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What was Obama's Oval Office address about, exactly?

Excuse me, but what was President Obama’s Oval Office speech about?

Was it about Iraq, as we were led to expect, or was it about Afghanistan, as we were not led to expect? Was it about the economy, which the president mentioned, or education, which he also mentioned? Could it have been directed at Iraqis, whom the president praised in terms they would not have recognized, or was it about our troops, whom the president praised over and over again -- a kind of rhetorical tick that suggested he had run out of things to say? As a speech, Obama delivered a version of the pudding once served Winton Churchill. “Pray, remove it,” he supposedly said. “It lacks theme.”

An Oval Office speech is supposed to be an important event. This was only Obama’s second, after all, and if he asks us all to interrupt our schedules and listen to what he has to say, then he at least ought to say something. In this, he dismally failed. We knew that American has ended its combat role in Iraq. We knew that Iraq had been turned over to the Iraqis. We knew our troops are brave, that they have sacrificed much and that over 4,000 of them had died. This is all worth saying -- but not saying and saying and saying.

Obama did have his moment. He extended a hand to his predecessor, George W. Bush, and he said it was “time to turn the page.” This was Obama at his most generous, and it was a theme of his that deserves praise. As a nation, we suffer a kind of slow arsenic poisoning from toxic partisanship. But the best he could say about Bush is that he, too, loved the troops and his country. This I, for one, never doubted. But these are also the qualities of a Boy Scout -- nice, but not quite presidential. Bush was a dismal president.

The love of troops has become the mindless trope of our times. It squelches both thought and criticism. And while the troops do deserve support, surely the best way to support them is to make sure that they are used wisely. This was not the case in Iraq, and Tuesday the president did not convince that it is in the case in Afghanistan. This was a bad speech, lacking both content and emotional wallop. The best that can be said for it is that it suited the Iraq war itself. Like the war, it should not have been undertaken.

By Richard Cohen  | August 31, 2010; 9:18 PM ET
Categories:  Cohen  | Tags:  Richard Cohen  
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Next: Obama's Oval Office speech was good, but the gravitas was great

Comments

"The love of troops has become the mindless trope of our times. It squelches both thought and criticism. And while the troops do deserve support, surely the best way to support them is to make sure that they are used wisely."

Gee Dick, before Obama took the oath of office, you were all 'gung ho' for the troops; now you magically turn anti-military.

Typical Republican. No wonder Republicans were voted out in droves. It's a good thing people won't forget the damage that Bush did to this country; all of their Obama bashing won't turn them into Republitraitors.

Posted by: camera_eye_11 | August 31, 2010 9:38 PM | Report abuse

The speach was a demonstration in leadership and humility, moron.

Pull your head out of Glenn Becks arse and take a look around once and a while.

The media and the GOP are made for each other because they both exist entirely on conflict.

Dear God - return us to the age of journalism.

Posted by: mmax | August 31, 2010 9:39 PM | Report abuse

Another wonderful photo-op with acting that would win an oscar or something. Talk about zero defects.............

Posted by: GordonShumway | August 31, 2010 9:41 PM | Report abuse

I'll keep it short and simple. Cohen, you are one dumb a$$ man.

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Posted by: ssdfknwefo | August 31, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

You are laughable, Mr. Cohen. Really, aren't you ready to disagree NO MATTER what the President would have said, did or not did. You are amazingly transparent and obvious. Time to call it quits? Me thinks so.

Posted by: Genefox1 | August 31, 2010 9:48 PM | Report abuse

I think the purpose of the Presidents speech is to make clear what the current missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the USA are. If I was listening to the same speech that Mr. Cohen was, then we both heard the President say that in Iraq we're going to train and advise Iraqis instead of hunt for terrorists, in Afghanistan we're going to work harder hunting terrorists instead of the former half assed way, and in the United States we're going to make jobs not immigration reform. And also many 'thank you's to our heros and their families. How did you miss the themes (plural) Cohen?

Posted by: wakeuptime | August 31, 2010 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Tonight marks the end of the American combat mission in Iraq.

As a candidate for this office, I pledged to end this war responsibly. And, as President, that is what I am doing.

Since I became Commander-in-Chief, we've brought home nearly 100,000 U.S. troops. We've closed or turned over to Iraq hundreds of our bases.

As Operation Iraqi Freedom ends, our commitment to a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq continues. Under Operation New Dawn, a transitional force of U.S. troops will remain to advise and assist Iraqi forces, protect our civilians on the ground, and pursue targeted counterterrorism efforts.

By the end of next year, consistent with our agreement with the Iraqi government, these men and women, too, will come home.

Ending this war is not only in Iraq's interest -- it is in our own. Our nation has paid a huge price to put Iraq's future in the hands of its people. We have sent our men and women in uniform to make enormous sacrifices. We have spent vast resources abroad in the face of several years of recession at home.

We have met our responsibility through the courage and resolve of our women and men in uniform.

In seven years, they confronted a mission as challenging and as complex as any our military has ever been asked to face.

Nearly 1.5 million Americans put their lives on the line. Many returned for multiple tours of duty, far from their loved ones who bore a heroic burden of their own. And most painfully, more than 4,400 Americans have given their lives, fighting for people they never knew, for values that have defined our people for more than two centuries.

What their country asked of them was not small. And what they sacrificed was not easy.

For that, each and every American owes them our heartfelt thanks.

Our promise to them -- to each woman or man who has donned our colors -- is that our country will serve them as faithfully as they have served us. We have already made the largest increase in funding for veterans in decades. So long as I am President, I will do whatever it takes to fulfill that sacred trust.

Tonight, we mark a milestone in our nation's history. Even at a time of great uncertainty for so many Americans, this day and our brave troops remind us that our future is in our own hands and that our best days lie ahead.

Thank you,

President Barack Obama

Posted by: Genefox1 | August 31, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

The speech was not his best for certain but the fact that he did indeed bring the end of the Iraq war forward and is thus not sacrificing greater number of our heroes for a lie war is a great promise being kept. Nough said even though I really wish he had kept any goodness towards Dubya the liar who has caused the death of hundreds of thousands for no good reason out of it. He is a better man than me and Gunga Di.

Posted by: jbento | August 31, 2010 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Pure tripe written by Cohen. At least he was better than McCain on Hannity saying we won and Obama should have said we will win in Afghanistan (he did "based on conditions on the ground"). Thankfully McCain did not win for us, and for him (the strain would probably kill him making Palin POTUS perish the thought).

Posted by: jameschirico | August 31, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

"Gee Dick, before Obama took the oath of office, you were all 'gung ho' for the troops; now you magically turn anti-military.

Typical Republican. No wonder Republicans were voted out in droves. It's a good thing people won't forget the damage that Bush did to this country; all of their Obama bashing won't turn them into Republitraitors.

Posted by: camera_eye_11"

Don't be a carnival mark. Both the Democrats and the Republicans are all neo-cons. If anyone believes this is the end of combat operations in the Middle East, let alone Iraq, they have no blood in their brain.

Posted by: garrafa10 | August 31, 2010 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Let's get a few things straight here.

Obama never supported the war in Iraq which he repeated in this speech. He is on record scorching the surge and insisting no outside country can win a war of civil discord inside another country. He voted against funding the Iraq war. So in his mind we should have pulled out of Iraq many years ago because the plan was deeply flawed.

Well the surge did work. Obama was deeply flawed in his thinking and to this day won't admit he was wrong. That failing represents a man with huge personal failings. The lack of WMDs is a legitimate debate and Obama has the right to say he was opposed to this war. Because of his opposition he had the right as a senator to not fund the war and thus helping thwart the effort.

The problem is he is a huge hypocrite. Now we are seeing yet another surge - you know the one he objected to in Iraq. How can the US win this war within a country with all sorts of cultural and civil divide? So if his reason for opposition was true for Iraq, it most certainly is true in Afghanistan.

The speech was flat, wandered, and lack emotion because it wasn't HIS war.

He spoke to the troops today and ended by telling them that the US was safer because of their effort in Iraq. Funny, the same speech, but tonight he left out that part about the US being safer. Why? We all know the answer, which is he says one thing to one group and to his supporters says another.

Posted by: jkachmar | August 31, 2010 10:08 PM | Report abuse

There were several subtle themes to President Obama's speech tonight. The speech was phrased carefully to remind us how bad Iraq was at its worst, then compare that memory to the current situation. President Obama also spoke of moving troops from Iraq to Afghanistan and the clearly defined his plan to achieve similar results in Afghanistan (defined as bringing our troops home). By highlighting his contact with George W. Bush, President Obama attempted to defuse some of the partisanship. We'll see how that plays out in the coming weeks. I don't think it was a speech we'll remember for decades, but it was certainly not lacking in content.

Posted by: damascuspride04 | August 31, 2010 10:12 PM | Report abuse

I always wonder how Richard Cohen will work in a an attack on President Bush into every column. We all know what Cohen thinks of Bush because he has said it a hundred times, which alone makes Cohen a dismal repetitive trite columnist.

Posted by: Delongl | August 31, 2010 10:28 PM | Report abuse

Cohen says Bush was a dismal president. Doesn't Cohen know this makes him sound like a college sophomore taking out his frustration on a blog?

A mature jurnalist might criticize the ex-president's decision-making on some more or less reasoned ground but would not simply declare him "dismal". That's dismal journalism. And juvenile. The man is no juvenile. Odd he hasn't learned that much.

Posted by: Roytex | August 31, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen, the theme? Seriously, you're asking for the theme, like some unread English teacher would do? Think, man, think. Do you have no sense of history, no awareness the severity and paralysis of the American political thought? Do you not realize that WE ALL KNOW the problems of our community (substandard education, crumbing infrastructure, fundamentally polarized political discourse, etc.). And you're asking for theme? Time to retire, you're hurting us. Or to announce the theme so you'll understand: please enjoy carnal knowledge of yourself for your obtuse pedantry.

Posted by: Billiams | August 31, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

The speech was pathetic, non-sensical, void of purpose. I voted for Obama.

Posted by: fatboysez | August 31, 2010 10:50 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately he will look as silly as Bush on the carrier when we have to send the troops back into combat as civil war breaks out in Iraq. This was almost but not quite as stupid as the mosque speech and Ramadan dinner. It's almost as if he WANTS the Dems to lose big in November. Well that was a short two years of power!

Posted by: 54465446 | August 31, 2010 10:59 PM | Report abuse

"Like the war, it should not have been undertaken."
Cohen, 2003 -- "The evidence he presented to the United Nations -- some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail -- had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn't accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool -- or possibly a Frenchman -- could conclude otherwise."

Between Cohen and Gerson, it appears to be Shameless Pig Day at the Post.

Posted by: hellslittlestangel1 | August 31, 2010 11:39 PM | Report abuse

What speech? I watched something but it wasn't that much more interesting than tuning to e vacant channel and listening to the white noise.

Posted by: mehrenst1 | August 31, 2010 11:43 PM | Report abuse

To misquote an old Saturday Night Live sketch:

"I can't believe this guys is actually president"

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | August 31, 2010 11:53 PM | Report abuse

Bush wasn't a dismal president and it bothers me that it can now apparently be stated as fact without any sort of support. As Democrats can now plainly see, governing is difficult and never flawless. Bush went from his gut, stuck with his friends, made the middle east more stable, prevented further terrorist attacks (Obama has had little success in this department, although quite a bit of luck), and never felt the need to bash America in order to somehow accumulate political monopoly money.

Liberalism has stagnated because its suffocating on its own arrogance. Instead of conceding valid points or criticisms, it resorts to blunt, brute defensive swipes at anything from racist/nativist "teabaggers" to the simply "horrible" bush presidency, many elements of which have been adopted by Obama and are no longer the object of liberal ire. Such mental laziness will be punished in the long term.

Posted by: batigol85 | September 1, 2010 12:01 AM | Report abuse


"I have been carrying Barry's water since Day One."

Dick Cohen

Posted by: screwjob21 | September 1, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

The speech was somber and comprehensive No it didn't have the oratory flourishes typical of this President's speeches. It wasn't supposed to have them and it didn't.

Eugene Robinson has it right. Mr. Cohen expected the flourishes and now pouts because he didn't get them.

Posted by: pbarnett52 | September 1, 2010 12:05 AM | Report abuse

That was what we here in Texas call a Longhorn speech, a point over here, a point over there, and a lot of bull in between...

Posted by: Phil6 | September 1, 2010 12:07 AM | Report abuse

"The love of troops has become the mindless trope of our times. It squelches both thought and criticism. And while the troops do deserve support, surely the best way to support them is to make sure that they are used wisely"

Well said. Everyone supports the troops, this is not a trait only for Republicans no matter how much they wish to hijack it.

So lets just leave it. We support them. Done!

Posted by: Chops2 | September 1, 2010 12:11 AM | Report abuse

I felt the point was clear for anyone paying attention, well-delivered, and moving - the troops have made huge sacrifices for us and have taken on a lot of responsibility to serve their country and serve the world. Some have died for their country. Now we have to honor them by taking care of them when they come home, by coming together as a country, and by doing what we can to work together to support those in need and rebuild our economy so we can take care of the returning soldiers who've given so much, and ourselves. I think this is a pretty important message at a time when we are obviously so divided.

Posted by: someoneinva | September 1, 2010 12:46 AM | Report abuse

"I always wonder how Richard Cohen will work in a an attack on President Bush into every column. We all know what Cohen thinks of Bush because he has said it a hundred times, which alone makes Cohen a dismal repetitive trite columnist."

====

Oh, you mean like Paul Krugman and Eugene Robinson and EJ Dionne do for the left? Okay, cool. Good thing both sides have their repetitive, dismal, trite columnists. Too bad you can't distinguish one side's from another.

Posted by: charlesbakerharris | September 1, 2010 1:01 AM | Report abuse

Like most all of this President's surreal
behavior, this speech overstated, like a singer over singing a song.
Ending this war on terror is like ending a diet: you can't.
Afghanistan was only mentioned as an anemic way to intellectually own up to the reality that we are still going to be in a war, the same war for all intents and purposes. FAke premise, dull speech, phoney President.

Posted by: realitybased1 | September 1, 2010 1:07 AM | Report abuse


About President Obama's speech, Cohen ends his column with this definitive condemnation:

"Like the war it should not have been undertaken."

What a lousy hypocrite!

A few clicks and we can have your hysterical calls for war without delay before and during all Bush's presidency.

Now the turncoat is as peaceful as mahatma Ghandi.

Have you no shame Cohen?

Don't be mistaken, you have Iraqi, and soldiers blood on your dirty hands for carrying water promoting the neo con agenda.

Makes yuou sick, such double-cross.

Posted by: bekabo | September 1, 2010 1:29 AM | Report abuse

The Iraq War was supposed to be an investment. I'd like to know when, if ever, it is going to pay dividends, when I get mine, and how much I should plan for. The thing is a monument to a right wing mentality that views The World as a chessboard and Our Military as pawns to be pushed around so that The Game tilts America's Way. Until the pipsqueak minds like that of G. W. Bush understand that war is to fought all out or not at all, I'd prefer not to be manipulated by falsehoods into accepting another such adventure. Remember Tora Bora, abu Ghraib, and troopers electrocuted in their barracks showers. Remember the huge stash of cash gone missing. Remember the "brilliant" idea to fire the Iraqi army thereby loosing angry armed unemployed men against the U.S. Military. What a catastrophe. Obama simply commemorated the occasion of turning responsibility for Iraq (so to speak) over to Iraqis until such time, if ever, they need U.S. troops back in there. Don't forget. The U.S. has constructed a monument to its intention to be a big player in Iraq with its embassy building.

Posted by: BlueTwo1 | September 1, 2010 1:34 AM | Report abuse

Cohen your a square peg in a round world, anytime a American war is officially declared over, The President, whom ever it is, has at least his 15 minutes to say whatever warm platitudes he wants, relax.

Posted by: yarbrougharts | September 1, 2010 1:39 AM | Report abuse

I'm more surprised by the comments than I am by Cohen's post or Obama's speech.

For those of you who think that Richard Cohen is a Republican or a neo-con, seek medical help immediately!

For those of you who believe that the Obama speech was more than pedestrian, you need to read a lot more history and listen to some inspired oratory. Or just watch a few movies.

For those of you who want to re-argue our entry into Iraq and Afghanistan - get a life - the world has moved on and the current set of problems is quite daunting.

Posted by: pilsener | September 1, 2010 1:51 AM | Report abuse

More right wing/corporatist pap from the ultra reactionary Richard Cohen. Here is another example of a conservative disguised as a "liberal" with his sneering attacks on the first African American president in our history. Instead of writing reactionary columns condemning the president he needs to be offering support and attacking the radical right wingers in the Republican Party and the Washington Post. If more columnists recognized and wrote about the achievements of the Obama administration rather than offering mindless criticism this country would be on the road to recovery. If this type of criticism does not stop then people like Cohen and the Washington Post need to be controlled by the federal government, replaced by those who write for the people rather than the powerful.

Posted by: Pelosiforpres | September 1, 2010 2:24 AM | Report abuse

Goll ... lee. If only the president had realized that he was speaking to important people like Richard Cohen, I'm sure he would have lifted his game.

Posted by: kunino | September 1, 2010 2:46 AM | Report abuse

With all this talk of Obama's 'dismal presidency', his short two years, and all his failures.. republicans and tea party still fail to produce even a single person who is even close to presidential. For that reason alone, we can expect to see this President ride out 2 full terms. If Sarah Palin is all you got, then get used to his policies and style.

Posted by: wakeuptime | September 1, 2010 3:38 AM | Report abuse

For over two and a half years I have been critical of President Obama. Not as a Republican, nor as a Democrat, but as one who seeks a bridge builder, not a demolition expert. Not as one who takes pleasure in lies and deceptions, but as one who seeks the truth and that which is good for the American people.

In deference to the author of this article, for the first time, I was impressed with President Obama's speech. I respect his open handed gesture to former President Bush. I did not see a man who cast off the woes of this day and laid them on the leaders of the past, but a man who stood up and spoke the truth. Now, I will hold my breath and hope that this was not just lip service.

A great leader does not play the blame game, but leads with positive affirmation of that which is best for this nations people. Not just a few special interest groups, but for all the people.

I am encouraged, but I will wait to see what he does, before I celebrate, lest I celebrate too prematurely. I just hope that President Obama's moral compass has now been repaired.

Posted by: Jordan48 | September 1, 2010 3:47 AM | Report abuse

Cohen's analysis is spot-on. I was even more stunned than Cohen as I sat listening to Obama ramble on about our loving our troops in tepid rhetoric better suited to a freshman state congressman at a Fourth of July picnic. I had exactly the same feeling: Obama had run out of anything meaningful to say and fell back on patriotic bombast. Next, an almost off-hand bow to the single most important matter on Americans' minds--the economy? This performance became almost a caricature of his opponents' depiction of Obama as a self-absorbed egotist who believes that his every utterance deserves worshipful reverence.

I say this as someone who voted for the man, expecting something better than this.

Posted by: tbarksdl | September 1, 2010 3:50 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen, If you don't know what this speech was about tell let me tell you. Bush lied, thousands died including our own men and women in the armed forces. Bush made up information, started a war with the GOP's blessing. Then spent a trillion dollars on it. President Obama kept a campaign promise and announced to the country the end of hostilities. And because of Bush's war our economy tanked.
Hows that in a few short words?
Now Mr. Cohen the next best thing President Obama can do is arrest Bush and Cheney and have them stand trial for War Crimes. Instead of giving Bush thanks and praise which is what the GOP wants. He deserves to be handed a jail sentence.

Posted by: sumo1 | September 1, 2010 4:00 AM | Report abuse


Pelosiforpres wrote: "More right wing/corporatist pap from the ultra reactionary Richard Cohen. Here is another example of a conservative disguised as a "liberal" with his sneering attacks on the first African American president in our history."
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
It's probably too late for anyone supporting pelosi for pres - but you have to kno by now that barry is an ARAB American, born in Kenya (according to his grandmother who claims to be present at the birthing), fathered by a muslim, which, according to quoran (which barry quotes more than the Bible, makes him a muslim!
You better sit down now - that was probably more information than you have received ahd in a looonngg time!! :-)

Posted by: thornegp2626 | September 1, 2010 5:16 AM | Report abuse

Many of us can keep more than one thought in our heads at the same time!

I realize that this might seem unusual to people who can not do this. Such things as only speaking about one topic would be useful for those people for instance. In many circumstances it makes sense to make things simple for the simple.

However, because this idea of thinking about more than one thing at the same time is difficult does not make it wrong. It is not fair to expect everyone to always pander to the simple either. Just because people like the author have trouble making sense of what what was said, it does not mean that the address was empty.

Posted by: Nymous | September 1, 2010 5:24 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen crawl under the rock, where you and your kind live.
You sir, have no respect for our president or our troops

Posted by: ibhernandez2003 | September 1, 2010 5:31 AM | Report abuse

Brilliantly scathing article, Mr. Cohen, and right on the money. It's why you're my favorite liberal commentator. You actually have intellectual consistency and are unafraid to call things as they are.

I suppose one reason why the Great "I Won" (no "Mission Accomplished" victory lap there, nosiree!) looks so wooden and uncomfortable when speaking from being the desk in the Oval Office is because he's spent precious little time there over the past two years. But there's no need for him to start now. In little more than two more years, he'll be packing his bags.

By the way -- does EVERYTHING have to be about him and his family? Why did the table behind him have to be crowded with pictures of him and his wife and kids? This speech was suppose to be about Iraq, not opportunity to send subliminal messages about how in love he is with Michelle. The fact that he works so hard to convey that image makes me doubt all the more about the sincerety of it. It's like he tries too hard because he's trying to hide the opposite.

Posted by: RedderThanEver | September 1, 2010 6:13 AM | Report abuse

Cohen wrote:

["An Oval Office speech is supposed to be an important event. This was only Obama’s second, after all, and if he asks us all to interrupt our schedules and listen to what he has to say, then he at least ought to say something. In this, he dismally failed. We knew that American has ended its combat role in Iraq. We knew that Iraq had been turned over to the Iraqis. We knew our troops are brave, that they have sacrificed much and that over 4,000 of them had died. This is all worth saying -- but not saying and saying and saying."]

----------------------------------

One of the top two dumbest columns produced by the WP this year.

A lot of good folks support the troops that have never served. A lot of good folks that support the troops have served. These two groups deserve and expect that the Commander in Chief, aka the President, will be the one to officially end a war.

The comment that "We knew that Iraq had been turned over to the Iraqis" is patronizing drivel. Stated another way, Mr. Cohen is telling us that journalists have already notified us with the information the war was over so there is nothing for the CINC to say. What a bunch of elitist garbage. The truth of the matter is that Mr. Cohen knows only enough about war and the troops to make stupid, nonsensical comments that the WP actually pays for - give me a break.

Although I'm staunchly Conservative, I do care that the President took the time to tell me the war was over and I'm glad he tried to put it into context. I wouldn't have it an other way.

Posted by: pararanger22 | September 1, 2010 6:25 AM | Report abuse

Both Bush and Obama fall into the category of dismal presidents. They both want to extend Pax Americana to the whole world, wage war where they please, and bring America economically to her knees.

They are both blind to public opinion, and as we found out last night, they both give lousy speeches.

Posted by: alance | September 1, 2010 6:30 AM | Report abuse

Pay attention, Mr. Cohen.

You will get it - sooner or later.

We can wait.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | September 1, 2010 7:14 AM | Report abuse

The boots on the ground in Afghanistan have been going up since 2001. Nothing whatsoever has changed since the "Speech Giver took office. The total boots on the ground for both FRONTS Iraq and Afghanistan have averaged around 180,000 not including support troops in other countries since 2003. We secure Iraq and shift troops to Afghanistan.You still have 180,000 boots on the ground fighting on two fronts. Iraq was about WMD'S It was about IRAN'S,IRAN'S IRAN'S !! Who do you think Sadaam was going to become allies with after Sept.11 his MUSLIM brothers!!

This speech the "Speech giver" gave was nothing but SPIN. It was flat and un-emotional. He does not want anything to do with this WAR against RADICAL ISLAM. None of us want WAR but the JIHADIST started this in 1979. Always Remember "THE PEACEKEEPERS " 241 Marines KIA on Oct.23,1983 in Beirut Lebanon while they slept!! By an IRAN backed JIHADIST. The USS Cole JIHADIST still has not been put on trial!!
Where is the money being saved he talked about if we are still supporting the same amount of boots on the ground????? The cost of suppling troops in Afghanistan has to be double the cost compared to Iraq because of the logistical nitemare of getting them into Afghanistan.

Why have we transfered the troops into Afghanistan now that Iraq is secure? We have to secure Afghanistan because of IRAN,IRAN,IRAN !!!! The most radical ISLAMIC STATE with a standing military that is on the verge of getting the BOMB!!

Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden are rookies compared to IRAN supporting JIHAD and the ability to ARM them. Look at the map, Israel, Iraq,with US troops west of IRAN. US troops in Afghansitan east of IRAN and west of Pakistan where we have pushed the TALIBAN and Al QAEDA JIHADIST.


Here is an interesting report about the boots on the ground.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R40682.pdf

The "Speech Giver" has spent more money on SPECIAL INTEREST HANDOUTS in 18 months, than we have spent since 2001 fighting RADICAL ISLAM!!!

This is why he is against having too much knowledge and the internet. He wants to be the Shepherd over sheep and WE THE PEOPLE are still full of ALPHA MALE WOLVES that smell weakness!!! WE THE PEOPLE have the right to know facts. That used to be the media's job, to get them straight. Now the MEDIA is the master's of POLITICAL SPIN !!

TERM LIMITS NOW !!

FAIR TAX NOW !!

DEATH TO JIHADISTS !!

SECURE THE BORDER !!

STOP THE SPECIAL INTEREST HANDOUTS !!

Posted by: 79USMC83 | September 1, 2010 7:23 AM | Report abuse

What did you expect from a 'so called'Harvard law professor ?HELLO,He's not A LEADER!!!!!!

Posted by: votingrevolution | September 1, 2010 7:30 AM | Report abuse

Shucks.

I was sorely disappointed that Mr. Cohen could not find it in his oh-so-perspicacious analysis of Obama's attempt to spray Fabreze around the Bush administration's outhouse war policy ("support our vets, you bet: welcome to the Walter Reed Roach Haven Rehab Center.") to offer his learned insights into the Oval Office redo.

Not to give the wingnuts yet another helping of such red meat (the only kind of semi-literate swill they can comprehend) is a major oversight of this column, IMHO.

Posted by: donmotaka@comcast.net | September 1, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

Shucks.

I was sorely disappointed that Mr. Cohen could not find it in his oh-so-perspicacious analysis of Obama's attempt to spray Fabreze around the Bush administration's outhouse war policy ("support our vets, you bet: welcome to the Walter Reed Roach Haven Rehab Center.") to offer his learned insights into the Oval Office redo.

Not to give the wingnuts yet another helping of such red meat (the only kind of semi-literate swill they can comprehend) is a major oversight of this column, IMHO.

Posted by: donmotaka@comcast.net | September 1, 2010 8:00 AM | Report abuse

Okay, Cohen strays from the point too. He just could not resist a jab at good ol Bush. Ah well that is the price for fame.JUst ask big Al. For my part I give Bush a pass. I sat there on 9/11 absolutely horrified that after the 2nd attempt the muslim terrorists finally got us big. I think I understand Bush's reaction but think Rumsfeld is the real culprit for not listening to his top general who wanted us out of there on or about the time we got Saddam, Build a democracy? What idiocy. But I will say I have much respect for the Iraqi people and worry that sooner or later they will come under Iran's domination. Then what Obama? Oh and by all means, let's build another mosque in addition to those all over NYC. Maybe this one will stand as a symbol of mission accomplished to the terrorists so they will let NY alone. I am serious. I have family living there who do not have enough good sense to leave. Of course who can give up one's job these days. More stimulus please. Hah.

Posted by: linus12 | September 1, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse

Exactly correct sir. Obama has nothing to say about nothing and everything except homilies. He likes ice cream in the Gulf. His wife likes the Spanish. Probably he muses occasionally about the cost of arugula. But about war and its consequences he has the sensibility of...well...what he is...no what he became...an east coast elite who is more at home in a classroom. But what do you expect. Look at his meager background. 2 years out of a part-time state senate job he becomes president solely due to innate intelligence, the ability to speak and think on his feet, and the miserable legacy of one G.W. Bush combined with the hapless McCain and the Hail Mary VP choice which fell short of the end zone by about 99 yards. Obama has no fund of either experience or pain really. Look at the presidents who did..polio, death of wife and mother on the same day, financial disaster, war...there is a difference. In an era where the ability to act or speak is the only requirement at worse we get a Reagan or Bush...at best an Obama. It is not enough. The skills are no indication of anything else up top.

Posted by: aguasticas | September 1, 2010 8:11 AM | Report abuse


It seems fair that Obama should make speeches about Iraq without mentioning Iraq very much.
Cohen manages to attack Obama repeatedly without mentioning Israel at all.

Posted by: Petronius_Jones | September 1, 2010 8:15 AM | Report abuse

Thats funny a combat brigade is leaving for Iraq next month-or I guess Obama will call it a Social Brigade. Just Like Bush's dumb statement "end of combat operations" our troops are not political ploys.

Posted by: 1hooah | September 1, 2010 8:23 AM | Report abuse

First, I'd like to say that you people who are calling Dickey Cohen a Republican? Stop smoking the STUFF, for a while, and wash your hair.
As for Dick, he doesn't know what this little PUKE said last night, because the little PUKE, as he is wont to do, said NOTHING. And he said nothing because he FEELS nothing. He's a MESSIAH, don'tcha know. He is ALL POWERFULL and INFALLABLE. He is BARACK the 1ST. The BOY KING. PHAROE of the WORLD.
I think that he has so SCREWED EVERYTHING UP, that his Speech Writers are, basically, just phoning it in, now. Even someone who LIES for a living, like these Speech Writers, have got to be saying to themselves: "Hey. I'm not a Magician, here. Shakespeare couldn't write anything that would make this gut look good."
He couldn't just let the Combat Troops come home. He had to try and get something POLITICAL out of it. The guy who RAN on the fact that HE, and HE ALONE, was the single best person to be AGAINST this War. He was more against it than anyone. He wanted to DEFUND THE TROOPS, get them out of there,before the JOB was done. And he was CONVINCED that "Not only would the Surge NOT WORK, but it would make things WORSE". He sits there, STRAIGHT FACED, and LIES about a Campaign Promise that he NEVER MADE. He was gonna get them out in MARCH 09. Remember? And then he rambles on about the Economy and Education?
This guy is a walking TALKING POINTS MEMO. So the troops are out of IRAQ. Big Deal. They could all DROP DEAD, and he wouldn't care.
The REASON you didn't understand his GREATNESS last night, DICK, is because he's THE MUSIC MAN. He's the FLIM FLAM MAN. He's the MONO RAIL SALESMAN on the Simpsons. He's the EMPEROR in GLADIATOR. He wants to be EMPEROR more than he wants air to breathe. But he only wants the trappings. The OFFICE. The nice house and the Chauffeur Driven Automobile. As far as the real WORK that needs to be done? He doesn't want to do it, because he DOESN'T KNOW HOW.
And DICKEY COHEN? The realization of what he's done, by pulling the lever for this guy......It's like a PUNCH IN THE FACE. It was a HORRIBLE MISTAKE. And it may be TOO LATE for all of us.
Isn't that right, DICK?

Posted by: GoomyGommy | September 1, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

Maybe what was wrong with the speech is what is wrong with the Obama presidency: he is always trying to be all things to all people and always attempting to walk the middle line of alienating no one while pleasing no one. And, appearing to seek conciliation over confrontation even when confrontation and tough choices are necessary.

Yes, an event as important as the ending of a war deserves a major speech, but, last time both I and our President counted we are still in Iraq in force and our troops will be aiding and abetting in whatever passes for a conflict when insurgents/terrorists are trying to blow things up and killing innocent people. Do we really expect Americans to sit idly by while they and those they are attempting to protect are being attacked? While we may not have the 101st Airborne on the ground, I hope those we have left behind are armed and dangerous and able to protect themselves. Does anyone really believe that Al Quaeda or any insurgent group is only going to attack Iraqis in the ongoing attempt to destabalize this nation? Or that American "advisors" who are "assisting" in counter terrorism missions will not be in combat?

The troops we send in harms way deserve our thanks and appreciation beyond measure and it is never wrong for a President to remind us of that. But, it is wrong for a President to create artificial and phony definitions of what "combat" is. Trust me, the supply sargeant or training officer who is killed by a roadside bomb on his/her way to a destination to "train" Iraqis is in combat.

Our "combat" mission in both Iraq and Afghanistan will be over when every last American is out of those God forsaken places and out of the line of fire. Attempting to create any other definition of our role and our presence there is a phony political calculation designed to achieve Mr. Obama's objective of "withdrawing" by a date certain.

And, President Obama's depiction of the Maalike goverment as interim and transitional is bogus. In fact, the Iraqis have become unable to reach any decisions internally about who and how they will be governed after we have armed and equipped a half million of them for security. The political situation in Iraq is unstable but we were led to believe last night things are just hunky dory and all is well. Some would call how our President described and depicted this situation as being optimistic; I would call it misleading in order to facilitate further misleading of the public as to exactly how bad the situation in Iraq is even after a decade of investing American blood and treasure. Our decision to go there was based on big lies and neo-con philosophy and our decision as to how to extricate ourselves is being predicated on just as big a lie as to the political stability of the country.

The next time I hear from this President about either Iraq and Afghanistan is should be when the last American standing is on a plane out of these places.

Posted by: bobfbell | September 1, 2010 8:31 AM | Report abuse

The speech was a bit dry and empty. Nothing new or revealing. The lack of emotion expressed by our President did little to improved the message, if there was one intended. Nothing he said wasn't already known or understood. He reminded me of a lecture being given by a very dry math professor, who was tired and ready to retire.

Posted by: richard36 | September 1, 2010 8:33 AM | Report abuse

January 20, 2013---that day can't get here fast enough.

Posted by: ShovelPlease | September 1, 2010 8:42 AM | Report abuse

"Let me be clear," "make no mistake," if I can get in front a camera one more time, this speech is about me, your 1/2 black/white muslim imam who will ruin this country by subjugating it to shiria law!!!!
So folks, you don't have to listen to this drivel, he has already told us 3 or 4 times that we are pulling troops out of Iraq. Since we already know that, what is the purpose of another speech other than to promote himself in front of a camera???? To show how much he loves himself!!!!

Posted by: dehowejr | September 1, 2010 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Do you guys/gals remember the mediocre singer Sanjaya who was voted in time after time even after everyone knew he doen't really belong there - now that's the way I felt about our president and his speech last night! I certainly hope fair minded people who voted for Obama in 2008 (myself included) finally feel our buyer's remorse!

Posted by: CJ123 | September 1, 2010 9:14 AM | Report abuse

The reason Obombher wants to turn the page is because he has beome Bush lite, an accessory after the fact to Bush's crimes.

Posted by: Nemo24601 | September 1, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

LINUS12 WRITES THE FOLLOWING -------------- "But I will say I have much respect for the Iraqi people and worry that sooner or later they will come under Iran's domination. Then what Obama? Oh and by all means, let's build another mosque in addition to those all over NYC. Maybe this one will stand as a symbol of mission accomplished to the terrorists so they will let NY alone. I am serious. I have family living there who do not have enough good sense to leave. Of course who can give up one's job these days. More stimulus please. Hah.
------------------------------------------
Posted by: linus12 | September 1, 2010 8:06 AM | Report abuse
------------------------------------------- And why linus12 do you suppose Iraq will come under Iran's domination? Has it occured to you that the Bush administration with its typical incompetence totally misread the political realities of the Middle East? There was one serious check to Iran's domination of that part of the world - Iraq. When the neo-cons decided to remove it as a player, they gave Iran all the opportunity to extend its hegemony. Now what will we have created? An Iran armed with nuclear weapons. The Israelis have made it clear they will destroy Iran's capacity to go nuclear. Whether or not they can remains to be seen. So G. Bush... that gift that just keeps giving continues to do so. First he destroys the economy, now the second shoe will drop. Iran is likely to block the Strait of Hormuz, and a huge amount of oil will not reach the world market. 2008 will look like a blip on the radar screen. You ask rhetorically "then what Obama?".... as if this is a mess he created. While you describe yourself as "serious", it appears misinformed, ignorant, intellectually lazy would be a better description. This country just cannot afford more cretins. Enough.

Posted by: postaddict1 | September 1, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

My, how quick the lefties turn on their own if they detect a whiff of ideological impurity or a failure to spread leftie propaganda at every oportunity.

The President's speech was very good under the circumstances although the economy deserves separate treatment, and I thought he should have acknowledged that the Democrats spent more on their so-called "stimulus" package in a few months than we spent on Iraq and Afghanistan in 10 years. Instead, he said that we had spent a lot on Iraq at a time when "budgets were tight in Washington". Really! He must have meant "at a time when the Republicans" are trying to restore fiscal discipline in Washington.

The Democrats squandered almost a trillion dollars on Democratic special interests and nonsense projects( without creating one job in the private sector)just because "we can". And the people will throw the nitwits out of office in 60 days because "we can". We will never again have to wait until a bill is passed until we find out what is in it. That admonition from Pelosi, the leftists' icon, has got to be the most stupid statement by a legislator in human history. Even worse than her idiotic pronouncements about the "Word". Especially as we find out more about the cost increases that the new health care legislation is already imposing on businesses and families across the country.

Posted by: sightseer | September 1, 2010 9:15 AM | Report abuse

The viewers of C-span last night and again this morning on Washington Journal, supported what the president had to say......that included Republicans. An increasing number of Republicans and Independents also agree this was a war that should never have been fought. It always amazes me that there is such a disconnect between the pundits and the viewpoint of actual Americans.

Posted by: bpotter110 | September 1, 2010 9:19 AM | Report abuse


Obama is not a Presidential material.
By McCain’s BIG mistakes he luckily got in the White House.
Several times it has been mentioned that he is from the Chicago Minor League and can not even manage a small retail store.

So let us move on and look toward 2012.
The landscape must be changed.


Posted by: swavde | September 1, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

"Like the war, it should have been undertaken" ??? Have you no shame, sir? There was no one who jumped ship with more alacrity to side with the Republicans and their neocons in their lying crusade for Shock and Awe which killed 4,5000 Americans, of all ages, well into their 40's also, in that sausage-making bloodletting. I remember still your stepping up to the plate and forcing yourself (ha) to agree with the regime's proven liars that Saddam had WMD.

Obama's speech was fine, you just want bells and whistles I guess?
Obama gave that strutting, hand wiping on other people (including Clinton) spoiled rotten poor sport Bush a pass and you should be grateful for THAT!

I didn't read one word from you when W nauseatingly and buffoonishly rode his bike and smirked and strutted through the rest of his sick joke of a presidency either, when Bush was conducting himself every single day in the most disgraceful ways, you were silent.
All you cared about was that Bush supported Israel and licked their boots, stuffed their pockets with our tax remittances and rushed to their side with phosphorus bombs to annihilate defenseless Palestinians and Lebanese citizens. Where's Condi now, living in unconscionable comfort like Bush, while their victims moulder in unmarked graves.

Posted by: mimosa1 | September 1, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

The transcript of the Obama call to Bush was just released. It went like this -

Obama: Good morning George.
Bush: Good morning Mr. President, how are you?
Obama: Fine, thank you. George I’m calling you today because this is the day that we are ending combat operations in Iraq on schedule with the Status of Forces Agreement you signed with Iraq in 2008.
Bush: Thank you, we thought it was the right schedule and the right thing to do.
Obama: I also want to thank you for giving us Bob Gates, he is doing a great job for me.
Bush: You’re welcome.
Obama: Oh, yeah, and thank you for Gen Petraeus, the guy in charge of your surge. I know Hillary insulted him in the Senate hearings and I didn’t like him a few years ago but he has gotten a lot smarter now and he also is doing a great job for me.
Bush: Yes, he is a good man.
Obama: By the way, do you think my surge will work as well as your surge?
Bush: Well, I believed it was the right thing to do, in spite of some serious opposition, remember that? The real question is “Do you think it will work?”
Obama: Well George, it was nice talking to you. Have a good day.

Posted by: delusional1 | September 1, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

I have been reading the Washington Post for a while after being told it is the best newspaper in USA with thoughtful, well researched, and unbiased analysis of American politics. Mmmmmm My comment is not limited to Mr Cohen's article but to the journal as a whole as I start getting disappointed with so many articles bereft of innovation that just play the game of partisan and electoral aspirations. I am neither American nor journalist but when I read articles like the one written today by Mr Cohen I believe that I have enough common sense, judgment and insightfulness to write articles of a much better quality. It looks like the lack of originality is not limited to political leaders around the world but to journalists as well. We see how the French President Mr Sarkosy is expelling the gypsies from France to attract far right voters just because the guy has nothing new or interesting to say. It is not a secret that such expulsions bring him back to the public arena as if he tries to say "I am here". It seems that journalists are behaving in the same way, that is, writing biased articles and making sweeping statements because the brightness of their gray matter is fading away. In short, Mr Cohen's article is worthy of being broadcast in a radio talk show of a backwater town to stir up passions and confuse the non-thinkers especially in pre-electoral times. I honestly believe it is time that the Washington Post ask journalists to make efforts in order to raise the level of their discussion.

Posted by: juribund | September 1, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

What was it about? Hope and Change, of course.

Posted by: twann9852 | September 1, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Observations by a neocon benefactor.

Posted by: whocares666 | September 1, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

President Obama is George W. Bush – without the speech impediment.

Look at his all his Republican appointments, his unwillingness to have his Justice Department go after GOP criminals, his unwillingness to help Small Businesses, his protection of Big Businesses. He’s the PERFECT Republican.

He ‘folded’ on the ‘Public Option’ healthcare (give the insurance companies TRILLIONS of American dollars), ending the war and closing the Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp. He has nothing to say about the up-tick in police violence against citizens and the GOP operation of taxing the citizens thru police and judicial actions. His stimulus package has ‘Billions’ of dollars set-aside for the building of new prisons. And look at his oil drilling agenda. All GOP values!!!

Once the Republicans take office in 2010 they are going to investigate Obama for everything then impeach him based on some nonsense. And still I will not vote for any Democrat because they are gutless cowards and sellouts. Obama and the Democrats refuse to ‘Really’ help small businesses and need to be fired. We can fire the new moronic 2010 Republicans in 2012 along with Obama (if he’s still in office) and veteran Democrats.

Posted by: question-guy | September 1, 2010 9:47 AM | Report abuse

Cohen prefers the carnival sideshow that is Glen Beck. Go punch yourself in the face Cohen.

Posted by: jakemehoffer | September 1, 2010 9:57 AM | Report abuse

Obama prized Bush for lying to us and leading the country to a painful disaster. You don't lie when you love something. This guy doesn't get it, he keep kissing conservatives behinds and getting more dung in return, he is pathetic.

Posted by: rappahanock | September 1, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Two years into the OBAMA DEPRESSION and Barry finally realizes that he has been an economic catastrophe?

Posted by: Jerzy | September 1, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

He still looked dazed from the wonderful turnout at Beck's rally last weekend. We've got him on the ropes. Soon we''l have him dancing.

Posted by: fishcrow | September 1, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

The speech by Obama was a failure for all the reasons you mentioned, Mr Cohen - but most importantly, for the reason that it failed to recognize the magnitude of ssuffering the Iraqis endured to create an American colony

Posted by: Kingofkings1 | September 1, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

One of the worst Presidential speeches of all time. Completely uninspiring, defeatist in nature, tried to be all things to all people. "Time to move on...time to support my socialist economic policies...time to cut and run."

What a joke. An empty suit over his head.

Posted by: silencedogoodreturns | September 1, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

I like the President, but don't feel that this was a particularly good speech. At one point, I felt like he was trying to take the wind out of Glenn Beck's sail.

Posted by: BootmanDC | September 1, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I didn't see the speech so I don't know whether it was a good speech or not. My point is that a lot of other people also probably didn't bother to tune in either.

I suspect this will go down as one of the lowest rated oval office speeches in terms of numbers of viewers.

President Obama is facing the problem of staying relevant. No one expects him to provide solutions to problems. So, people are just going about their business ignoring the President.

The President indicated he ignored the Beck rally in Washington Sunday. Was that a smart statement? Does it really make sense for any President to say they ignore a large segmment of the population.

What's more interesting, however, is that the Beck rally pretty much ignored President Obama. Very little anti-Obama protesting.

It seems like the age of Obama is ending with a whimper. Obama ignoring the People. The People ignoring Obama.

Posted by: jfv123 | September 1, 2010 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen, it sounds like you would rather have had the President talk about why we never should have gone to war in the first place, yet also throw in how Bush loved our country and our soldiers. I assume you believe that is the way to try to bring a divided nation somewhat closer together.

Posted by: rclab | September 1, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Is this piece a political commentary or a kabuki theater review? The speech lacked theme? The venue was to important for the speech? Get real!

Posted by: croaker69 | September 1, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Sounds like "Mission Accomplished"

I thought Obama was smarter than that. Then again, he refuses to admit that building a mosque near Ground Zero is insensitive.

Obama is tone deaf.

Posted by: princeps2 | September 1, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse


Cohen
and WHAT a surprise....

like Israel thinks fewer troops in the mid east that Israel might want to use, is a bad idea. And talking about it a mistake.

AS THE PENTAGON FINALLY SAYS OUT LOUD THAT
the Jewish apartheid in Palestine is
dangerous to America's interests,

and to the troops near Israel in particular.
There HAS TO BE AN END to the perfidy, in print, no less, to such.

Posted by: whistling | September 1, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Hey WaPo, why do you carry this goon? His whole shtick is trying to come up with a skewed way of saying nothing, to sound like an original voice when in reality he's just a dumb one.

Fire him. And fire that unlettered idiot Cillizza too.

Posted by: chrisfox8 | September 1, 2010 10:26 AM | Report abuse


However disgusting...

perhaps WE SHOULD hear from Cohen, the zionist.
HE certainly did his stinking part to lie us into Iraq.

At least he's out there...WOLFOWITZ, the "architect" of the war, is nowhere to be found...

nor is there any mention of him in the
zionist press. Funny how he disappeared.

Posted by: whistling | September 1, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Still way better than, "Mission Accomplished"!

Posted by: deepthroat21 | September 1, 2010 10:33 AM | Report abuse

The Iraq War has "ended" and the winner is Haliburton/KBR!

As far as I'm concern, the Iraq War was a crime against humanity! We have to, at some point, graduate from this juvenile notion that war has winners and losers, when everyone ulitimately loses.

We lose human dignity and potential.

Posted by: D-0f-G | September 1, 2010 10:47 AM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen just so you know, it was Mr. Obama's attempt to take a bow for meeting his deadline for troop withdrawal. "Look America, I did something right...for a change, so give me some credit" (Rember it's the press that says he has accomplished a lot, but doesn't seem to get any credit.) The other things he mentioned, well an egotistical, intellectual elitist like Mr. Obama cannot pass up an opportunity to show everyone how smart, humble and forgiving he is.

Posted by: Bockscar | September 1, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

politics: namely, his left wing anti-bush base. obama needed to show them that he is willing to keep promises to them even when he is not willing to keep more important to the rest of the country (i.e., good judgement, responsible spending, a health care that would reduce costs rather than raise them and which would not force people to buy health insurance they did not want). second, he needed to do so while giving no credit to bush and, by omission, disrespecting him. finally, he wants to "turn the page" because he doesnt want his prematue, politically motivated withdrawal to become an issue when, in a few months time, a nascent iraqi democracy falls back into security chaos because crucial outstanding political issues remain.

Posted by: dummypants | September 1, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

Ah! The war in Iraq is over. Who won?

Posted by: patriot17 | September 1, 2010 11:02 AM | Report abuse

Well said, Mr. Cohen....could you possibly give Eugene Robinson some lessons in writing?....his thought processes seem to be a bit confused!!!

Posted by: SeniorVet | September 1, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

To the authors point, we have a President who stands for everything, but really stands for nothing. Trying to do it all is very tough to pull off. Reminds me of Carter...too many hands in the pot and no focus. Nothing has been done with exception of socialized medicine that was crammed down our throats. From there his own party abandoned him...

Posted by: FedUp8 | September 1, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Will tell you what the speech was about as soon as you explain to me: The Cheney Vice Presidency - Cheney's largely HIDDEN and little-understood role in crafting policies for War on Terror,Iraq (a war started on his lies) , economy and the environment.....

From, an American who has lost a large amount of family in the US Wars and conflicts....

Posted by: lindarc | September 1, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

I didn't hear or watch the speech. I was working my second part-time job trying to feed my family.

Posted by: 1357111317 | September 1, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

"We knew that American has ended its combat role in Iraq. We knew that Iraq had been turned over to the Iraqis."

I think you drastically over-estimate the knowledge of current news held by the common American.

Posted by: lightgrw | September 1, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

Yup. We're outie. 18 minutes for that? Orky dorky Mr. President.

Posted by: deepthroat21 | September 1, 2010 11:34 AM | Report abuse

'The road to Israel through from Iraq" That was the neocons mantra. How's that roadie thru. Iraqi going Cohen? You don't like that we are finally leaving Iraq and not paving it with gold all the way to Israel. That's why you're having problem getting the Presedent's message.

Posted by: bigben1986 | September 1, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

He looks as ridiculous as Michael Dukakis riding around in that tank. The Dems should roll over on this one and give Bush the credit he deserves and the troops a proper parade like we had at the end of the first Gulf war. There is no reason to sulk away from the battlefield when our side has won.

Posted by: werowe1 | September 1, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

The Obama administration is like the television show Seinfeld. It's an administration about nothing, hence a speech about nothing.

Posted by: kirnosnorbin | September 1, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Add me to the list of readers who can't quite believe Mr. Cohen would have the audacity to complain that the Iraq War should not have been undertaken when he was one of that war's most vocal and influential proponents. The fact that Mr. Cohen continues to draw a paycheck from the Post for his punditry is a shameful indictment of the paper.

Posted by: luke_f_ryan | September 1, 2010 12:34 PM | Report abuse

Cohen, I like the president's speech.

It's content's gave a brief description of where we came from, how we got there, how we got here, and a small glimpse of how we need to get this country back on the right track.

And what's with you and others criticizing the president on not being so emotional when he gives speeches. The few hundred times George W. Bush gave those emotional speeches, it was all a charade, if you know what I mean. All based on lies and deceit.

This president, as far as I am concerned, is being honest and upfront with the American people. There is much work to do; therefore, there is no reason for him to be acting like a big whiny emotional crybaby. Besides, I am more trusting of a leader who is open and honest and tells it like I see it, as opposed to one, who expresses himself with a lot of dramatic special effects to create a false sense of reality every time he opens his freaking mouth and speaks.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | September 1, 2010 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Was there a time when we didn't know in advance what presidential addresses were about? There's still something important about hearing the words directly from the President. What was he supposed to do? Just tell the press secretary to forward on a memo: "Oh yeah, by the way, the war is over."?

Posted by: CTSavage | September 1, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

I just can't help but wonder if Obama would have made this speech if the democrats were not in jeopardy of losing control of Congress?

Posted by: ahashburn | September 1, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

The title Commander-in-Chief doesn't fit Obama. Community Organizer-in-Chief would fit better. The man appeared uncomfortable talking about a war that as a liberal he opposed from the beginning. I suspect he would have felt better had he been announcing that the US had been defeated in Iraq. Most of his liberal/progressive base would have preferred that result. The liberal Democrat Senate Majority leader in fact announced three years ago that "this war is lost." Better luck next time, Harry Reid. Liberal Democrat John Kerry, the richest of all US politicians, called US troops in Iraq akin to Nazis. Liberal Democrat Senator Durbin compared US troops there to the soldiers of Pol Pot. Some Americans.

Posted by: mhr614 | September 1, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

brilliant mr cohen.we have a president who was an affirmative action candidate at harvard.that is the extent of our lunacy.

Posted by: razor2 | September 1, 2010 12:52 PM | Report abuse

just judge the content of all obama's speeches.they are all superfluous and devoid of any sense.obama has never had anything to say.he depends on his staff for everything.he has never had an original thought.

Posted by: razor2 | September 1, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Things have become quite dull in America these past few years.

Oh, there's the usual juvenile sniping between the liberals and conservatives, and it is sometimes fun to watch how each of them thinks they are better than the other. But it is tiring, you know?

Bush the Moron, at least he was funny. How many presidents have we had during your lifetime that you knew for damn sure you were smarter than he was? At least Bush gave us that.

Obama? He's as interesting as white bread. Watching his conservative enemies spinning headless on the floor in their frenetic hatred is mildly interesting ... but this is transitively interesting, he's still dull by himself.

Posted by: eezmamata | September 1, 2010 12:58 PM | Report abuse

I always agree with everything Obama says, as well as Jon Stewart. That way I can freely engage in groupthink at my local Starbucks while drinking a $5.00 cup of coffee, with my $375 stroller outside. It's easier than thinking for myself-

Posted by: rlmayville | September 1, 2010 12:59 PM | Report abuse

With Obama's every appearance it becomes clear that he never had any business running for president. We were sold bill of goods.

Posted by: ravitchn | September 1, 2010 1:00 PM | Report abuse

As if any of this really mattered now. The Iraq War was exactly the wrong way to react to 9/11 and the threat of terrorism in the world. It has cost precious lives and more money than the country can afford. Roving gangs of murderous outlaws we call terrorists still roam the world and we never face the real truth about the real threats to civilization. Meantime, American banks and Wall Street are swimming in oceans of cash which they are reluctant to spend on recovering a stable economy until they can be sure that they can continue the ways of the past that nearly bankrupted the country. And it is not immigrants, legal or illegal, who have taken jobs away from other Americans, but corporate America that has been exporting jobs for the last twenty years. We were outsmarted by Bin Laden and we are being outsmarted by a powerful financial elite. Meanwhile, the country wallows in a miasmic discontent. Guess who's coming back to dinner?

Posted by: 85edwardearthlinknet | September 1, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

I think tend to agree with you on this speech from the Oval Office.

Frankly, I wish when he spoke of President Bush he prefaced it with "in my opinion," I do not share President Obama's perspective on ex-President Bush.

Also, I think Americans get what our service men and women sacrifice for this Nation and it's freedom and if our President's got it they would bring them all home, now. Iraq was our luxury war. Afganistan has turned into our luxury war, isn't it swell we have such great credit that we can afford to charge our credit card for these luxury wars.

I like President Obama. I thought he should have waited to become a President and I think I was right about that. He needed time to grow and mature politically. His "good parent," "wise Presdent," even-tmepered" persona is getting a bit stale. Still, he's better than anyting the Republicans or Tea Partyers could offer up to this Nation now or in 2012 when it comes to any kind of leadership and I mean ANY kind.

Let's face it President Obama was handed a pot full of poo-poo from the previous Administration. He's working with less to nothing when it comes to the Republicans who care naught about the well-being of this Nation as a whole.

Gee, I wish someone would have written that ex-President Bush's speech declaring war on Iraq was a waste of time but no everyone was all "how soon can we go and kill the suckers?" So, maybe President Obama didn't need to give his speech last night but it sure beats the heck out of listening to a Bush speech from the Oval Office.

Posted by: rannrann | September 1, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

In an era where there are no surrenders, no other governmental leaders to officially sign the endings of wars, this is as close as we ever get to an official moment. That was the theme. Closing a significant chapter in US history, and closing it with a somber, presidential speech.

Posted by: Dr_Bob | September 1, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

jkachmar wrote that:

"Well the surge did work. Obama was deeply flawed in his thinking and to this day won't admit he was wrong. That failing represents a man with huge personal failings. The lack of WMDs is a legitimate debate"

----------

This is the usual, incredibly dishonest, republican revisionism.

First, the lack of WMD is not a legitimate debate. Even before we attacked, there was little, if any, legitimate evidence of WMD. At this point, it's absolutely clear that Iraq had no WMD.

Second, the issue of the surge having "worked" is a bit trickier, but not much. The increase in troops (surge) may have contributed to fewer deaths, but other factors were probably more important:

1) The civil war peaked in 2006 and was more or less over before the surge.
2) We were helped by the sunni "awakening" groups, who were ex-enemy insurgents who we basically bought off.
3) We were helped even more by the fact that al-Sadr's shiite army, the "mahdi army" decided to step aside before the surge.

So to insinuate that the surge somehow saved the day is highly misleading. Besides, if the surge worked so well, then why does Iraq remain a basket case: Millions remain displaced, extreme violence seems more or less continuous, the infrastructure and economy remain destroyed, and they don't have a functioning government.

Then, of course, jkachmar goes on to call Obama a hypocrite.

Posted by: dougd1 | September 1, 2010 2:08 PM | Report abuse

To some, it seems that everything President Obama does and everything he says is a mistake. I'm sick of the negative chatter!

Posted by: betty1522 | September 1, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

To some, it seems that everything President Obama does and everything he says is a mistake. I'm sick of the negative chatter!

Posted by: betty1522 | September 1, 2010 2:32 PM | Report abuse

To some, it seems that everything President Obama does and everything he says is a mistake. I'm sick of the negative chatter!

Posted by: betty1522 | September 1, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

The war is over.

Moron.

Posted by: lindalovejones | September 1, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

With all this country has been through with the war and it's impact on this country, Iraq, and it's region, Obama's message almost put me to sleep. I'm surprised Obama didn't doze off. Obama keeps on message. You've got to hand it to him. The direction he's taking this country is more important then saying what we did in Iraq not only changed the region, but change the thinking of terrorist if you attack us there's no place you can go where we can't find you. Obama as shameful as it was implied the deaths of our soldiers is more of a reason for him to continue on with what he's doing. I didn't know our soldiers in Iraq died so Obama could transform this country to socialism. Once again, Obama ignored our greatness as a country and promoted his social justice. It's the economy stupid. Iraq is just a side issue to social justice and transforming this country to socialism.

Posted by: houstonian | September 1, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

As a Democrat, I despair of the President's desire to be the College-Professor-In-Chief. This was another useless speech similar to the mosque one and countless others he has delivered. I wish someone he respects would explain to him that being President, in fact holding any executive position, is about power and the exercise thereof. I don't think I've ever seen a President who seemed to enjoy being President less. He is drowning the Democratic Party this fall by trying to make debating points. Before the election there were those who said the lack of executvie experience would hurt Obama. We did not listen of course, but they were partially right.

Posted by: 54465446 | September 1, 2010 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Unfortunately he will look as silly as Bush on the carrier when we have to send the troops back into combat as civil war breaks out in Iraq. This was almost but not quite as stupid as the mosque speech and Ramadan dinner. It's almost as if he WANTS the Dems to lose big in November. Well that was a short two years of power!

Posted by: 54465446

Wooohoooo, that's a good one! No one could look as stupid as Bush on that carrier, flight suit and codpiece all carefully arranged. If Iraq breaks out in war, we don't have to send anyone. It's Iraq's problem becuase that's why over 4,000 troops died; so Iraq would have the FREEDOM to make its own choices.

Jeez. Talk about stupid.

Posted by: arancia12 | September 1, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

before you start criticizing ssomeone else review how you put words together in a sentence.."We knew that American has ended its combat role in Iraq."

Posted by: sabrina2 | September 1, 2010 2:59 PM | Report abuse

before you criticize the President for content peruse your sentence structure and use of words.."We knew that American has ended its combat role in Iraq"

Posted by: sabrina2 | September 1, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Seems like many of you want a CinC "Cheerleader-in-Chief" instead of a Commander-in-Chief.

You had that in Bush. As a matter of fact, he was a cheerleader at Harvard. You know Harvard, that Ivy League school so loved by the blue-bloods and academics that conservatives hate.

Cheerleading got us into two useless wars. A commander will get us out.

Posted by: arancia12 | September 1, 2010 3:05 PM | Report abuse

arancia12 wrote:

"If Iraq breaks out in war, we don't have to send anyone. It's Iraq's problem becuase that's why over 4,000 troops died; so Iraq would have the FREEDOM to make its own choices."

You say if, I say when. The split between Shiite and Sunni (to say nothing of the Kurds) will inevitably result in civil war. We still have more than 50,000 military personnel in Iraq, most of which will not be leaving soon despite the speech. To think we would stand by is inconceivable.

Posted by: 54465446 | September 1, 2010 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Sadly, I don't think the democrats will be around long enough for anyone to notice their Kool-Aid mustaches...

Posted by: sladenyv1 | September 1, 2010 3:16 PM | Report abuse

A speech of worthless political blah, blah rhetoric.
I was waiting for him to admit that if we would have followed Obama's advice (no surge of troops) that our troops would still be deeply mired in fighting in Iraq and many more would have died.
(And do remember, the time-line for troop withdrawals from Iraq were negotiated under the Bush administration in November 2008. Obama had nothing to do with these negotiations.)
Now Obama has more US troops dying in Afghanistan (his favorite of the two wars), employing the troop surge tactic he detested in Iraq.
Where in the speech was the communication to the Middle East that the US will be there to support Iraq to grow and become a showcase of democracy, freedom and an economic power house?
Cut and run was all one could hear in his "turn a page" cliché.
A failed speech by a failing President.

Posted by: Canson | September 1, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

I always agree with everything Obama says, as well as Jon Stewart. That way I can freely engage in groupthink at my local Starbucks while drinking a $5.00 cup of coffee, with my $375 stroller outside. It's easier than thinking for myself-

Posted by: rlmayville
_________________

I always disagree with everything the President says just like Rush, Sister Sarah, and Brother Beck tell me to. That way I can freely engage in groupthink at my Teaparty rally while toting my $500 loaded rifle and my Bible while my gut hangs out of my Nobama T-shirt and I complain about immigrants and socialists...it's easier than thinking for myself.


Now see how stupid stereotypes are?

Posted by: arancia12 | September 1, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

It's a sad state of affairs when the best comment is a rogue post from a Hong Kong merchant selling knock off clothing.

Posted by: masonjahr | September 1, 2010 3:27 PM | Report abuse

I was waiting for him to admit that if we would have followed Obama's advice (no surge of troops) that our troops would still be deeply mired in fighting in Iraq and many more would have died.


Posted by: Canson

_______________

Instead he wisely noted that had the former president followed Mr. Obama's advice we would never have fought in Iraq, we would never have been mired in fighting, and we would not have lost any lives in Iraq.

Nor would we have lost billions of dollars nor expend billions treating injuries and PTSD in returning troops.

Thanks for bringing that up.

Posted by: arancia12 | September 1, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen, I am so sorry that you felt President Obama was wasting your time last night when he took time to acknowledge the deaths of over 4400 American troops in Iraq. For those of us who have lost our beloved family members in Iraq, what is troubling was that so few Americans could take 20 minutes out of their busy lives to listen. I wish I could tell you how much time we family members and friends have spent grieving and honoring our dead soldiers. So please excuse us if we felt it only appropriate for President Obama to remind the nation of the many sacrifices made by those killed, wounded, and still serving. You should be ashamed, as should your paper, of making such callous remarks. (Aunt of Army Spc. Thomas Day Caughman, KIA @ age 20, in Baghdad on 6/9/04)

Posted by: carolcaughman | September 1, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

He needs a speech writer who has some wisdom and historical perspective -- not a 20 something poser sitting in Starbucks trying to bag chicks while writing this drivel.

Posted by: BadNews | September 1, 2010 3:35 PM | Report abuse

The speech was a ruse.

The real purpose was about flashing the new DECOR at the white house.
Obama is having the refurbishing at the White House - trying to stimulate the economy all by himself. Didn't you know that?

Next time, pay attention, Mr. Cohn.
Even Maureen Dowd at NYT (a fellow journolister at WaPo's competitor)got it!

Posted by: vatodio | September 1, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

backwater town - American slang for tiny rural town from days when trains had to stop to take in water in remote areas.

But in case you really aren't American, the best public schools are not always in US cities. Actually a lot of the worst are.

Worst Public Schools In USA - Locations

Milwaukee, WI
Minneapolis, MN
Pendleton, OR
Oakland, CA
New York, NY
Bronx, NY
Charleston, SC
Chicago, IL
Stockton, CA
Stamford, CT
Harrisburg, PA
Detroit, MI
Oklahoma City, OK
San Francisco, CA
Phoenix, AZ
Fresno, CA
Camden, NJ
Philadelphia, PA
Columbia, SC
Columbus, OH

http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/neighborhoods/school-district/ratings/worst100/

Posted by: Elisa2 | September 1, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

arancia12 wrote:

"If Iraq breaks out in war, we don't have to send anyone. It's Iraq's problem becuase that's why over 4,000 troops died; so Iraq would have the FREEDOM to make its own choices."

You say if, I say when. The split between Shiite and Sunni (to say nothing of the Kurds) will inevitably result in civil war. We still have more than 50,000 military personnel in Iraq, most of which will not be leaving soon despite the speech. To think we would stand by is inconceivable.


Posted by: 54465446

It doesn't matter if or when. I agree out remaining troops are still providing combat support but they can be withdrawn in an instant.

Saddam Hussein kept tribal fighting under control. He kept the country secular instead of Sunni or Shiite. Apparently you want a Saddam Hussein who is Christian.

We do not have to engage in fighting in Iraq if our national desire is not to. We didn't have to go there to begin with but Americans were duped. Nothing is inconceivable unless a conservative is back in the White House. Then it's inconceivable that we will have peace.

You know the saying, fool me once, shame on me, fool me again...fool you...er, fool me...well fool me once can't get fooled again. (Tip of the hat to G.W. Bush)

Posted by: arancia12 | September 1, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

He needs a speech writer who has some wisdom and historical perspective -- not a 20 something poser sitting in Starbucks trying to bag chicks while writing this drivel.

Posted by: BadNews
_____________________

Must have borrowed his speechwriter from Mrs. Palin's FaceBook page.

Posted by: arancia12 | September 1, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

arancia wrote:

'It doesn't matter if or when. I agree out remaining troops are still providing combat support but they can be withdrawn in an instant.

Saddam Hussein kept tribal fighting under control. He kept the country secular instead of Sunni or Shiite. Apparently you want a Saddam Hussein who is Christian.

We do not have to engage in fighting in Iraq if our national desire is not to."

There won't be any Christian dictator in Iraq, but there might be a dictator of some kind. We can't pull out in an instant, unless you prefer the scenes from the end of Vietnam with helicopters being pushed off carrier decks. We shouldn't have gone in at all, but we did, and now we can't get out with a snap of the fingers. That's why Obama should never have made the speech that will surely come back and bite him in the . . .

Posted by: 54465446 | September 1, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Carolcaughman, i love you comment, some of us care about the numbers of SOLDERS we lost in a WAR that didn't have to take place. I'm so for the Solders that home, but i will be happer when all our Solders are home from Iraq and AFGAN.
THANK GOD FOR THEIR SAFE RETURN.

Posted by: gallagher591 | September 1, 2010 4:01 PM | Report abuse

The President had a lot to do with that speech. The venue was correct. The content was also correct. He had to make a public statement to the world with the truth about what we did and what more we are going to do. He had to do it in such a way that would not deflate the role of the men and women in uniform. He said everything he needed to say.

I challenge you to read the speech and ask yourself what was he supposed to add or leave out? You want bells and whistles on the ugly truth. Don't criticize the man for painfully putting lipstick on an obvious pig.

Posted by: c2river | September 1, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen, If you don't know what this speech was about tell let me tell you. Bush lied, thousands died including our own men and women in the armed forces. Bush made up information, started a war with the GOP's blessing. Then spent a trillion dollars on it. President Obama kept a campaign promise and announced to the country the end of hostilities. And because of Bush's war our economy tanked.
Posted by: sumo1
====*====*====*====*====*====*====*====*
It is unfortunate that you have allowed partisan politics to obscure your ability to objective concerning those events which led to the economic dilema which presented itself during the first few months of Obama's presidency. It is apparent that you have not objectively researched the facts, but prefer to be deceived by your own ignorance.

I did not blindly support Bush, nor do I attempt to defend him here. I have my own issues with Bush. But I will not blindly lay the blame for the present economic crisis solely upon his shoulders. It was the Democratic policies of that era and before which contributed dramatically to the economic melt down we all face now.

Unlike you, I am not bias or tainted by some errant political view point espoused by Republicans or Democrats. The Iraq war grew out of many different issues and was not only the brain child of Bush through what is claimed to be false intelligence reports, but because of egos.

Many Democratic leaders endorsed our intervention into Iraq, while some opposed it. Might I suggest you return to yesteryear and read the news media reports to see that I am correct. As to the costs of the Iraq war, the cost of the Iraq war was less than 4% of our national budget (per CBO reports) in 2009. Our real economic problems rest with irresponsible spending on domestic entitlements and congressional malfeasance, which is evidenced by a national approval rate of Congress at 11%, which is the lowest rating of confidence since this government was established.

I find that Obama's remedial stimulus policy is grossly lacking and has produced little impact in turning this economy around. It took him over 16 moths to endorse spending to help small business development in this country. Tax cuts have always worked for it stimulates spending by the average tax payer. They have more disposable income with the tax cuts, which feeds the coffers of our national and state treasuries.

Posted by: Jordan48 | September 1, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

arancia wrote:


There won't be any Christian dictator in Iraq, but there might be a dictator of some kind. We can't pull out in an instant, unless you prefer the scenes from the end of Vietnam with helicopters being pushed off carrier decks. We shouldn't have gone in at all, but we did, and now we can't get out with a snap of the fingers. That's why Obama should never have made the speech that will surely come back and bite him in the . . .
_____________

It doesn't matter what I prefer. I simply mentioned that we don't have to engage in war in Iraq and that we have the technology to remove our remaining troops quickly. Will that happen, I don't know but we don't HAVE to engage. And in my opinion, we should not. We shouldn't have been there to begin with.

We actually CAN get out with a snap of the the fingers. I retired from the AF not long ago and I am fairly knowledgable about our capabilities. We have the finest airlift in the world.

Iraq will be what Iraq wants to be. That is the nature of Democracy and supposedly why we invaded to begin with. In my opinion the will be and must be a dictator in Iraq. Nature abhors a vacuum and right now it's a sucking hole as far as leadership is concerned.

The dictator we knew wasn't good enough but the dictator that will come may well be far worse than the last. Then all the warmongers in the US can look in the mirror and know, it is their fault.

Posted by: arancia12 | September 1, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Cohen, I am so sorry that you felt President Obama was wasting your time last night when he took time to acknowledge the deaths of over 4400 American troops in Iraq. For those of us who have lost our beloved family members in Iraq, what is troubling was that so few Americans could take 20 minutes out of their busy lives to listen. I wish I could tell you how much time we family members and friends have spent grieving and honoring our dead soldiers. So please excuse us if we felt it only appropriate for President Obama to remind the nation of the many sacrifices made by those killed, wounded, and still serving. You should be ashamed, as should your paper, of making such callous remarks. (Aunt of Army Spc. Thomas Day Caughman, KIA @ age 20, in Baghdad on 6/9/04)
Posted by: carolcaughman
====*====*====*====*====*====*====*====*
My heartfelt condolences to you and your family members on your loss. I was not able to watch President Obama's speech, but I later read it verbatim. I was impressed on several points.

It is time for President Obama to stop playing the "blame game" and truly lead this nation. I feel he made a good first step in his speech towards this end last night. I shall wait to see what he does over the next few months before I celebrate.

Posted by: Jordan48 | September 1, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

@carolcaughman I was scrolling through these comments (some quite wretched) and was most moved by your post. To me that is what President Obama was doing last night-honouring the service and the memory of the military and their families. Thank you for your poignant reminder.

Posted by: vpucsekberman | September 1, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

c2river wrote:

"He had to make a public statement to the world with the truth about what we did and what more we are going to do"

No he didn't anymore than he HAD to have a Ramadan dinner and he HAD to make that speech about the mosque. What he HAS to do is use his power more wisely and help Dems from getting overrun in the midterms. What good did it do to have his overwhelming election if he winds up looking as lonley as Dennis Kucinich after November?

Posted by: 54465446 | September 1, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

W loves the troops. Give me a break!!

They weren't properly supplied or protected during his tenure.

And Rummy.....what a joke....why wasn't he fired when he said.."we go to war with the army we have" when this was an ELECTIVE war. No armour shield for what were essentially just hummers. No proper body armour or helmets which private monies eventually supplied.

Come on Obama!!

Aren't you being generous with other peoples' lives?

Posted by: celested91 | September 1, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

"Bush was a dismal President."

... and Cohen is a dismal journalist.

Posted by: scott3 | September 1, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Getting back to Obama's speech:

The issues of foreign policy and economics are each sufficiently big and complicated that Obama should have given the country TWO separate speeches at least: One speech on his comprehensive vision for America's role in the world going forward; the other speech on his comprehensive vision for America's economy going forward.

Obama just hasn't used the bully pulpit enough. This was only his second speech from the Oval Office in two years.

So what we got last night was a piece of a foreign policy speech Scotch-taped to a piece of an economic policy speech. So Obama didn't really speak on the context of the Afghanistan War--where does it fit in Obama's foreign policy? Nor did he have any new exciting proposals on economic programs to move the country forward either.

Posted by: sinz52 | September 1, 2010 5:11 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the opinion offered from both ends of that political spectrum that the speech was pretty much a muddle. It contained "points of interest," as all presidential speeches inevitably will, but there was no real central theme or focus. I think it will help President Obama in the polls a bit, since it didn't really contain much of anything new or inflamatory, except perhaps not giving President Bush credit for the surge that has effectively won the Iraq war. (The hiring of Sunni and Shi'a men to support efforts against the insurgency was part of the surge plan, by the way. A lot of people, including VP Biden, have missed that point. The surge gave those quietly opposed to al Qaeda in Iraq and the insurgency the support needed for the to active oppose them.) Sometimes a somewhat vapid, vaccuous speech that doesn't raise any hackles is a good thing, particularly when you are under pressure and support is eroding because of the controversial things you have done.

Having said that, I can agree in part with Mr. Cohen, and with those who say the speech had real content. I think the lack of theme was Mr. Cohen's central point, and his critics miss that, as they are much more forgiving of that lack of structure and theme. For me, it was a waste of time. I didn't care about lack of theme, etc., and there was nothing new or interesting in those presidential "points of interest," as they were more directed to the choir ... and I'm not in the choir.

Posted by: darkmatter1 | September 1, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

Three things I took from the speech
1) Obama's grandfather, you know the one he said liberated Auschwitz, and the retracted, was a veteran of WWII.

2) Obama wanted to make sure we saw pictures of his family, so lots of pictures, the one baptizing his daughter with Rev Wright was removed.

3) We need Cap & Trade and this was as good a time as any to push for it!

Posted by: pauldia | September 1, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Pointless to knock this particular Obama speeechlet. He only has ONE theme, "I'm great, I love me, you are in need of education...". We are talking about a none-dimensional, narcissistic schmuck.

Posted by: craigslsst | September 1, 2010 5:41 PM | Report abuse

Somebody else's kid, right, dude?

Posted by: phvr38 | September 1, 2010 5:59 PM | Report abuse

What mistake. Having the best military in the world is nothing if you don't have industry as its lead. Both are intertwined and divergence is the death of empires.

Posted by: AMQ1 | September 1, 2010 6:02 PM | Report abuse

"Support our Troops" is a convenient but meaningless slogan. Of course we do. But this does not mean that anything "the troops" are ordered to do is wise or just in the scope of history. Hence the waste of two ill concieved wars.

Quick, tell us why we were in Iraq for years after Saddam was executed. No one knows, or no one can articulate a good policy reason for invading and destroying Iraq once the charade of WMD's is disposed of.

We wasted a generation of combat soldiers. And now POTUS is doubling down in A-stan, and his speech last night was the most blatant about-face sellout message we have yet heard from him. Good riddance in 2012.

Posted by: roboturkey | September 1, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse

The speech was perfunctory and passionless--just like the president that Obama has chosen to be. Plainly, the man loves the perks of the job but hates the job. Obama was elected to serve the people of this nation, but to date, he's been deaf to their needs.

Posted by: judithod | September 1, 2010 6:22 PM | Report abuse

The speech was just an opportunity for our Narcissist-in-Chief to get on TV in prime time to try to BS the American people. Few even listen to him any more, and fewer still believe anything he says.

Posted by: samadams25 | September 1, 2010 6:38 PM | Report abuse

This is funny.
Here I was all set to rip in to Col. Sanders here, then I read the comment section.

ROFLMAO!

You people think he's a conservative?

again, ROFLMAO

From his March 23 WAPO piece;

"Mitch McConnell is right. The Republican Senate leader, a man whose vision is to deny others theirs, told the New York Times that President Obama's health-care proposal was part of an attempt to "turn us into a Western European country," which, the good Lord willing, is what will now happen."

Oh what an enlightened purveyor of conservative thought!!

ROFLMAO

You people are idiots


Good column, Colonel.

Great tactic
You can pretty much count on the lefty comments being more stupid than anything you could right.

I've already forgotten what an idiot I thought you were.

Posted by: MrMeaner | September 1, 2010 6:46 PM | Report abuse


it as if, as Chris Plante said this morning on the radio, Obama had a gun pointed at his head from just off-camera.

totally comatose-looking, washed-up, grasping at freakin straws.

really really bad speechwriting, too.
i think even the teleprompter had acid reflux reading some of these thought missiles.

Posted by: ninatotenburg | September 1, 2010 6:48 PM | Report abuse

write, that is.

See, I lost IQ points before I could even finish one comment here.
This is where intellectualism comes to die

Posted by: MrMeaner | September 1, 2010 6:49 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me. There are still fifty thousand troops in Iraq. If you all really think the killing of Americans has stopped, your naivete betrays you.

Posted by: djpj57 | September 1, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Excuse me. There are still fifty thousand troops in Iraq. If you all really think the killing of Americans has stopped, your naivete betrays you.

Posted by: djpj57 | September 1, 2010 7:11 PM | Report abuse

Wow...just wow! Liberals will believe anything...what a bunch of saps!

50,000 troops left, including SF and Seals. What do you think they do, plan socials?

Oh and I would like to thank the Idiot in Chief for reiterating our withdrawal from Afghanistan! Just throw a bit more fuel on that fire!

22 Troops killed this weekend alone! Total troops killed in 86 months under GWB 630......total troops killed in 19 months under Obama 632

Where oh where is Code Pink????

Posted by: MizAmerica | September 1, 2010 7:16 PM | Report abuse

I don't often agree with Richard Cohen, but why Obama wasted our time with that speech was beyond me. I suppose he was trying to reach out to his radical left wing base with the troops are home part, and then pivot to the economy, but that part was really sad. The extreme left wing policies of Obama and the Democrats in Congress are failing miserably and everybody knows it. Trying to pretend otherwise is just irritating. All in all Obama is out of touch, and lost his touch!

Posted by: valwayne | September 1, 2010 8:12 PM | Report abuse

Honestly, I thought he was using the opportunity to not only begrudgingly praise the military, but paint the war as a "distraction" from his efforts to "fix" the economy. (because he believes we are as stupid as your typical left wing WAPO poster)
I think the references to Bush stem from various polls that indicate that if given the choice, more people would rather have W still in charge than Chairman O.

Posted by: MrMeaner | September 1, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Just for the record, I don't think Bush was a dismal president. He actually had values, whether you agreed with him, or not. I can't see any values in the current administration.

Posted by: rs824407 | September 1, 2010 8:42 PM | Report abuse

hey richie, you got something screwed up. the love for our military people doesn't squelch thought or critizism. its low-life lib-progressives yelling racism every time somebody points out how screwed up this administration and the dems are.

Posted by: 12thgenamerican | September 1, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

hey richie, you got something screwed up. the love for our military people doesn't squelch thought or critizism. its low-life lib-progressives yelling racism every time somebody points out how screwed up this administration and the dems are.

Posted by: 12thgenamerican | September 1, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

hey richie, you got something screwed up. the love for our military people doesn't squelch thought or critizism. its low-life lib-progressives yelling racism every time somebody points out how screwed up this administration and the dems are.

Posted by: 12thgenamerican | September 1, 2010 8:50 PM | Report abuse

Obama is the mistake (probably literally from birth judging from the way both parents abandoned him), not the speech.

Posted by: wewintheylose | September 1, 2010 9:07 PM | Report abuse

The speech was lazy and showed no emotion....read: The Democrats Have Painted themselves Into A Corner...at....
http://cooperscopy.blogspot.com/

Posted by: ronsuev | September 1, 2010 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Instead of his affirmation-of-Bush speechifying from the Oval Office, Obama could have held a press conference where he could be asked tough questions and information extracted from him. But this wasn't an option, just like the messiah's refusal to debate during the primaries, swiping the nomination with cunning and the scheming complicity of party insiders, such as Dean and Pelosi.

Posted by: crat3 | September 1, 2010 9:56 PM | Report abuse

What is really funny is that Cohen supported the war originally. Yeah, look it up. He's a dismal columnist.

Posted by: redikop3 | September 1, 2010 10:10 PM | Report abuse

this was already posted this morning and a
repeat. The world moves a little faster in a nanosecond.

Posted by: jayrkay | September 1, 2010 10:13 PM | Report abuse

I am posting as a rebuttal. Not a single post for two days.Please be sure.Thank you

Posted by: jayrkay | September 1, 2010 10:16 PM | Report abuse

I am posting as a rebuttal. Not a single post for two days.Please be sure.Thank you

Posted by: jayrkay | September 1, 2010 10:17 PM | Report abuse

actually, mr cohen was only repeating what most commentators have said that it really was sort of an unenthralling speech. i didn't listen at all. ever time obamalosi says anything i grab my wallet and my copy of the constitution, because both are in danger.

Posted by: jibe | September 1, 2010 10:32 PM | Report abuse

I am an Obama supporter but the man is incapable of giving a meaningful delivery of a speech when he is perched behind a desk. Saw him today behind a lectern (the Israeli-Palestinian confab) and he had his mojo on again.

Posted by: mendonsa | September 1, 2010 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Go to hell you liberal ppussiieess. Comrade obama is not worthy to tie the lace of George Bush's shoe.

Posted by: shukov | September 2, 2010 3:29 AM | Report abuse

Go to hell you liberal ppussiieess. Comrade obama is not worthy to tie the lace of George Bush's shoe.

Posted by: shukov | September 2, 2010 3:31 AM | Report abuse

Obama would have to improve exponentially to make it to "dismal".

There is no way this unqualified, unimaginantive, unaccomplished, unethical man ever should have been elected president and mailing in this speech is just more proof.

Posted by: NoDonkey | September 2, 2010 6:23 AM | Report abuse

Obama is without question, the most intelligent and well spoken orator this country has ever seen. His speeches are brilliant examples of political poetry filled with timeless wisdom and dare I say it, flawless logic. Obama is so dreamy!

Posted by: AverageJoeBob | September 2, 2010 6:35 AM | Report abuse

Or is Obama the radical anti-Christ, stealth Muslim, foreign born, racist, Marxist, Socialist, destroyer of Capitalism and lover of all things non-American? Is he a danger to freedom and the free world and needs to be incarcerated at Gitmo until President Palin offers him a pardon?

Posted by: AverageJoeBob | September 2, 2010 6:50 AM | Report abuse

Or is Obama the radical anti-Christ, stealth Muslim, foreign born, racist, Marxist, Socialist, destroyer of Capitalism and lover of all things non-American? Is he a danger to freedom and the free world and needs to be incarcerated at Gitmo until President Palin offers him a pardon?

Posted by: AverageJoeBob | September 2, 2010 6:51 AM | Report abuse

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