact and serve the 12 months and go home in one peice. Obama has laid out a stategy for defeat.

Posted by: robtr | December 1, 2009 9:22 PM | Report abuse

"It was interesting to read the faces and the body language of the cadets. The can tell a faker and someone who is clueless. Very weak reception. Posted by: MKadyman"

The faces I saw were disciplined cadets, getting a very difficult assignment, and realizing that the upper classmen will be part of the expeditionary forces carrying out his orders in Afghanistan. Of course they were serious. This is DEADLY serious, especially for them. Perhaps in some quiet auditorium you once sat in stern silence as some commander or other tasked you with combat responsibilities. Perhaps you had the chance to reflect on your mortality, and consider the grave responsibility you had undertaken. I have.

Cold, no, just deeply concerned.

Why is it that all those war hawks who have been screaming for war are now so critical of the man who has accepted as necessary this particular war?

Where is even one good Republican voice saying, "Gary Owen!" or "Curahee!"

All I hear is, "Sky up and purple out!"

Pretty much as I expected.

Posted by: ceflynline | December 1, 2009 9:20 PM | Report abuse

I must commend the West Point Cadets. Those that watched the CNN live coverage saw that they were given specific instructions on audience protocol on how to react to a presidential speech. They were instructed to applaud to references to references to military service. They were reminded that they are the instruments of policy and not the deciders of policy so they were not to react to anything political in nature.

As far as I could see, they executed their instructions with great precision. To draw any further inference from their reaction to the speech is clearly invalid.

Posted by: DrS1 | December 1, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

"It was weird - the speech - keeping up Bush's policy of attacking al queda - but then we are going to stop doing that in 18 months."

The concept is called "win the war."

It may take longer or even could be shorter - but that is a good estimate.

The idea tht wars are "forever" or we give up now, is a cruel trick of propaganda. Ignore it.

We win or lose.

That is how it is.

Posted by: gary4books | December 1, 2009 9:18 PM | Report abuse

"It is almost as if he believes that the American people do not remember the connection between the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks or the war now being waged in Afghanistan."

I tend to agree. But I see so many who think a "killer retort" is to ask "Why are we in Afghanistan?"

OK. He told you again. Try to remember.

Posted by: gary4books | December 1, 2009 9:12 PM | Report abuse

No.

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2009 9:10 PM | Report abuse

For Heaven's sake, JakeD. Is it past your bedtime? Give your ideas and yourself a rest.

Posted by: MillPond2 | December 1, 2009 9:09 PM | Report abuse

The headline of this article is a lie. It is not a "fact check" at all. Each of the responses were opinions on what was said. No investigation, verification or contradiction of any "facts" are made in this article.

Posted by: tbaxter | December 1, 2009 9:06 PM | Report abuse

The Washington Post is "fact checking." Now that's funny...

Posted by: geezjan | December 1, 2009 9:05 PM | Report abuse

It was weird - the speech - keeping up Bush's policy of attacking al queda - but then we are going to stop doing that in 18 months.

Where is the transparency? He doesn't want to fight the war.


He does not want to carry out his duties as Commander in Chief.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 1, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

One shouldn't poke the vipers. It only proves they're full of venom.

Great speech. Feels good to have purpose of action again.

Posted by: trident420 | December 1, 2009 9:03 PM | Report abuse

arancia12:

George W. Bush's paternal grandmother never stated that he was born in Kenya, that's for sure.

IMPEACH TODAY! IMPEACH NOW! DO NOT WAIT ANOTHER SINGLE MINUTE! Flush Washington now and hope that Obama, Pelosi and Reid won't clog the tolet!

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

The bulk of the people on this comments page seem rabidly delusional or juvenile.

From childish, off-topic, partisan taunts to birth-certificate conspiracy theories, pages like this force one to remember that the vast majority of Americans are too smart to waste their lives attacking each other online.

Posted by: Akger117 | December 1, 2009 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Obama tonight in his speech said this country "is not as innocent" as when FDR was President.


Here we have it again.


The OBAMA at West Point TAKING A SWIPE AT THE COUNTRY


I AM TOTALLY SICK OF OBAMA PUTTING OUR COUNTRY DOWN.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 1, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

disrupt, dismantle, defeat al-qaeda

obama promised.a vital national interest, he said, the terrorists have planned attacks on usa.

but see obama does not understand, any vital national interest demands VICTORY- not just 18 months, whichever comes first

the tension in the speech was overpowering. the silence due to the lack of applause from the regimented cadets, combined with their startling youth, and the deadly seriousness of the war was almost unendurable.

you looked at the cadets and saw not them but your kids and grandkids.

and you prayed obama would just not foul up....

Posted by: ProCounsel | December 1, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

It was interesting to read the faces and the body language of the cadets. The can tell a faker and someone who is clueless. Very weak reception.

Posted by: MKadyman | December 1, 2009 8:56 PM | Report abuse

In addition, you are free to view GWB's original birth certificate -- including the DOCTOR'S SUGNATURE -- why won't Obama release his?

http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/tslac/40090/tsl-40090.html

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

I never said it was a hostile audience. Just not as "over the top" as the commander in chief is accustomed to when he can stack the audience, as he usually does. Of course, there are supporters within the ranks of West Point as with the military as a whole. But there was very little energy in the room. The bulk of the people there know he is a poser...

And why did it take him three months to deliver 2/3 of what was requested of him to begin with? From someone who is an authority , handpicked by him?!

Posted by: sander1


It wasn't over the top because it was a formal and somber occasion. One does not cheer wildly when the President is about to make such a serious decision that will likely cause the death of someone in that room.

They did crowd around to shake his hand afterwards, or did you miss that?

Why take so long to make a decision? Do you make serious decisions quickly? I know I consider them and think about them, I know I would think long and hard and get lots of advice before I told people I was going to continue an ignored war that may cost them their lives.

Posted by: arancia12 | December 1, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

To me there are a couple of key realities. One is the history of Afghanistan and the adjacent regions of Pakistan in resisting foreign and even national control. The other is the fact that there are many weakly governed places in the world. It is not likely that we will ever do more in Afghanistan and Pakistan than succeeding in some level of containment of their problems. But if we somehow do find a way to bring real stability to the region, al-Qaeda and their fellow travelers will just find somewhere else to go. Of course, the other reality is that we will not be able to evaluate the President's performance until 2012. If this surge is a last chance offered to the Afghanis to make the best of our help, it could be a good step towards a withdrawl with some sense of accomplishment. But, if it is a committment to do what it takes to remake the Afghani's in our image, when the results have to be faced in 2012 they probably will be disappointing.

Posted by: dnjake | December 1, 2009 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Too bad you never thought to challenge Bush's birth certificate then.

Posted by: JakeD
________________

I challenged his intelligence but realized that he was fully vetted and checked before running for office. Just as Obama was.

You have as much proof that Barack Obama was not born in the US as you have the George w. Bush was...which is none.

Posted by: arancia12 | December 1, 2009 8:50 PM | Report abuse

I never said it was a hostile audience. Just not as "over the top" as the commander in chief is accustomed to when he can stack the audience, as he usually does. Of course, there are supporters within the ranks of West Point as with the military as a whole. But there was very little energy in the room. The bulk of the people there know he is a poser...

And why did it take him three months to deliver 2/3 of what was requested of him to begin with? From someone who is an authority , handpicked by him?!

Posted by: sander1 | December 1, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

Too bad you never thought to challenge Bush's birth certificate then.

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2009 8:48 PM | Report abuse

IMPEACH TODAY! IMPEACH NOW! DO NOT WAIT ANOTHER SINGLE MINUTE! Flush Washington now and hope that Obama, Pelosi and Reid won't clog the tolet!

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2009 8:46 PM | Report abuse

Too bad there wasn't even one brave Cadet to shout "You lie!".

Posted by: JakeD
____________

They have decency, honor, and manners, something you never met.

Posted by: arancia12 | December 1, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

as long as we squat on Saudi Arabia we are asking to get bit in the behind by desert scorpions.

Islam demands them to attack infidels in the their holy land ever since the start of Islam.

why are we there - to protect US strategic oil interests?

we could have built the best electric car factories in the world for 1 trillion dollars and started a newtech revolution with more jobs.

No published report who wants to keep their job dares tell the real truth. America (freedom of speech)is dead!

Posted by: ryan_heart | December 1, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

anarcia12:

At least GWB was born in the United States.

Posted by: JakeD
____________

JakeD, have you seen Bush's birth certificate? Then you simply don't know that he was born in the US.

Posted by: arancia12 | December 1, 2009 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Too bad there wasn't even one brave Cadet to shout "You lie!".

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2009 8:42 PM | Report abuse

Some of you obviously don't listen. President Obama did not talk about "victory." He spoke about success and that means providing the Afghanistani government the opportunity they had almost eight years ago, to have enough stability to establish a working government.

That does not mean we stay forever. Obama is not talking about nation building as George W. Bush did (remember he campaigned saying he would never nation build?) We owe them the chance that Bush blew. We owe them that and then we must leave.

We can't afford to fight there forever and Afghanistan, like Iraq, needs to stand up and support itself. If they aren't ready to take the baton, too bad. We can't stay indefinitely and the President has laid down the law. Afghanistan and Karzai need to step up to the plate. Those of you who think we should waste our national treasure in this country until some nebulous "victory" is achieved are just plain wrong.

By the way, I see a lot of cadets fighting to shake the President's hand. They seem to respect him and want to congratulate him. That must gall some you.

Posted by: arancia12 | December 1, 2009 8:41 PM | Report abuse

sander1:

Amen!

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2009 8:40 PM | Report abuse

anarcia12:

At least GWB was born in the United States.

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

How fitting. He wanted to showboat at West Point and he was given a tepid response, at best. These are our best and brightest and they know he is not...

Posted by: sander1 | December 1, 2009 8:39 PM | Report abuse

By the way who did his make-up? Think he needs a make-up czar! The next cover girl? Look out Ellen Obama wants your job too!

Posted by: shw627 | December 1, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Biggest jerk in American history! Sure tell the enemy where, when, how and how long! Why NOT tell the enemy where we store all the weapons too! Lots of troops, MAYBE, after Xmas, after additional training, after we pull more from Iraq. This piece of trash is NOT my commander and chief! This piece of human garbage in NOT MY PRESIDENT! IMPEACH TODAY! IMPEACH NOW! DO NOT WAIT ANOTHER SINGLE MINUTE! Flush Washington now and hope that Obama, Pelosi and Reid won't clog the tolet!

Posted by: shw627 | December 1, 2009 8:32 PM | Report abuse

Obama to announce tonight that the first US troops will start to be withdrawn by July 2011.

Do you think this has anything to do with his reelection campaign will be the following year? Nothing? Maybe a little bit? If the answer is anything but an unequivocal NO then it's a sad commentary on our leader and tears to be shed by families of our military.

Whatever happened to what he called "War of Necessity"? If it is a War of Necessity, doesn't that mean we need to win it regardless of the calendar? Does this mean it's only a War of Necessity for a short period of time then it defaults to a "War of Choice"? If so, why?

How do you think the Taliban/al Qa'idah will react to their enemy telling them they are leaving on a certain date? Do you think this is an advantage for the enemy? How will a known end date affect American military personnel in Afghanistan now? Remember this question: "Who wants to be the last man shot in a wrong war?'- Sen John Kerry... Don't be surprised if the US military in Afghanistan starts to act very cautiously.

Posted by: mipost1 | December 1, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

Vietnam, should remind conservatives that whenever you put your faith in Big Government for many reason, sooner or later, you wind up an apologist for mass murder..Karl Hess. Mr. Obama, if you are such a kid, you should have not taken this big responsibility as a president of United States.

Posted by: mohammadshahid | December 1, 2009 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Well, arancia12, we will have to agree to disagree on how "legally elected" he is.

Posted by: JakeD
________________

Well, JakeD, he's as legally elected as George W. Bush was.

Posted by: arancia12 | December 1, 2009 8:26 PM | Report abuse

Well, arancia12, we will have to agree to disagree on how "legally elected" he is.

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2009 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Too bad, Glenn Kessler, this is "Obama's war" like it or not. Even Michael Moore has admitted it!

http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mikes-letter/open-letter-president-obama-michael-moore

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2009 8:19 PM | Report abuse

JakeD, you have the right to say President Obama is not your President.

As a 24 year veteran of the military allow me to say...you are not my countryman. You are anathema to the strength of the US.

I am disgusted that my comrades in arms provide you with security since by denouncing the legally elected President you show your lack of support for the United States and its Constitution.

Posted by: arancia12 | December 1, 2009 8:17 PM | Report abuse

JakeD -

"What's different about this" is that the president is proposing it. That's all.

____________________

Obviously you too failed to notice that President Obama, as a candidate, said he would withdraw troops from Iraq and would send them to Afghanistan. He always said Afghanistan was the right war to prosecute.

That you are asking this question now shows your lack of attention.

The real question is how does President Obama's plan differ from what he proposed when running for office? Well, the recession for one thing. The ground truth for another.

McCain lost. Get over it.

Posted by: arancia12 | December 1, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

"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."

I don't believe in fairy tales.

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2009 8:11 PM | Report abuse

You mean "pResident" right?

Announcing the date we will pull out is a "strategy" to bring this war to a successful conclusion FOR THE ENEMY!!!

We ALL remember that America was indeed UNITED back on 9/11 when the last legal PRESIDENT was in office. Obama, YOU are not my PRESIDENT, and I will never "unite" behind you.

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

LOVE...LOVE...LOVE...THIS PRESIDENT!!

Posted by: Hheeaatt | December 1, 2009 8:03 PM | Report abuse

JakeD -

"What's different about this" is that the president is proposing it. That's all.

Posted by: BarrySchatz | December 1, 2009 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Besides the long, long delay, what is different between this and what McCain promised during the campaign? McCain also pointed to a lack of “unity of command” in Afghanistan: “Too often, even as American soldiers and diplomats cooperate in the field, their superiors back home have been squabbling."

In July 2008, McCain outlined his “comprehensive strategy for victory in Afghanistan,” which included an immediate and additional three combat brigades to Afghanistan. He later indicated that he would even call on NATO to provide some of those troops.

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

a trillion dollars would have built the best electric car factories in the world - the usa must think twice before any more oil wars please.

al queda attacked us because our army is sitting in Saudi Arabia. anybody who thinks Afghanistan is the solution is a simple minded war loving psychopath.

Posted by: ryan_heart | December 1, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Does West Point allow men to wear purple lipstick?

Posted by: Atenora | December 1, 2009 7:55 PM | Report abuse

when obama promises a definite withdrawal date tonight of July 2011

does president pelosi get to keep the white flag from Obama???

Posted by: ProCounsel | December 1, 2009 7:51 PM | Report abuse

You mean "pResident" Obama, right?

Posted by: JakeD | December 1, 2009 7:49 PM | Report abuse

tonight obama will promote a failed policy of announcing a withdrawal date for troops BEFORE they are deployed

obama is programmed to say tonight:

“Taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011.”

obama, westpoint december 1, 2009--

obama--failed policy-failed leadership

Posted by: ProCounsel | December 1, 2009 7:46 PM | Report abuse

surrender quotes that were NEVER uttered

“Taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to French forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Germany in July of 1944.” -President Franklin Roosevelt, promising a definite troop withdrawal date from Nazi Germany in WW2 regardless of the combat reality.

failed policy quotes that WERE uttered:

“Taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011.”

obama, westpoint december 1, 2009--

obama--failed policy-failed leadership

Posted by: ProCounsel | December 1, 2009 7:41 PM | Report abuse

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