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First Thoughts: Obama's Afghanistan Speech

President Obama tonight delivered a speech outlining his long-awaited strategy for Afghanistan -- adding 30,000 more troops in the country beginning in early 2010 -- in a sober address at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point that sought to lay out the stakes of the conflict while also making clear to the American public that this was not another Vietnam or Iraq.

Below you'll find our first thoughts about the speech. We welcome your thoughts as well in the comments section.

Location, location, location: Choosing West Point as the backdrop for his address was meant to send a very clear message: the president is well aware of the sacrifices being made by our men and women in uniform. The audience -- at least what was visible from the pool camera feed -- featured dozens of cadets as well as senior military officials, a powerful visible symbol that Obama was making the decision with the fate of the troops as his first, second and third priorities. The speech sought to make that plain as well. "I do not make this decision lightly," he said twice. And, at another point, Obama offered a moment of straight empathy: "I know this decision asks even more of you." Given that Obama's 30,000 troop allocation is less than the 40,000 advocated by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, he and his advisers made sure that -- from a visual and a rhetorical perspective -- he was protected from the "not listening to the generals on the ground" argument.

Bashing Bush: Obama offered a series of subtle (and not so subtle) jabs at the Bush administration's decision to go into Iraq in 2003, marking it as the catalyst for the deterioration of the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. "Afghanistan is not lost," Obama said at one point. "But for several years it has moved backwards. The Taliban has gained momentum." He added that when he took office in January there were only 32,000 American troops in Afghanistan as compared to 160,000 in Iraq. While Obama avoided directly blaming former president George W. Bush for the situation in Afghanistan, a careful reading of Obama's decision to offer a detailed time line of how we got to where we are in the country is rightly seen as an attempt to make clear to the American people that he is making the best of a situation he believes was mucked up by the man who preceded him in office.

A war of necessity: Knowing that the specter of Iraq is sure to dog any decision about troop commitments in Afghanistan, the president went out of his way to draw distinctions between the two wars. "We were compelled to fight a war," he said of Afghanistan. "We did not ask for this fight." Later, he talked directly to the Aghan people ("we have no desire to occupy your country") in an attempt to answer one of the major critiques of America's involvement in Iraq. Time and again, Obama insisted that winning in Afghanistan was an essential part of keeping the country safe from terrorists and avoiding another Sept. 11; he repeatedly used phrases like "vital national security interests" and "our security is at stake."

Sober, serious and matter of fact: Smiles from the chief executive were sparse in the address -- sending a message about the seriousness of the topic, the stakes at hand and the difficulties ahead. Obama also avoided the sort of high-level oratory for which he has become famous (infamous in some circles) and instead opted for a largely workman-like delivery that laid out in blunt terms the "why" behind his decision. Obama did, as he has taken to doing in his major speeches since taking office, close his address with a lofty call to America's better angels -- rejecting the idea of "might makes right" for his own Abraham Lincoln's "right makes might" formulation.

Persuasion?: It's not immediately clear from the speech whether Obama will change any minds. The early statements from members of Congress were predictable -- liberal Democrats largely decried adding more troops the country while conservatives offered tempered praise for the president. Despite the hue and cry, it's hard to believe that congressional Democrats will serve as a significant impediment to Obama's plan in Afghanistan and, while Republicans may tut-tut the idea of announcing an end date for the American presence in Afghanistan, they, too, will almost certainly go along with Obama in the main. From a political perspective, this decision will be Obama's alone; members of Congress will use the "defer to the commander in chief" argument if questioned about their support in the coming election year. While Afghanistan will certainly be on the minds of some voters in the midterms, polling suggests that the economy remains the overriding concern for the average American.

By Chris Cillizza  |  December 1, 2009; 9:05 PM ET
Categories:  White House  
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Next: Morning Fix: Obama's job summit symbolism

Comments

Since snowmelt did not gain the requisite 10 votes for the Troll Hall of Fame, his candidacy is rejected. Sorry. melt. Maybe next year.

@jerome: are you still holding that mirror for Morris Day for a living? Just askin'.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | December 3, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

With every Republican poster here exhibiting rage, dishonesty, and boorishness in every post does anyone reading see anything but desperation? Posting huge lies, posting the same paragraphs over and over, in multiple threads, this isn't a strategy, it's turbo-charged denial.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 3, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

"Time to find a place for rational debate free of ideology, racism and hatred."

Hey when you find that place, could you tell us where Heaven is?

Posted by: shrink2 | December 3, 2009 12:50 PM | Report abuse

God what sewer this blog has become. Time to find a place for rational debate free of ideology, racism and hatred.

Posted by: JRM2 | December 3, 2009 12:29 PM | Report abuse

Reading the comments posted here in response to a serious opinion piece, I think the Washington Post has something to worry about. A comparable analysis published in the New York times would have drawn dozens of thoughtful and informed comments. Here, we get the usual adolescent ramblings and back-biting cross-posts typical of some semi-literate movie fans' web site.

It must be really rewarding for columnists and other opinion-writers on the Post to see the reaction they're getting. (They probably avoid reader comments altogether.)

Posted by: jeromenorris | December 3, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

shrink writes
"Oh my goodness.

bsimon1 had I known you were working for the White House, I never would have said anything nice to you EVER!"


Believe me, its a surprise to me too. I suppose this means I'll have to stop talking to myself. Or can I continue, as long as I only say mean things?

.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 3, 2009 9:47 AM | Report abuse

What am I not understanding? What am I missing?"

Posted by: drindl | December 2, 2009 10:10 AM


A brain!

Who is the greater blog clogging hog, or is it hag? Drivl or the flamer?

Posted by: snowbama | December 3, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

"Unlike Vietnam, we are not facing a broad-based popular insurgency." - President Obama.

In Vietnam, we fought the same enemy the French fought - an ideology of national liberation. Essentially, the same war the French fought.

We are now fighting the same Jihad the Russians fought and doing it on a shoestring, with one hand tied behind our backs. And, expecting a different result?

Posted by: elfraed | December 3, 2009 5:28 AM | Report abuse

you'll have to get someone else to help you pop that spring back into your head, champ, 'cause tôi phải đi ngủ đễ đi làm sáng mày.

Please continue posting and as a favor make your party affiliation clear in every post.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 3, 2009 4:25 AM | Report abuse

re. GoldilocksTanzenite's "(my) raw racist hate in my posts" bit, is so typical of the black racists who can't respond to facts and then turns to the race-card to try to shut people up. Obama's entire adult life was one of racist white--hating and America--hating assocciations, which you are pooh--poohing and defending.
YOU ARE THE RACIST!!!

Posted by: armpeg | December 3, 2009 4:18 AM | Report abuse

No, it's because they don't want you around.

Nobody likes listening to a racist ranting.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 3, 2009 4:00 AM | Report abuse

Poor GoldAndTanzonite (who sounds more like Barney Frank every day) is correct on my not having had a holiday Thanksgiving dinner invite from people, but not because they didn't want me around. Unlike GoldilockTanzonite, who'se probably on welfare, I had to work thru Thanksgiving because I have payrolls to meet, and taxes to pay. With GoldilockTanzonite's idol Comrade Obama in office, that might not last.

Posted by: armpeg | December 3, 2009 3:55 AM | Report abuse

I'd say we now have four posters here who if they are not already under inpatient psychiatric care, really need to be.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 3, 2009 3:48 AM | Report abuse

The global-warming BS now going on though isn't about cleaning up the environment, it's about creating a global central government to control all the people on the planet.

==

Better adjust the tinfoil, sounds like the rays are getting in somewhere around your frontal lobes (pssst "forehead")

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 3, 2009 3:45 AM | Report abuse

Actually armpeg ol' bourbon and soda if anyone were to stumble in here and read around, and was then asked "who's the hissy-fittiest thrower in the blog?" the answer would certainly be "armpeg."

All this stuff about people adoring Obama, it's like you live on the set of Doctor Caligari and you get all your perceptions of reality through twisted and jagged apertures. One doesn't need a dog's hearing to get the unmistakable sense of raw racist hate in your posts, the above no exception, so having a black man as your national leader, well, must be a real dark time in that squalid basement apartment with the Wii and the TV that is Casa de Armpeg.

Suffer, baby, suffer.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 3, 2009 3:43 AM | Report abuse

Don't hold your breath 37thand0street expecting the Democrap Socialist--controlled Washington Post to tell the truth and report the facts on the man-made global warming scam these con-artists are pulling. They're so far in the tank for the Democrap Socialist Party, they might as well register as their propaganda arm.
The global-warming BS now going on though isn't about cleaning up the environment, it's about creating a global central government to control all the people on the planet. What they envision is a George Orwell 1984--like one.

Posted by: armpeg | December 3, 2009 3:38 AM | Report abuse

Poor GoldAndTanzanite.
We few conservatives (about 3 I believe) on this almost all far left wing blog, where the homos, ghetto-trash, America--haters, assorted Socialist and Communist--thinkers, and milquetoast's like GoldilocksTanzonite, all come to to defend whatever their tin foil little god Obama does, are having hissi--fits over the few of us because we dare to tell it like it is, and call Obama exactly what he is and always was. A communist, a racist white--hater, and a America--hater. All one has to do is look at his record, and to check out the company he's kept for all of his adult life.
The truth hurts!

Posted by: armpeg

==

I just love it when you guys post stuff as bent as this. The fact I only see stuff as ugly as this coming from uh people on the right goes a long way toward making my world a coherent place.

"homos"

"ghetto-trash"

Boy have you ever missed the bus. Got a lot of holiday dinner invitations from people who enjoy having you around, I bet.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 3, 2009 3:32 AM | Report abuse

Is the Washington Post going to continue in the cover-up of the global warming scandal ?????


For the Washington Post, which busted open Watergate, the last two weeks have been a low low point.

The Washington Post really should report on its front page exactly what was in the emails - that the faked data call into question the validity of the entire global warming theory.


Why else would scientists fake data - if that data originally supported their theory ???


AND then to tolerate anyone complaining that the emails were "stolen" - when the Washington Post STANDS TALL IN HISTORY IN THE PENTAGON PAPERS CASE, is just unbelievable.

Today's editors at the Washington Post really can not tear down the heroic actions of those who fought the government in the Pentagon Papers case.


But they can at least RESPECT THE LEGACY OF THE WASHINGTON POST ITSELF - BY OPPOSING THE COMMENTS BY BARBARA BOXER TODAY.

The Washington Post really should live up to what it is -

Every single quote from the Climategate emails should be posted on the front page of the Washington Post


Every single charge of faked data, of manipulated data, of fabricated data should be printed on the front page of the Washington Post.


The Washington Post, in its Editorial Page, should state CLEARY that the VERY ACT OF FAKING DATA CALLS INTO QUESTION THE VALIDITY OF THE THEORY ITSELF.


WHY ELSE WOULD SCIENTISTS FAKE DATA IF THEIR DATA SUPPORTED THEIR THEORY TO BEGIN WITH ?????

THE VERY ACTIONS OF THE SCIENTIST PROVE THAT THE GLOBAL WARMING THEORY IS FALSE.


THE WASHINGTON POST NEEDS TO LIVE UP TO ITS OWN LEGACY - ITS OWN HISTORY.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 3, 2009 2:51 AM | Report abuse

Poor GoldAndTanzanite.
We few conservatives (about 3 I believe) on this almost all far left wing blog, where the homos, ghetto-trash, America--haters, assorted Socialist and Communist--thinkers, and milquetoast's like GoldilocksTanzonite, all come to to defend whatever their tin foil little god Obama does, are having hissi--fits over the few of us because we dare to tell it like it is, and call Obama exactly what he is and always was. A communist, a racist white--hater, and a America--hater. All one has to do is look at his record, and to check out the company he's kept for all of his adult life.
The truth hurts!

Posted by: armpeg | December 3, 2009 2:48 AM | Report abuse

I'll take Obama's three months to come up with an actual plan for resolving Afghanistan instead of some chest-thumping political tough-talkin' stunt ... over Bush's eight minutes of paralysis while planes converged on the Pentagon ... any day.

"Nope nunna them WMDs over here heh heh heh"

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 3, 2009 2:15 AM | Report abuse

Is this blog a microcosm of the American electorate?

Because the posters who come here to represent the GOP are, to a man, mental cases with stunted intellects. I doubt the combined energies of zouk, leapin, armpeg, and the birther freak could stay focused long enough to bake a loaf of bread.

I hope rage as sustained as that leads the whole bloody pack of them to early graves.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 3, 2009 2:01 AM | Report abuse

You just get upset when you can not control the conversation.

==

says the bedwetting little crybaby who does the same exact post thirty times in the same thread making every possible effort to control the conversation.

You're a freak.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 3, 2009 1:56 AM | Report abuse

Hypocritical.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 3, 2009 12:56 AM | Report abuse

Hypothetical.
Just imagine what the Democrap Socialists and the Democrap Socialist Party--controlled Main Stream Media would do to President George W. Bush had he:
1) not spoken to the general that he appointed, General David Petraeus, for 3 months after he had requested another 30,000 more boots on the ground.
2) had diddled around and was "thinking about it" (about Petraeus's request), in between his golf games and political campaigning to help Democrap governors in New Jersey and Virginia get elected.
3) had done nothing for 3 months to re-enforce our depleted military GI's in Afghanistan and Iraq, with a lot of them probably getting killed and maimed because of it.
4) had let the Al Queda and Taliban terrorists get stronger and gain territory because we didn't have the 30,000 more troops that were needed to hold what we had in the war there.
5) had not cared a sh** about our military guys in harms way there, or the bodybags of our brave dead soldiers comming in to Dover AFB, because our president had failed to re-enforce our guys in the field while "he was thinking about it" for 3 months.
We all know what would have happened.
Had this been President George W. Bush's doing there would have been another Watergate with headlines, editorials, newspaper and TV columnists and talking heads screaming, whining and with crocodile tears galore. The Democrap Socialists and the liberal aholes here, would have been up in arms telling us how rotten and low GWB and the GOP was to do something this despicable to out troops there, and on and on.
The difference is that it's their guy who abandoned our military men and women for 3 months "thinking about it" (to re-enforce our troops); it's their guy who didn't give a sh** about them and who got them killed because they were under-maned; it's their guy who didn't listen to his own General that he himself appointed to his post, and it's their guy who was too busy trying to get Democrap Socialists elected here than care what was going on over there.
So where was our MSM in all this, who didn't notice a thing going on and acted like the 3 monkeys? If it hadn't been for Fox News--the only true news media we Americans have left--we'd never have heard a thing. No wonder the left-wing Democrap Socialists hate Fox.

Posted by: armpeg | December 2, 2009 11:34 PM | Report abuse

The White House invoked Separation of Powers Doctrine to prevent Desiree Rogers from testifying in front of a Congressional Committee.


Can they be more Nixonian ???

Obama really should have seated served Michaele and Tareg Salahi dinner - sit them down and serve them dinner - that would have been the polite thing to do.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 2, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

The truth of the matter is that Obama's policy on Afghanistan is a complete disaster - he got the Surge right, but then he completely, all by himself, destroyed the effectiveness of that decision by declaring that we are leaving.


The whole point of the counter-insurgency strategy, and the whole point of the Surge, is to get the tribal leaders on our side, and to start working with us.


In the SAME PARAGRAPH, Obama completely destroyed his own policy by saying we were going to leave.


This sets THE RECORD for POLICY FAILURE IN PRESIDENTIAL HISTORY.

THAT YOU OBAMA, YOU ARE MAKING HISTORY AGAIN.

Obama has been a disaster in office - he messed up the stimulus - he gave all the money to leftist interests instead of actually creating jobs - and now Obama is a disaster in foreign policy.


Up to this point, Obama has only been an embarassment in foreign policy.


And chalk this one up to another campaign LIE.


Obama Lied.


Obama Lied.


Obama Lied.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 2, 2009 11:07 PM | Report abuse

GoldAndTanzanite


You just get upset when you can not control the conversation.


The problem is your ideas are inferior.


And most times, you don't even try to engage the ideas, you just try to intimate and harass. That does not win the argument.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 2, 2009 10:45 PM | Report abuse

Oh my goodness.

bsimon1 had I known you were working for the White House, I never would have said anything nice to you EVER! And Gold and Tanzanite, you better stop saying bad things to Republicans, they might not bother with the internets or even voting anymore.

Everybody, we have to stop being mean to the ignorant bigots who figured out how to get on the internets or they might get mad at us. If any right wing moron makes sense for a few electrons, we have to pretend they might be smart.

Good night.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 2, 2009 10:42 PM | Report abuse

broadwayjoe


You guys can't even decide if I'm in the Troll Hall of Fame or not ???


Is that the story???

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 2, 2009 10:37 PM | Report abuse

GoldAndTanzanite

Are you actually working for the White House?

bsimon1 is - he admitted it.


Anyone paid as a poster should reveal that - and how much they get paid per hour.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 2, 2009 10:28 PM | Report abuse

GoldAndTanzanite

Are you actually working for the White House?

bsimon1 is - he admitted it.


Anyone paid as a poster should reveal that - and how much they get paid per hour.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 2, 2009 10:27 PM | Report abuse

Sorry BWJ but zouk/_zouk/-zouk/snowbama fails the troll test.

To qualify as a HoF troll requires the the troll gets responses. And zouk in his many incarnations is simply too far over the top to qualify. Hardly anyone engages with him and we few who do are mostly exercising. The whole point of a troll is to provoke responses and tie up the discussion; by that metric (oh dear I used that word) 37th is a better troll, but he's not worthy of THoF inductions because his shtick is already tired.

Thumbs down.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 2, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Republicans. What are you going to do?
You courted and encouraged stupid bigots.

Meanwhile, more important questions remain.

I am worried about morale. Sure they are "all volunteers" but they are also all unprepared for what they are going to see and do and we need to take particular care of these people.

Last night Obama announced the exit strategy for this little war. So glad for that. There was no surprise.

Weeks ago somehow the BBC got a leak from Gordon Brown's people (and published it too) we were going to go this way. Surge and out. Fine with me. We just have to take care of the armed forces people. Blood has many things in it necessary for our survival. Our armed forces are one of those elements. As this war comes to an end, lets take care of the special people heading over there, now and when they come back.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 2, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

As for 37thand O, let's try one more time:

"The way you walked was thorny, through no fault of your own, but as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea, so tears run to a predestined end. Your suffering is over, [37 the troll]. Now you will find peace."

Posted by: broadwayjoe | December 2, 2009 8:34 PM | Report abuse

We are pleased to announce "snowmelt" has been nominated for induction into the Troll Hall of Fame. Quite an honor. No one in recent months has posted more idiotic, foolish, and offensive anti-BHO junk in this space than melt, sometimes on a 24/7 basis. Recent HOF inductees include Dianne72, AsperGirl, and the original 37thandO (not the current impostor).

Ten votes (from real people) are required for induction. So far melt has one vote--mine. All votes must be in by 12 Noon tomorrow. Good luck, melt.

Posted by: broadwayjoe | December 2, 2009 8:25 PM | Report abuse

I think perhaps we go about dealing with Armpeg, 37th & O and their ilk the wrong way.

Perhaps until next year when I see Zouk, Jake D, and the trolleluiah chorus on a blog like the fix, I will simply leave the blog to them.

Perhaps if we give Chris column to them as he seems to wish, someone might learn something.

Me, I may look for a new newspaper.

Posted by: ceflynline | December 2, 2009 8:06 PM | Report abuse

If Obama said we would leave in 2050 the gomers would still be screaming about "surrender date" and "appeasement" and all that nonsense, so why should anyone listen to them at all?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 2, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

Instead of complaining about the poster, why don't you deal with the issues ???

==

This from the guy who does the same post twenty times in one thread?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 2, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

That's not dealing with the issue. That's expressing psychosis.

==

Not even that, it's called "flooding," and it's blog clog.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 2, 2009 7:22 PM | Report abuse

Did it ever occur to you all that the winger posters --37, armpeg, leapin -- sound like BETAs of Aritificial Intelligence? Can't really respond to arguments

==

As long as I've been arguing this stuff I think I could count the articulate conservatives on one hand and still have most of the fingers left over. For a long time I thought they were just too angry to focus down and make sense, but it's an inescapable conclusion that they're just stupid.

I'll leave it to others to figure out the chicken and egg of the conservative <---> stupid relationship but my mind is made up.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 2, 2009 7:18 PM | Report abuse

should be 'from a simple program'

Posted by: drindl | December 2, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Did it ever occur to you all that the winger posters --37, armpeg, leapin -- sound like BETAs of Aritificial Intelligence? Can't really respond to arguments, repeat the same program over and over, have the same weird ungrammatical tics, like CAPITALIZATION for NO apparent reason?

well, there is some simple logic -- important words like DEMOCRAP are always capitalized. But really, think how much alike they sound -- how different are they than a simple program?

Posted by: drindl | December 2, 2009 6:53 PM | Report abuse

"Instead of complaining about the poster, why don't you deal with the issues ???"

Because your idea of "dealing with the issue" is to repeat your feelings over and over again. You think you and you alone have a monopoly on all perception and knowledge. You haven't answered a single of the many objections, questions, or other responses to your perspective, except by merely repeating your original assertion once again, sometimes with more caps, sometimes identically re-posting your previous comment.

That's not dealing with the issue. That's expressing psychosis. That's why *you* become the issue.

Posted by: nodebris | December 2, 2009 6:46 PM | Report abuse

Instead of complaining about the poster, why don't you deal with the issues ???


Yea.


I like the discussions here - they EXPOSE YOU.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 2, 2009 6:35 PM | Report abuse

The whole policy of the Surge rests on getting the local tribesmen to work with our side - if the tribesmen are told in the same breath that America is leaving, you are going to get ZERO from them.

It is pretty simple.

==

No, it's not simple, but you are.

And repetitive as they come.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 2, 2009 6:24 PM | Report abuse

Well, in the interests of not utterly discounting him, I gave it a shot.

But if someone thinks reiterating his feelings over and over again, WITH CAPS, is a convincing argument, there's not enough there to work with.

I'm done.

Posted by: nodebris | December 2, 2009 6:18 PM | Report abuse

"The posters really have to search in themselves and wonder why they want to support someone who feels this way about America."

Oh, and maybe you really have to search in yourself and wonder why you hate America and its president so much.

Posted by: drindl | December 2, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

Oh god, people...

just step back from your computers and walk away from this idiot. He might as well be a program, maybe he is. You will never get an intelligent answer to anything you say, you will get an

ANGRY MINDLESS INCOHERENT RANT ABOUT NOTHING!!!!!!!!!

so why waste your time.

IN A POST ABOUT FOREIGN POLICY, HE TOOK A SWIPE AT THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

TREASON, CLEAR AND SIMPLE.

Excuse me while I leave the sandbox.

Posted by: drindl | December 2, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

In the context of a speech on Afghanistan, in which he talked about 9/11, Obama TOOK A SWIPE AT AMERICA.


Obama know exactly what he did and what he meant.

Obama clearly threw in there - America "is not as innocent" as the country was when FDR was President. He put it in there.

You guys act like I wrote the speech and put the words in Obama's mouth.

This a recurring theme with Obama.

The posters really have to search in themselves and wonder why they want to support someone who feels this way about America.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 2, 2009 5:53 PM | Report abuse

"Let's not parse the words" he says, parsing the words.

Posted by: nodebris | December 2, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

there's a fair argument to be made there; but couching it in terms of "the president insulted America in front of the cadets" is not a persuasive argument.

==

It's not meant to be a persuasive argument, it's intended to replace reason with emotion, prudence with outrage.

Apparently 37th expects us to believe in some 50s jingoism portraying America as infinitely resourceful, infinitely rich, infinitely patient and, most of all, infinitely resolute. We're none of the above. And accepting that isn't defeatism, it's maturity.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 2, 2009 5:42 PM | Report abuse

"Let's not parse the words - Obama sent a CLEAR MESSAGE that he wants to LEAVE."


That's a good thing. One of the problems we're facing is the population's opinion that we're occupiers. President Obama tried to make it plainly clear that we don't intend to occupy Afghanistan forever, and would prefer to not be there at all. Let me put it differently: do you want us to stay there? Do you think its a good thing that we're spending a million dollars per soldier per year to hunt terrorists in a two-bit, third world country that's great contribution to the world economy is heroin? Only the insane would want us to be there, want our soldiers fighting locals who've lived in those mountains for millenia. Of course the President wants us to leave. But he also wants to wait to leave until that's a safe thing to do.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 2, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

"If Obama is telling them that our commitment is weak, or if we are LEAVING, then Obama is hurting his own policy."

Would you like to use the example of COIN in Iraq, with Bush setting a time line at Gate's urging, to illuminate your point further?

Posted by: nodebris | December 2, 2009 5:31 PM | Report abuse

37th & O writes
"The whole policy of the Surge rests on getting the local tribesmen to work with our side - if the tribesmen are told in the same breath that America is leaving, you are going to get ZERO from them."


BZZZZT!!! A portion of the policy is to incent locals who are not ideologically sympathetic to the Taliban to work with us rather than them, that is true. However, there are also important components to the policy that are designed to get the Afghani & Pakistani governments to start figuring out how to deal with these problems without the blank checks of the US taxpayers (and their Chinese lenders) behind them. Maybe you think that strategu won't work, and there's a fair argument to be made there; but couching it in terms of "the president insulted America in front of the cadets" is not a persuasive argument.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 2, 2009 5:25 PM | Report abuse

If Obama is telling them that our commitment is weak, or if we are LEAVING, then Obama is hurting his own policy.

==

Yeah it's be so much more resolute to tell Afghanistan that we're in their country until the end of time. That'd show'em who's boss, right?

Go back to sleep.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 2, 2009 5:20 PM | Report abuse

So, you're arguing they'll be happy if we announce our intention to indefinitely occupy their territory?

==

Why of course he would. Those same troops could be used to safeguard a new pipeline to the Caspian, ensuring our "energy independence" and guaranteeing that most vertebrate life on earth goes extinct.

It's exemplary of how shoddy and dishonest our right-wing discourse has become that the idea of a war having an end is now synonymous with capitulation and surrender.

Remind me again why we listen to these people.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 2, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

It is pretty simple - the counter-insurgency strategies are all about getting the local tribesmen to work with us.


If Obama is telling them that our commitment is weak, or if we are LEAVING, then Obama is hurting his own policy.


Obama torpedoed his own policy in the space of ONE PARAGRAPH. This belongs in the history books.

Obama making history again.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 2, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

Hey 37th, take a word of free advice: shut the hell up.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 2, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

"if the tribesmen are told in the same breath that America is leaving, you are going to get ZERO from them."

So, you're arguing they'll be happy if we announce our intention to indefinitely occupy their territory?

Posted by: nodebris | December 2, 2009 5:03 PM | Report abuse

The actual problem is that Obama torpedoed his own policy IN THE SAME PARAGRAPH.


Quite a feat - he can put this one in the history books for another "first."

The whole policy of the Surge rests on getting the local tribesmen to work with our side - if the tribesmen are told in the same breath that America is leaving, you are going to get ZERO from them.


It is pretty simple.

He torpedoed his own policy.


Let's not parse the words - Obama sent a CLEAR MESSAGE that he wants to LEAVE.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 2, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

I might also add to ohiocitizen's excellent post that many of us are also now aware how cozy is the relationship between some in the military command structure and defense contractors--including the ownership of stock in said contractors, which, it is possible to conclude, might perhaps lead to some conflicts of interest.

And after the gigantic fraud/con job that was perpetrated on US taxpayers in Iraq, when the neocon war cheerleaders like Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld and Perle made hundreds of millions in war profiteering off shoddy unaccountable private military contractors paid for by US taxpayers.

Who could blame us for being cynical when we were basically s*domized?

I am cynical about Afghanistan too -- but I was also in NYC on 9/11 and am willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: drindl | December 2, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Perceptions of civility as correlated with political leanings are skewed and entreaties to better discourse based on their being symmetrical are awkward at best, dishonest more commonly.

Fact of the matter is that Republican posters who can articulate their reasoning and post in a c- (no, don't want to say it that way) .. er, who can post in a polite and reasonable fashion are really, really, really rare.

On the message boards and mailing lists where I first got involved in this stuff, before the days of the weblog, there were indeed conservative posters who could write and reason. As their party went crazier and crazier most of those people simply vanished. No repudiation of the GOP, no "I can't go along with torture," they just stopped posting.

Leaving only the mentally/emotionally retarded ones and the congenital liars, the ones to whom it would never occur to tell the truth.

To expect people to respond in a polite tone to people who call you a pedophile is just unreasonable.

As for sliowa, puh-lease .. go read some of his other posts.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 2, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Well I'll be an impersonal contrarian and see if I get flamed anyway.

If the most gracious meaning to be taken from the "perhaps not as innocent" phrase is that we may have to realize that it isn't ok to just strike out at evildoers and take for granted that we are doing the right thing, that we can no longer assume that what is good for America is good for the world, then,

it does seem like an odd remark for the end of that extraordinary rendition of our noble (if naive) intentions in the era of Pax Americana, perhaps a remark unnecessary for that speech at that place and time.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 2, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

"To whit: I'd not ask anyone to avoid treating the more attack-happy posters as they clearly want to be treated, just don't mock the more subdued ones so much that they leave the attack-happy ones as the only voice of their side of the political spectrum."

I personally don't disagree with the sentiment. My issue was more with the person who was being defended. It was pretty disgusting how he was being characterized as someone who was simply disagreeing with us. It was as if his insulting remarks were being willfully ignored. Yeah, it wasn't the most egregious thing, but it's not like I posted a frothing ten page diatribe in retaliation. He was being an idiot and was being insulting, so I mocked his thesaurus style of writing. Maybe four lines. Not sure why this set everyone off in defense of this person. It was just bizzare to be accused of fostering group think. I actually tried to get zook involved in conversations before realizing he was too mentally retarded to engage in a discussion. I remember telling one person that if he wanted a real discussion, he'd have to stop referring to the stimulus as porkulus and other nonsense like that. He listened and there was a spirited debate. With G+T nonetheless.
It just became ridiculous. On top of that, someone accused me of taking the word "metric" as a slur.

Next time people want to defend a reasonable, civil conservative, it would be best if they pick someone who is...you know...reasonable and civil instead of randomly picking some idiot as the poster child of some whimsical crusade.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 2, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

Sometimes, I think that if President Obama were to say, "America is awesome!" some folks would respond, "I can't believe it! President Black Guy said he was in awe of America, presumably because of something terrible he thinks we did! HE INSULTED AMURRICA RARR." Only they wouldn't use the word "presumably."

I mean, I know that blaming every problem, both real and imaginary, on the guy you didn't vote for is as important a part of American culture as Mom and apple pie, but some of the lengths to which people will go are just bizarre.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | December 2, 2009 4:41 PM | Report abuse

37 AND O you took a SWIPE at the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES and I am offended by it.


SORRY, but THAT'S just the WAY it IS.

Posted by: drindl | December 2, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

The President said
"[U]nlike the great powers of old, we have not sought world domination. Our union was founded in resistance to oppression. We do not seek to occupy other nations. We will not claim another nation's resources or target other peoples because their faith or ethnicity is different from ours."


That is not a swipe at America.


.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 2, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

The President says
"We have not always been thanked for these efforts, and we have at times made mistakes. But more than any other nation, the United States of America has underwritten global security for over six decades -- a time that, for all its problems, has seen walls come down, markets open, billions lifted from poverty, unparalleled scientific progress, and advancing frontiers of human liberty."


That is not a swipe at America.


.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 2, 2009 4:37 PM | Report abuse

Obama was NOT taking a SWIPE AT AMERICA IN FRONT OF THE CADETS.


That is not what it was


. . .

Posted by: drindl | December 2, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

The President said
"Since the days of Franklin Roosevelt, and the service and sacrifice of our grandparents and great-grandparents, our country has borne a special burden in global affairs. We have spilled American blood in many countries on multiple continents. We have spent our revenue to help others rebuild from rubble and develop their own economies."


This is not a swipe at America.


.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 2, 2009 4:20 PM | Report abuse

The President said
"What we have fought for -- what we continue to fight for -- is a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples' children and grandchildren can live in freedom and access opportunity."


This is not a swipe at America.


.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 2, 2009 4:18 PM | Report abuse

I think 37th is charging at the wrong windmill. Heck, you could claim that any talk of previous failure in Afpak was a swipe at the military. Then again, the go to war with the army you have instead of the army you wish you had could be taken as a swipe by the previous Secretary of Defense.

Oh, sorry. I need to put in terms that 37th would understand. A SWIPE AT THE MILITARY by the previous Secretary of DEFENSE.

That ought to do it.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 2, 2009 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Innocence?
In a sense.
In no sense!

- from "A Life" by Nemerov

Posted by: nodebris | December 2, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Now is not the time to worry about the cost of sending more troops. http://tinkys1941.spaces.live.com/default.aspx

Posted by: edtroyhampton | December 2, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

I actually didn't take the remark to mean the US isn't as guilt free as it once was. The argument certainly is valid. Sure, the US did bad stuff before FDR, but you have to think that imperialism reached it's height post WWII. We did a lot in Central America that is absolutely unforgivable by anyone with an ounce of a sense of morality. We practiced the same kind of imperialism in the Middle East. Sure a lot of the anti-US sentiment is fomented by politicians looking to create a boogeyman, but a lot of that sentiment can be said to be justified based on US actions in the first place. Where do you think Saddam Hussein came from?

But I did take it to mean that the US can't be indifferent to what is going on in the world. Not only for the sake of humanity in general, but for our own safety. Pearl Harbor was the big wakeup call that the US couldn't simply sit by and watch as other nations pummelled each other into oblivion. We realized that we had to get involved not just militarily such as we did in WWII, but also economically (Marshall Plan) and humanitarian (Berlin airdrops). We can't just let Afghanistan go to hell and not expect some repercussions back in the States. Our innocence was lost when we realized that bad things happening half a world away can come and hurt us. It was a call to action. We can't just turn a blind eye to what is going on. We simply aren't that innocent anymore.

Posted by: DDAWD | December 2, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

There is no justifiable reason to sustain the war in Afghanistan. Al Qaeda is not headquartered in Afghanistan or Pakistan and the Taliban did not attack us. The "soldiers" and money required to commit terrorist acts do not flow out of these countries. The only money flowing is ours straight into the hands of the military industrial complex and the oil companies. http://bit.ly/7c3HAQ

Posted by: websmith1 | December 2, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

bsimon1


There is no way that Obama, after saying all that, was saying that America was naive with the foreign policy he just outlined - Obama was taking a SWIPE AT AMERICA IN FRONT OF THE CADETS.


It is what it is.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 2, 2009 4:05 PM | Report abuse

'bsimon1
There is no way that Obama, after saying all that, was saying that America was naive with the foreign policy he just outlined - Obama was taking a SWIPE AT AMERICA IN FRONT OF THE CADETS.

It is what it is.'

Posted by: 37thand0street

or as the gentleman in the wrestling youtube video says:"It's real to me"

Posted by: dont_remember | December 2, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

bsimon1


There is no way that Obama, after saying all that, was saying that America was naive with the foreign policy he just outlined - Obama was taking a SWIPE AT AMERICA IN FRONT OF THE CADETS.


It is what it is.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 2, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure if I would characterize liberals upset at President Obama's decision as having been unaware of how many times he mentioned Afghanistan as a top priority in his campaign. Many, I'm sure, voted for him despite opposition to further conflict in Afghanistan because they figured, even though they didn't agree with him on that issue, he was still a better choice than John McCain. In addition, a lot of voters saw Obama as a shift from the changing-one's-mind-is-a-sign-of-weakness attitude of President Bush and thought he might be convinced down the line that increasing troop levels in Afghanistan really wouldn't be a good idea. It's perfectly logical for those to be upset about his decision.

Conservatives will continue to blast Obama for setting a deadline, I'm sure, but if they think it's such a bad idea, I'd like to see them offer an alternative way to ensure Afghan officials are able to deal with their own problems in the near future.

I regret that so many people misinterpreted my comment yesterday about not scaring off the more reasonable conservative posters as some sort of plea to be sweet as pie to the less reasonable among them. I'm more inclined to ignore those posters whose minds cannot be changed -- and, indeed, in many cases, who probably only commented because they saw a link on another Web site telling them to do so and will never return -- but that's a personal preference influenced largely by the fact that I don't comment very frequently. To whit: I'd not ask anyone to avoid treating the more attack-happy posters as they clearly want to be treated, just don't mock the more subdued ones so much that they leave the attack-happy ones as the only voice of their side of the political spectrum.

Posted by: GJonahJameson | December 2, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

Here are the President's remarks from yesterday, beginning with the initial reference to Roosevelt's time, ending with the 'not as innocent' paragraph. It should be pretty clear to any reasonable person that he's talking about our country's efforts to serve the greater good by fighting battles from which others shirk. The critics' concerns come from, at best, misunderstanding.

---

Since the days of Franklin Roosevelt, and the service and sacrifice of our grandparents and great-grandparents, our country has borne a special burden in global affairs. We have spilled American blood in many countries on multiple continents. We have spent our revenue to help others rebuild from rubble and develop their own economies. We have joined with others to develop an architecture of institutions -- from the United Nations to NATO to the World Bank -- that provide for the common security and prosperity of human beings.

We have not always been thanked for these efforts, and we have at times made mistakes. But more than any other nation, the United States of America has underwritten global security for over six decades -- a time that, for all its problems, has seen walls come down, markets open, billions lifted from poverty, unparalleled scientific progress, and advancing frontiers of human liberty.

For unlike the great powers of old, we have not sought world domination. Our union was founded in resistance to oppression. We do not seek to occupy other nations. We will not claim another nation's resources or target other peoples because their faith or ethnicity is different from ours. What we have fought for -- what we continue to fight for -- is a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples' children and grandchildren can live in freedom and access opportunity.

As a country, we are not as young -- and perhaps not as innocent -- as we were when Roosevelt was president. Yet we are still heirs to a noble struggle for freedom. Now we must summon all of our might and moral suasion to meet the challenges of a new age.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 2, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I have no idea what he meant by "not as innocent".

Neither of the two proposals being discussed make much sense. A lot of New England acted treasonously during the War of 1812. The wounds of the Civil War are still easy to open, to say nothing of Andersonville. Waterboarding was performed by American soldiers on Phillipinos during the Spanish American War. You could say Andrew Jackson performed a fair job with his ethnic cleansing program in the Southeast. American innocence seen as a naive affectation would be a pretty brutal indictment. Was Obama saying we were in national cultural denial? Perhaps that Chomsky is right, the theory of American Exceptionalism needs to end? Not sure what to make of that remark.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 2, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

"strategic error dagger to the heart of the reason Obama was elected what has he done that GWB, McCain, Cheney, or Hillary would not have done? Posted by: blasmaic"As this is particularly poorly thought out and execrably worded, I probably missed the intent, but,

Hillary would probably have done about the same. They did, after all, work on the problem together.

McCain? Hard to say. He would probably NOT have put the thought that H and B put into it, nor the diplomatic preparations that are obviously a big part of this administrations considerations. He would have gone in without support, and without reserves. Not necessarily a good military approach, but McCain was also a bit to impetuous a pilot, and never seemed to learn to think before pushing the button.

But as for the D & G show, he

Thought first

Asked questions

Listened to the answers
UNDERSTOOD the answers

and factored the answers into his decision

and then he went before the American people and told them the who, what, where, when, how, and WHY.

He was honest with the American people, and he was obviously concerned with the consequences of his actions.

NONE of which would D & G have bothered with.

Change we can believe in.

Posted by: ceflynline | December 2, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

The economy was wrecked by george bushs
personal wars. We were to focus our resourses on the problems at home.
Infrastructure, jobs, homeloan defaults.

Or, Omg, We could Surge Afghanistan!
Retalitate for 9/11!!!
Spend 787 Billion Dollars anyway we
see fit.
Sweet!

I think I like having a president
who acts like my teen age son.

I wish he would learn to clean up
after himself. Or better YET.

Quit Making Messes!!!

Posted by: simonsays1 | December 2, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

OhioCitizen has offered a thoughtful post. Thanks.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 2, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

The other loss of innocence is just as real.

When I was growing up I was bursting with pride to live in what I believed was the most moral and humanitarian nation on earth. We were the Good Guys, the champions of democracy and human rights.

Then I grew up, read Smedley Butler and Jonathan Kwitney, learned about the Shah of Iran .. then lived through the Reagan era when we were running guns to terrorists in Central America, read Manlio Argueta and Vargas-Llosa.

Since then we've had the Bush administration and the torture memos and Abu Ghraib.

Yeah that innocence is definitely lost. My country is A country, not THE country, and we have a lot to answer for. And what's really most deplorable is that hardly any of our international sins have been in pursuit of security, most have been to guarantee the profits of corporations who didn't want to have to deal in a level field.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 2, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

When you're already convinced you know what the finished puzzle looks like, you don't have to sweat about whether the pieces fit, do you 37th&0? They all fit well enough.

Keep making your argument. It's the kind that only convinces the previously convinced. To others, you sound willfully delusional and full of inexplicable spite.

Posted by: nodebris | December 2, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

You all know what Obama meant.

==

Yeah we do and it's clear you don't, you lying jerk

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 2, 2009 3:18 PM | Report abuse

It can be argued that some U.S. innocence was lost in World War II as the U.S. was attacked from foreign shores for the first time since the War of 1812. It was during WWII that the nation "grew up" and assumed its place as the world's preeminent economic and military power, with the tragic truths of the Holocaust and European dictatorships, battle casualties on multiple fronts in Europe, North Africa and the Pacific, and the dawning of the Atomic Age. While WWI had awakened the nation to national sacrifice in the twentieth century, WWII required much more sacrifice of the uniformed forces and the nation at-large.

More national innocence was lost in Vietnam as too many young American lives were lost in a seemingly pointless jungle war in which the American political leadership failed its youth, and along with the Watergate scandals, seemingly forever shattered Americans' confidence in their national government and trust in the political leadership. Whatever national innocence may have remained after the Vietnam debacle was surely lost in the events of 9/11/2001 when the U.S. was attacked directly for the first time since Pearl Harbor 12/7/1941, and in the forthcoming knowledge that the underlying case for the Iraq invasion of 2003 may have been manufactured and may have contained distortions and prevarications.

I think those attempting to criticize Obama's usage of the phrase that the U.S. is "less innocent" last night are misunderstanding his meaning. I interpreted his phrase as meaning the loss of youthful innocence, of a certain naivete or idealism often associated with youth. There is now a certain cold-eyed calculus of realism which pervades every projection of American military might. The assumption that the decisions of the political and military leadership are truly in the national interests is less widespread than in earlier times. Politics no longer seems to stop at the water's edge. The Commander-in-Chief is no longer automatically extended a presumption of acting in the national interest by many. This national loss of innocence has profound effects for the politics of war.

Posted by: OHIOCITIZEN | December 2, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Already guys - your interpretation is a LIE - there is no reason that Obama would comment in this speech that the country was more naive in the 1940s.

You all know what Obama meant.


What is important is that everyone understand where Obama is coming from - and why he decided to throw that comment in a speech about Afghanistan and 9/11.


It is clear.


Obama took a SWIPE at this country at WEST POINT in front of CADETS. And he almost seemed to enjoy it.

Sorry.


Sorry, but that is what happened. I am sickened by it.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 2, 2009 3:13 PM | Report abuse

I am not convinced that people in the Afpak region pose any threat to America's national security or our national security interests.
1. Afghanistan never has had, does not now have, and possibly never will have a national government that exercises government control over the piece of geography called Afghanistan.
2. There is not such grouping as "The Afghan People", any more than Native Americans refers to a unified and politically connected group. They are only tribal members who happen to live [mostly] in the piece of geography called Afghanistan.
3. It does not take 30,000 more troops to rout out about 100 Alqaeda 'terrorists', or I certainly hope not. How about a few CIA?
4. The Taliban are not and never have been a threat to the national security of the US. They are only a threat to invading and occupying armies, e.g. the Soviets, the Americans, NATO, and the like.
[The Americans helped the Taliban drive the Soviets out. Maybe the Soviets will help the Taliban drive the Americans out?]
5. It is simply time to say that we have done all that we are going to do and leave. It is not about 'Winning' or 'Losing' What is there to 'win' or 'lose'. If we 'win', what have we won? If we stay we will certainly lose...both personnel and treasure. The only winners are the arms merchants and the contractors.

Posted by: mdmonahan | December 2, 2009 3:06 PM | Report abuse

gold and tanzite said to 37and0 "Go back to grade school and learn your native tongue."
==
I’m pretty sure his native tongue consists mostly of grunts and hand motions.
He is really hung up on that "not as innocent" remark. Clearly, the president meant not as naive, but even if he didn’t; we aren't as innocent today. Today’s America invaded a country that did nothing to provoke it. Today’s America held terror SUSPECTS without trial. Today’s America tortured them, then made fun of those who called it torture.
The cadets at West Point are soldiers. I'm not an officer, but one of the most important things they wanted me to learn at basic was the army values. Loyalty, duty, RESPECT, selfless service, HONOR, INTEGRITY, and personal courage. If those young men are to exercise those values, they would have to admit that our country is, in fact, not as innocent (by any definition of the word) as it was in the 40's. It is no swipe at America. It is our national mea culpa. One that is long over-due.

Posted by: elijah24 | December 2, 2009 2:51 PM | Report abuse

It hadn't occurred to me that 37th & O misunderstood the meaning of 'innocent' in the context used by the President. Now I understand his rant is based on a misunderstanding, rather than being random gibberish.

==

No, I'm certain he knows what Obama meant (and if he didn't, I've corrected him twice to no avail). He's just doing what the goooper trolls all do, trying to shape perceptions through repetition, just like zouk and his hourly "the moonbats have ruined this blog" shtick.

Dishonesty is to the GOP of 2009 as water is to fish. It's not your father's GOP anymore.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 2, 2009 2:49 PM | Report abuse

37th&O wrote: "I call 'em as I see 'em"

Your fata morgana is very vivid, indeed.

Posted by: nodebris | December 2, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

goldandtanzanite says
""Not as innocent" meaning "not as naive," not meaning "more guilty.""


It hadn't occurred to me that 37th & O misunderstood the meaning of 'innocent' in the context used by the President. Now I understand his rant is based on a misunderstanding, rather than being random gibberish.


.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 2, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

When "37th & O Sts." returns to "The Fix," you know the covert forces of paid political blog spam-ops are getting desperate.

***

OBAMA WRONG AT WEST POINT: U.S. DOES TORTURE -- ITS OWN CITIZENS

• Regional Homeland Security- administered fusion centers use a nationwide microwave/laser radiation "directed energy" weapons system to silently torture, impair unconstitutionally "targeted" Americans and their families -- an American genocide hiding in plain sight.

For the rest of the story:

http://nowpublic.com/world/obama-wrong-west-point-u-s-does-torture-its-own-citizens OR (if link is corrupted): http://NowPublic.com/scrivener re: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 2, 2009 2:24 PM | Report abuse

In the heart of a speech on Afghanistan, At West Point, in front our our cadets who are about to risk their lives in war, Obama decides that the best thing for him to do is TAKE ANOTHER SWIPE AT AMERICA.

Obama said America "is not as innocent" as it was when FDR was President.

This is a window into the real Obama - the only moment last night when Obama was truly being honest about how he felt and what he believed.

Obama was completely detached last night.


Obama's statement that America "is not as innocent" as it was under FDR was the ONLY THING THAT OBAMA TRULY WANTED TO SAY LAST NIGHT TO THE CADETS.


I think what he really wanted to do was lecture them on what he believes America has done around the world.


And this is a speech on Afghanistan.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 2, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Cross-dressing is a religion? There's a new one.

BB

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

Weird how the gomers all believe that a president who fails to insult and demean other nations at every opportunity is betraying the founders and the troops etc. etc. etc. Instead of shaking the hand of a head of state when in his country as a guest they want the president to urinate on the carpets.

And next time we need some additional cannon fodder to fight one of our elective wars the same people expect the insulted and the demeaned to pony up the bodies and the money.

Good thing they're out of power, let's work to keep it that way.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 2, 2009 2:12 PM | Report abuse

From the perspective of the Taliban, the great majority of cross-dressers are women.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 2, 2009 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Obama said, the the country was "not as innocent" as when FDR was President.

==

"Not as innocent" meaning "not as naive," not meaning "more guilty."

Go back to grade school and learn your native tongue.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 2, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

The letter also claims the law could lead to an “employer telling you to remove the Bible from your desk because it is offensive to the homosexual or cross-dresser he was forced to hire.”

==

That's an interestingly ignorant take since the great majority of cross-dressers are heterosexual.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 2, 2009 2:04 PM | Report abuse

37th & O writes
"Obama should not be playing party politics, pandering to one wing of his party, with the policy on the war in Afghanistan."

You must have watched a different speech. To what wing of his party was the President pandering? The blue dogs are grumbling about costs. The most liberal are grumbling about escalation. There is no natural constituency in the D party that's saying "great decision!" Bill Kristol, of all people, has supported the President's plan.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 2, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse

There's the 37th and O we all remember.

Posted by: margaretmeyers | December 2, 2009 1:59 PM | Report abuse

Craven, drooling, racist knuckle-dragger? C'mon, tell me what you really think! My comments yesterday were largely in reference to sliowa, a different poster, and comments of G&T and DDAWD.

As for 37th, it's reverting back to form. Also, misquoting Obama. The exact quote was that "As a country, we are not as young - and perhaps not as innocent - as we were ..." Given that it is incapable of understanding that a lack of innocence is not necessarily a bad thing, I'm not surprised. I'd would say there was a certain loss of innocence on 9/11 and we awoke to a growing danger.

I only wish that 37th was still using the

.

.

.

at the beginning and end of every post. It was a nice signal to page up.

BB

Posted by: FairlingtonBlade | December 2, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I think that last night AT WEST POINT Obama took another SWIPE AT THE UNITED STATES.


Obama said, the the country was "not as innocent" as when FDR was President.


This was ANOTHER SWIPE AT OUR FOREIGN POLICY, implying that somehow America is at fault in its dealings around the world.

Bow to the Japanese, Bow to the Saudis


Apologize, apologize, apologize.....

America is not so innocent.....


America is not so innocent......


They could actually have the school children create a little dance while they sing in which they bow to each side, pretending to bow to the Saudis, bow to the Japenese......


Time and time again, last year Obama promised to fight the war in Afghanistan, fight the war.

Last night, OBAMA PROVED HE IS A LIAR.


OBAMA LIED.


OBAMA LIED.


OBAMA LIED.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 2, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

nodebris


I call 'em as I see 'em


Come on, there was something seriously amiss and surreal about last night.

Obama should not be playing party politics, pandering to one wing of his party, with the policy on the war in Afghanistan.


It is pretty simple.


And I believe this tells us something deep down about Obama's character.


Something that you would rather overlook.

.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 2, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/02/AR2009120201955.html?hpid=topnews

NIH authorizes use of first human embryonic stem cells under new policy

Posted by: DDAWD | December 2, 2009 1:46 PM | Report abuse


"Bow to the Saudis, Bow to the Japanese,

Apologize, Apolopogize, Apologize ....."

Maybe this this is another song they could have the school children sing ........"
Posted by: 37thand0street


Okay, where is BB and the all the other folks who want to admonish the 'left-leaning' among us for not being 'nice' to this craven, drooling, racist knuckle-dragger?

Posted by: drindl | December 2, 2009 1:38 PM | Report abuse

Remember, the democrats in Congress voted for the Iraqi war


The democrats supported the Iraqi war through the 2004 elections

Even in the 2006 elections, the democrats were afraid to make clear statements about their position on the war in Iraq.


Playing politics with war -

Playing politics with war.


Playing politics with war.


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 2, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Would it be rude of me to note that the preceding comments are perfect examples of why I expressed surprise yesterday at a sane, polite, well reasoned comment from 37th&0?

Posted by: nodebris | December 2, 2009 1:37 PM | Report abuse

One other thing - Obama last night said in the speech that this country was "not as innocent" as it was when FDR was President.


THAT IS ANOTHER SWIPE AT THIS COUNTRY.


This time, Obama is at West Point, in front of cadets, taking another swipe at our country.


Bow to the Saudis, Bow to the Japanese,

Apologize, Apolopogize, Apologize .....


Maybe this this is another song they could have the school children sing ........


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 2, 2009 1:33 PM | Report abuse

One other thing - Obama last night said in the speech that this country was "not as innocent" as it was when FDR was President.


THAT IS ANOTHER SWIPE AT THIS COUNTRY.


This time, Obama is at West Point, in front of cadets, taking another swipe at our country.


Bow to the Saudis, Bow to the Japanese,

Apologize, Apolopogize, Apologize .....


Maybe this this is another song they could have the school children sing ........


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 2, 2009 1:32 PM | Report abuse

This time it was really sickening to see Obama break his campaign pledge -


Time and time again Obama promised the country last year that he would fight in Afghanistan.


Instead, we all watched last night as Obama played party politics with the war in Afghanistan - threatening the lives of troops - right in front of our cadets at West Point.


The camera cut-out shot to the cadets was sobering ...... Obama playing another word game on stage while the people training to risk their lives in the field were sitting in the room as props - unable to say what we all saw on their faces.

This is much worse than Obama breaking a campaign - he is threatening to undo all the hard work already done with high cost in Afghanistan - Obama is now allowing pandering to his own party to affect sound military policies.


The whole thing is sickening.

When Obama started talking about 9/11, he was so detached - it was almost like he wasn't around that day, it was almost like he thought he was telling us something he thought we did not know.


There is something truly curious about his detachment from 9/11. Yes, there is something highly unusual about Obama's feelings about 9/11 - as if he just doesn't feel the same way about it as the rest of America.


Obama, we hardly know ye


.

Posted by: 37thand0street | December 2, 2009 1:28 PM | Report abuse

If you voted for Obama you voted for this escalation. He made it VERY CLEAR on several occasions during the campaign that he would "Finish the job in Afghanistan"

Posted by: JRM2 | December 2, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Correct, not about Huk, not about the "Jobs Summit", it will be about Sarah Palin's position on her Facebook page.

Maybe though that can be subverted...here it is,

"As long as we’re in to win, and as long as troop level decisions are based on conditions on the ground and the advice of our military commanders, I support President Obama’s decision."

Never mind about what is meant by "in to win", that gets too icky for a Facebook foreign policy posiiton.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 2, 2009 1:10 PM | Report abuse

Wonder if the next thread will be about Huckabee. Should be, he's been very damaged by his midjudgments while governor. He was shaky already because of the Club for Growth's anomosity, but now his base will desert him. My guess is CC will paint this as good news for -- Sarah Palin!

(CNN) – The Arkansas coordinator for Mike Huckabee's political action committee resigned Tuesday, citing the former Arkansas governor's decision nine years ago to grant clemency to Maurice Clemmons, the man suspected of murdering four police officers in Washington state.

Jason Tolbert, who runs a conservative blog, served as Arkansas state coordinator for HuckPAC in a volunteer capacity.

"My departure was with a heavy heart but was done after serious prayer and consideration," Tolbert wrote on his Web site. "Some have asked about the timing. As most could imagine, the recent news of the last two days along with the response did play a role in this decision but was not the sole factor."

Posted by: drindl | December 2, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

The 800-pound gorilla in the room, the beast not being mentioned, the real reason we are staying in Afghanistan (and sending in even more troops in)...
Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Ladin both stated, years before nine-eleven, that the real goal in destabilizing that region is to destabilize Pakistan, the only Nuclear Islamic Nation.
If Pakistan can be destabilized, making it possible to churn it into a Fundamentalist Islamic State, one governed by Islamic Sharia Law, then Pakistan’s Nukes would become accessible to Islamic Extremists, Maniacs who would be willing to use them to destroy "The Great Satan" (us and Europe).
We are unable to enter Pakistan as a fighting force (after all they are our "allies"), and we cannot state the above nightmare scenario out loud, without admitting our fears concerning the weakness of the Pakistani Government, headed by Asif Ali Zardari, who we view as inept, out of touch, and "hiding in their bunkers" in the big cities (Karachi and Lahore). Rural Pakistan is not ruled by, and has no use for, this Centralized Government (ostensibly headquartered in Islamabad).
Don’t forget it was the “The Father of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program” and a top aide, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, long revered as a Pakistani National Hero, and Dr. Mohammed Farooq, former director-general of a key nuclear facility, who supplied sensitive technology to Iran and Libya (and both have failed to account for funds in their bank accounts). What is unspoken in our country is that Islamic Extremists and their sympathizers do not view National Boundaries the same way that we do. They are looking to create a vast Fundamentalist Islamic world, unencumbered by artificial National Boundary lines drawn on maps…
These then are the real reasons why we are remaining in Afghanistan, to ensure (if worse comes to worse) that we are ready to jump into Pakistan to prevent their Nukes from falling into the wrong, Maniacal Hands.

Posted by: stevekeshner | December 2, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

'blade writes
"Many of those who are disappointed on the left are those who felt that Obama just had to say those things during the campaign and didn't really mean it. Turns out, he did."


That's a good way to put it.

.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 2, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Afte what I am sure was great deliberation, Obama made a decision that he felt was in our national interest. It was an unpopular and difficult decision--for it will lose him support on the left and no matter what he does he will never get support from the right.

To me, that speaks of courage, both political and otherwise. He is doing exactly what he said he would do -- which is to act in the national interest, as he sees it.

And unlike, say, Dick Cheney, he isn't making $100 million bucks in the process.

Posted by: drindl | December 2, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I heard a great comment last night in the discussion afterwards--I think it might have been E.J. Dionne. Last night's speech was entirely consistent with Obama's campaign rhetoric. Many of those who are disappointed on the left are those who felt that Obama just had to say those things during the campaign and didn't really mean it. Turns out, he did.

BB

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

I was disappointed with the presidents’ decision. While I do agree with him that Afghanistan was a war of necessity, and Iraq was one of choice; I feel that both wars are largely unwinnable at this point. Mind you, this is not the fault of President Obama. We should have finished the job in Afghanistan before we ever took a second glance at Iraq. By diverting our attention away, we allowed the Taliban and Al Qaida to escape to our "ally": Pakistan, where we can't chase them. By being in Afghanistan for as long as we have, we have cast ourselves, in the minds of many of their people, as occupiers. No different than the Russians of the 80's. For that reason, I felt it was time to cut our losses.
Having said that, I understand the other side of the debate as well, and it is valid. We are not a nation of retreat, and to leave without accomplishing anything would look bad. Worse, it would leave all who lost loved ones in this war wondering what the sacrifice was for. Much as those who lost people in Iraq do today. And if there is a legitimate chance that we can do some good by being there; if there is still a chance to finish the job, we should try.
I worked very hard last year to help elect Barack Obama to make these very tough decisions, because I felt he had the best vision, judgment, and character to make them. I still think so. While I disagree with President Obama’s decision, I support him, and defer to his judgment. I hope he is right.

Posted by: elijah24 | December 2, 2009 11:13 AM | Report abuse

nodebris writes
"Complaints from left or right that this decision is a betrayal of his campaign promises merely display the speaker's inattention to his actual campaign promises."


Absolutely. Amusingly, both the extreme liberals and the extreme conservatives have mistaken President Obama as some kind of hard-core peacenik liberal. He's not, never has been, and has always been pretty clear about that.


Posted by: bsimon1 | December 2, 2009 11:07 AM | Report abuse

'one can only surmise that they are doubling down on a bad bet, and are going all-in on the hate card they think they have in the hole..."

yep, jep, the frenzy of hatred from fundie 'christian' churches toward obama and democrats is something to see, what with praying for our president to die and all. not too. uh, christian, really.

jaxas, I understand how you feel. But what make you think that Iran or North Korea is more dangerous than Pakistan/Afghanistan? North Korea will not attack us, nor will Iran. No STATE will -- because we will incinerate them.

This is a different century now, and forms of warfare mutate to fit the circumstances, like viruses. Now what we need to defend ourselves against is non-state actors, rogues and radical religious groups.

After all, we know that bin Ladin and almost all of the rest of the perpetrators of 9/11 were Saudis. But we didn't attack the Saudis, did we? Because we had no proof -- although some of us had suspicions -- that there was considerable state backing for the attack. We instead went for the training camps and redoubts where the actual plot was hatched.

And since then, all the major global terrorist attacks have come out of that region, and the Pakistani secret police is infiltrated by the Taliban, and a great many strategists feel they are capable of getting their hands on Pakistan's nuclear weapons.
I will not get into how this might have all been dealt with already had the US not pulled out before the job was done and rushed headlong into Iraq to help out our good buddies the global oil companies to get back in there.

But it is the height of hypocrisy for anyone on the right to criticize this surge. But they will, of course, because Obama can do nothing right.

But from the left, I expect more. This is a complicated issue. We WERE attacked, we could easily be again. I would ask you to remember that. And the world only gets more complicated as time passes. We elected Obama to be the careful, intelligent man he is, who is capable of thoughtful analysis, unlike his predecessor.

Let's give him a chance. Because if we don't, if Democrats don't get out to vote this next time, the rightwing government we will get will make 1984 look like a walk in the park.

Posted by: drindl | December 2, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

OBAMA WRONG AT WEST POINT: U.S. DOES TORTURE -- ITS OWN CITIZENS

• Regional Homeland Security- administered fusion centers use a nationwide microwave/laser radiation "directed energy" weapons system to silently torture, impair unconstitutionally "targeted" Americans and their families -- an American genocide hiding in plain sight.

For the rest of the story:

http://nowpublic.com/world/obama-wrong-west-point-u-s-does-torture-its-own-citizens OR (if link is corrupted): http://NowPublic.com/scrivener re: "GESTAPO USA"

Posted by: scrivener50 | December 2, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

I second all of nodebris' comment, especially the first sentence.

Posted by: shrink2 | December 2, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

I second all of mark_in_austin's comments. Well said, especially the first.

To all who complain about the time line, you should note that Obama is committing to decide on the success or failure of the effort within his own term. There is a stark contrast there to note.

Complaints from left or right that this decision is a betrayal of his campaign promises merely display the speaker's inattention to his actual campaign promises. The announced plan is entirely consistent with his frequent statements on AfPak during the campaign.

Posted by: nodebris | December 2, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

"Obama wants to “impose homosexuality and silence Christianity in workplaces”:"

They are quite obviously getting desperate.

Perkins is no longer talking to the WHOLE congregation, just it's wingnuts.

In many ways, it is a good sign that at least some evangelical Christians have stopped listening to the partisan drivel that has no place in faith, or this rhetoric would not be so exaggerated.

Clearly, Perkin's message is no longer intended for the whole congregation, but just it's most extreme right wing.

Like I said, it is good evidence that many misled Christians have come to their senses. But, considering the volatility and sheer hypocrisy that wing of their church represents, one can only surmise that they are doubling down on a bad bet, and are going all-in on the hate card they think they have in the hole...

I think a gambling metaphor is QUITE appropriate in this case.

Posted by: JEP07 | December 2, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

On that drindl, I fully agree with you. But, I am more tolerant of the left's frustration. Having waited a half century for progressive change, and having elected a President who promised it in the form of constructive progressive government reforms and a reality based foreign policy, one can uderstand their rage at seeing Obama seeming to bend back to a direction they find all too familiar.

Look. If it works, Obam will be the toast of the world. If it fails--he will be a plae imitation of George W. Bush. Unlike so many, I am willing to give the man a chance. I still have my doubts and believe the truly courageous thing to do is stand up to this silly, irrelevant, obsolete right wing cabal who's brains were marinated in the old John Birch Society view of history as enunciated in the 1950s, given something of an intellectual heft by Ayn Rand and Fyodor Hayek, but subsequently proved to have been so much flatulence in the wind, having a half century of failed foreign policies behind us.

Remember. It was not American military invincibility that actually brought the Soviet Union down. Ask Gorbachev. He will tell you straight out--he simply could not afford to spend the gargantuan amounts of money required to keep up with us.

This may indeed prove to be our downfall as well. We simply may not be able to afford it if a real shooting war is necessary with Iran or North Korea.

Posted by: jaxas | December 2, 2009 10:19 AM | Report abuse

auburninbp writes
"Apparently vital interests are a limited time offer only. How can somebody who spent 3 months thinking about this crap, make such an obvious error in logic?"

auburn, what alternative are you proposing? The most obvious are: 1) pull out now; 2) maintain the status quo; or, 3) escalate without a timeline. Given the concern for our vital interests, 1 is a non-starter. 2 is as well, if you believe, as the president stated, that Afghanistan has been back-sliding for the last 6 years. The problem with 3 is the cost. At about $1 million per soldier per year, this escalation alone will cost about $30 billion per year. The total new commitment for the Obama admin is about $60 billion per year (recall about 30K additional troops were sent earlier this year). How long can we plausibly maintain that troop level? The WH chose to set a timeline, partially in order to pressure Afghani and Pakistani political leaders to think about what happens when we leave. Maybe in 18 months the conditions on the ground are such that the timeline-driven beginning of withdrawl will mandate we can only implement a token force reduction (as was the situation in Iraq, I think). When President Bush proposed the surge in Iraq, I was skeptical, but argued we should give Petraeus the chance to prove it was the right course. We should give President Obama & his team the same courtesy.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 2, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

From a friend, re the incoherent whining on the Right:

"What are the right-wingers upset about? They got everything they wanted. I could understand why some on the other side of the aisle are mad, but not those on the right. McChrystal made a request, Obama gave him everything he wanted, and the troops are going to be there faster than he even requested.

And yet they are mad at Obama. I just simply don’t get it. I don’t even get the anger over the “timeline,” because unless I am completely forgetting things, the Bush surge originally only planned for the troops to be there for a set period before scaling back from the surge. Otherwise it wouldn’t be a surge, it would simply be a major escalation. The plan was to surge the troops to Baghdad, stabilize the region, and then withdraw.

What am I not understanding? What am I missing?"

Posted by: drindl | December 2, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

'So why are the same people who were peeing their pants about 'islamic extremism' when we were invading Iraq [where the terrorism was NOT coming from] now saying we should slink home in defeat and just ignore a real and serious threat where it actually exists?'

Well put Drindl, the hypocrites will be hypocrites always, first and foremost, it is their lot in this life to do so.

But I agree, so many on the left who are opposed to war, per se, are sincere in their criticism of Obama, and I might have joined their criticism if I hadn't been studying the Civil War lately.

Lincoln faced the same sort of double-edged sword when Grant was camped outside Petersburg and Sherman was stalled at Atlanta. Lincoln's own supporters started turning on him because the war seemed to drag on interminably, and his blowhard detractors had a field day because of it.

But he remained true to his own convictions, and saw it through regardless of popular pressure.

So I am more inclined than some on the left to trust Obama's instincts on this issue.

But there is no doubt, the hypocrites who frothed at the mouth so rabidly in support of Bush for the very same decisions are now just naysaying for political reasons, and they do not deserve to be called patriots.

Posted by: JEP07 | December 2, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

If there is one inescapable lesson we should take away from this decade it is this: American military power is no longer an effective means settling disputes or for projecting American influence in the world.

It is singularly odd that most of the rest of the world along with a majority of Americans get this but, that the American political right as represented by such disparate voices as Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh and Bill Kristol, do not. They are still out there giving voice to this silly, obsolete rhetoric that is so reminiscent of 20th century cold war polemics--that Jihadists are an existential global threat akin to Nazi Germany in the 40s or Soviet Russia in the 60s.

The right is still living in a world that no longer exists, bandying about passe' rhetoric extolling the invincibility of American military power and warning of socialism in our government and monolith threats from abroad. This is all they know. Their entire movement is based on an unserviceable, obsolete philosophy that is no more trelevant to the 21st century than the old cowboy ways of carrying sidearms was to the 20th century.

Alas, the right is forever trapped in a mindset that seems always to be a century behind the rest of the world.

Posted by: jaxas | December 2, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I addressed those posters who disagreed with the surge based on actual principles. I completely understand how they feel.

But for those who condemn Obama in contemptible terms, who denigrate the military, who were, i am sure, cheerleading for war in iraq all the way, who say despicable things like this:

'obama views his reelectionas more important than the "vital national interest".

why should they be seen as anything other than cowardly hypocrites?

Posted by: drindl | December 2, 2009 9:50 AM | Report abuse

Apparently vital interests are a limited time offer only. How can somebody who spent 3 months thinking about this crap, make such an obvious error in logic? Well, maybe Momma Pelosi won't really let him do it. The expression "beyond the pale" comes to mind.

God save Obama because Binden and Pelosi follow him. Gulp.

Posted by: Auburninbp | December 2, 2009 9:49 AM | Report abuse

exactly jaxas. the unhinged Right is a machine grinding out an endless stream of vile anti-democratic propaganda--it never stops. here's one just from today. And these are people who call themselves 'christians.'

'In a four-page solicitation letter mailed to supporters this month, which was obtained by ThinkProgress, the conservative organization went even further in its rhetoric, claiming that President Obama wants to “impose homosexuality and silence Christianity in workplaces”:

In the body of the letter, which was signed by FRC President Tony Perkins, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) is quoted as saying that ENDA legislation would mean that “the federal government would be dictating to religious institutions and organizations whom they must hire.” The letter also claims the law could lead to an “employer telling you to remove the Bible from your desk because it is offensive to the homosexual or cross-dresser he was forced to hire.”

Posted by: drindl | December 2, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

drindl, one of those comments came from a liberal. Calm down, please!

I did experience a flash of anger toward the poster who denigrated the Cadets. Getting into West Point is tough - think near Ivy test scores plus proven leadership ability in everything from football to student government plus physical fitness. Getting through; surviving to become a commissioned officer is yet much tougher. The poster has never known a cadet or midshipman or graduate of the USMA, USAFA, or USNA if he thinks they are either soft or dumb. They are truly a national pride and no one, antiwar or anti Obama, liberal or conservative, should be permitted to insult them without being called down for it.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 2, 2009 9:43 AM | Report abuse

“In the last few months alone, we have apprehended extremists within our borders who were sent here from the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit new acts of terror.”


I guess the question is, whether you want another 9/11 or not. And of course, there are people who would like to see that happen, just to be able to blame it on obama.

Posted by: drindl | December 2, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

Drindl, it seems to me to be rather bad form for anyone on the political right to be pleading for civility. What monumental hypocrisy! What you deserve is precisely to have shived back in your face and smeared happily the same sort of feces you righties seem to love wallowing in.

Limbaugh's grand hogpen!

Posted by: jaxas | December 2, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse

strategic error

dagger to the heart of the reason Obama was elected

what has he done that GWB, McCain, Cheney, or Hillary would not have done?

Posted by: blasmaic | December 2, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

"In announcing his 18-month escalation strategy for Afghanistan, President Obama underscored his view that “Islamist extremism in the region remains an enduring threat to the security of Americans.” Obama revealed, “In the last few months alone, we have apprehended extremists within our borders who were sent here from the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit new acts of terror.”

So why are the same people who were peeing their pants about 'islamic extremism' when we were invading Iraq [where the terrorism was NOT coming from] now saying we should slink home in defeat and just ignore a real and serious threat where it actually exists?

There are certainly thoughtful people who have commented here who are agonized about sending further troops. But there are also others whose glaring hypocrisy makes this an opportunity for another cheap shot at obama, because that is all they do, no matter he does.

Posted by: drindl | December 2, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

I disagree with sending in more troops but I feel for President Obama because he was left with such a mess by the boneheaded foreign policies of his predecessors.

I find it shameful and appalling that Dick Cheney has the tripes to be critizizing Obama and trying to tell us he was "projecting weakness" given his own personal weakness during the Vietnam conflict when he was a young man. Indeed, a great many of President Obama's war critics are coming from those who demonstrated cowardice during the Vietnam conflict. Rush Limbaugh is most notorious in this respect because, owing to his father's influence with a local physician in Limbaugh's home town, Cape Girardeau, Missouri, he was able to obtain a medical deferment presumably having to do with an unfortunate tendency to mess his pants when frightened or under stress.

Posted by: jaxas | December 2, 2009 9:31 AM | Report abuse

For all of you who were asking the 'left-leaning' for civility -- now do you see why it's a waste of time?

'If you'll pardon the expression with reference to his belief in his own decision-making skills, he's Michael Dukakis in blackface.'

'I didn't think it was possible to surge and retreat in the same speech until now. Maybe the right and left TelePrompTer now say two different things. Why is every speech a photo op and never sound policy?'

'Did you see those little girls pushing each other, trying to get a picture with Hanna Montana? errr-- with Barack Obama?'

Posted by: drindl | December 2, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

ProCounsel, I would address your concern this way.

1] We are not capable of controlling the destiny of AfPak without three cooperating factors: Pakistan, Afghanistan, and NATO. Further, we require the passivity of Russia, China, and India. We have some of the cooperating factors in place, at the moment. Pakistan is engaged in fighting the Taliban in Waziristan. UK has committed $750M over the next 24 months. Russia lets us use its airspace [Afg is landlocked]. Thus:

2] We still have a window of opportunity within which to operate, but

3] The failure of Afg itself to become viable, or the loss of NATO support, or a flagging effort by Pakistan, or mischief from Russia or China or India could doom the effort.

If you accept that we do not alone control the outcome, and you further accept that our own economic strength is as important as our military dominance, then you might accept that a maximum, but time limited, engagement makes sense.

If we are to fail in the region, we may well know that in 18 months. I grant that if we are to succeed we may well not know that in 18 months. Such are the complexities of these matters.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 2, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

"timed for 2012 elections."

If it lands that way, all the better, it means Obama meant what he said about withdrawal.

Bush used his own surge so politically, it made most of us who could read between the lines nauseated.

If Obama can pull some level of order out of this chaos before the next election, he deserves to be reelected, and will be considered historically as one of our great first-term Presidents.

If that makes you rage inside at the thought of it, you are one of those anti-patriots I mentioned a couple comments ago...

Doesn't matter to you if we succeed in Afghanistan in ANY way, as long as your Obama derangement syndrome is gratified with some sort of failure.

But, there's probably 25% out there who will regard every act Obama commits as a failure, because you are so brainwashed you can't see the truth through the lies.

Posted by: JEP07 | December 2, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

What are all you Obama derangement hypocrites going to do when we really DO start pulling out of Afghanistan?

I don't pretend to know the future, but the same miscreants who defended Bush for his own surge and ignored his eventual acquiescence to a timeline, now claim that Obama's plan, which includes a beginning AND a hoped-for end, is somehow misguided.

Fickle, hypocritical anti-patriots, all of you. If Jesus, Moses, Mohammed, Buddha and Hare Krisna all appeared at a press conference and told you to love Obama, you would argue with them.

Posted by: JEP07 | December 2, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Chris, when you say "this is our first thoughts,' who is "us?"

Posted by: jbwfoto | December 2, 2009 9:09 AM | Report abuse

the obama afghan used car warranty–defeat al-qaeda or 18 months whichever comes first

in ww2 president roosevelt hoped the us invasion of north africa would occur before the midterm elections. But he refused to dictate the timing for political purposes.

on december 1, 2009 obama selected the exit date for us troops BEFORE they set foot in afghanistan timed for 2012 elections.

if, in fact, afghan is a “vital national interest” as obama said, (and it is) how can that interest have a limited used car warranty??

Posted by: ProCounsel | December 2, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

the obama afghan used car warranty–defeat al-qaeda or 18 months whichever comes first

in ww2 president roosevelt hoped the us invasion of north africa would occur before the midterm elections. But he refused to dictate the timing for political purposes.

on december 1, 2009 obama selected the exit date for us troops BEFORE they set foot in afghanistan timed for 2012 elections.

if, in fact, afghan is a “vital national interest” as obama said, (and it is) how can that interest have a limited used car warranty??

Posted by: ProCounsel | December 2, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Unfortunately, there are times when you have to wage war to achieve peace.

I'm a retired military vet. I thought it was a good speech and I think the president has charted a reasonable course.

The previous administration left a mess, both in foreign affairs and in the U.S. economy. Like him or not, President Obama has taken ownership of the problems and accepted the thankless task of trying to fix them.

No matter how he acts, someone will criticize him. Some in the U.S. apparently want him to fail to purely to satisfy their own personal or political aims, even if that failure results the death of innocents abroad or the onset of another Great Depression. They would welcome catastrophe as a chance to reverse an election result they didn't like, not caring the cost to the country.

How sad that, as a society, so many have become so narrow and short-sighted that they cannot accept any good idea that comes from someone they hate for no reason other than he's not one of "them."

As with past presidents, this president will not be judged on the quality of his speeches, but on his administration's results. It was a good speech. Let's see where we are in 18 months. Then we'll have some results (or lack thereof) to chew on.

Posted by: Gallenod | December 2, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

"Do Americans have such short memories that they forget President Obama inherited an unprecedented mess when he was voted into office?"

Do idiots have short memories that they forget Obama Begged to made president, he was so certain his 1.5 years of senatorial
experience would allow him to solve everything?

get over, Obama BEGGED to be president, he didnt' "inherit" it, he asked for it

Posted by: tru-indy | December 2, 2009 8:58 AM | Report abuse

obama is just a better spoken bush.
another corporate clown

Posted by: tru-indy | December 2, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

I am surprised he took the time from fundraising for the DNC, campaigning for losing democrat candidates in NJ and VA, and golfing to fly to West Point. What a guy. Nice of him to give troops and their families only one month's notice of a deployment. If he had decided 4 months ago, military families would have had more time to plan.

More importantly, there must be 28 parties at the White House between now and Christmas. Who cares about the military?

Posted by: Cornell1984 | December 2, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

It was an impassioned speech that probably pleased more folks on the right or in the center than in his own Democratic base.

http://www.political-buzz.com/

Posted by: parkerfl1 | December 2, 2009 8:14 AM | Report abuse

RobT1, there was an audience for that speech in the room at West Point.

The commissioned graduates of my daughter's NROTC class at UCLA who were in the Gulf would email her and gently wonder what their specific mission was. They never questioned their deployment, but they were a group of newly minted aerospace engineers who were now Navy pilots who just found themselves on training runs continually.

The speech was directly about mission and goal to the next group of field officers. In that, it was a sober presentation. The logic within the Army for the why and wherefore is reinforced and understood.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 2, 2009 7:59 AM | Report abuse


Do Americans have such short memories that they forget President Obama inherited an unprecedented mess when he was voted into office? Thanks to Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and cronies, America has been entangled in Afghanistan and Iraq for eight years. This was just fine with the Republicans because their campaign donors in the defense industry were making billions off these wars. President Obama is in a \"damned if you do, damned if you don't\" position with respect to the economy, health care, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, etc. etc.. Thankfully he's an intelligent and rational man who considers all the angles before making his decisions, regardless of the popularity of those decisions.


Ordering more troops to Afghanistan blows to smithereens all the criticism that he caters to the leftwing and considers only his reelection. Let's stop the carping long enough to appreciate the unusual independence of our president.

Posted by: bamccampbell | December 2, 2009 7:57 AM | Report abuse

douglaslbarber: No, he is a bush, in black face. Nato (how many countries are in Nato?) is PROBABLY sending 5,000 more; the united states is sending 30,000. What is wrong with this equation.

He blame bushs because: if you are left with a level playing field, you can start to build; If you are left with a pit, or mountain, you have to move lots of feces before you can build.

The Afghans will not be ready in 2011, we have no exit.

Posted by: linda_521 | December 2, 2009 7:53 AM | Report abuse

I just didn't "Feel It" with this speech. Maybe the Teleprompter was having a bad day.

Posted by: RobT1 | December 2, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

By December of 2010, when the violence in Afganistan is greatly decreased from its current levels, this move will be seen the same way the surge in Iraq is seen, as a successful policy move. I still think he should fire McChrystal for using the media to influence policy though.

Posted by: AndyR3 | December 2, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

In Vietnam, we fought the same war the French fought, since it was always a war of liberation to our opponents.

We are fighting the same war against Jihad which the Soviets fought. We are 'kinder and gentler', but it is the same war.

The difference is that we will not have to return to Vietnam, but we shall have to return to Afghanistan and other hotbeds of Jihad, again and again.

Posted by: elfraed | December 2, 2009 7:32 AM | Report abuse

By expending more American lives, instead of fewer, this surge will allow the United States to "save face" by leaving Afghanistan under improved conditions, rather than under deteriorating conditions.
And, no matter how well or poorly we do in the coming months, WE WILL HAVE TO RETURN to this battleground of global Jihad, in some form or fashion.
Then, we will be asking ourselves, "What were all those lives, all those years and a mighty effort...for?"
Whatever answers our leaders give, whatever the lessons learned, will soon be forgotten. The Pentagon's collective memory has a half-life of only ten years. Politicians will forget at the next election. Since most Americans never remember, they will have nothing to forget.
We will have done everything we could really afford.

Posted by: elfraed | December 2, 2009 7:10 AM | Report abuse

Only the very stupid would still believe the con-artist and flim-flam man Barack Obama, who obviously hasn't a clue about running anything, including the war in Afghanistan. What he was doing with his speech was selling wolf whistles and playing both sides against the middle--and the American people have started to figure it out, which is why his poll numbers are tanking. The most recent USA Today/Gallup Poll of Nov. 20-22 had Obama's Approval on Afghanistan: 35% approve--55% disapprove; Economy 44% approve--53% disapprove; Healthcare policy 40% approve--53% disapprove, and Creating jobs 40% approve--55% disapprove. At this rate Barack Obama will go down in history as the worst president ever, a well-deserved position consitering the mess he's made of just about everything so far. What did you expect from a incompetent guy with no experience who was a Communist, a racist white--hater and a America--hater for all of his adult life?

Posted by: armpeg | December 2, 2009 6:04 AM | Report abuse

the

Posted by: AndyR3 | December 2, 2009 4:28 AM | Report abuse

The use of the grammatical first person indicates taking responsibility and ownership for one's words. If you see it as vanity that's your problem and probably reflects your immersion in that "celebrity" BS left over from the campaign.

Perhaps you liked Reagan's weaselesque passive voice... "mistakes were made" .. I mean, cantcha just hear the buck screeching to a halt at his feet?

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 2, 2009 2:45 AM | Report abuse

Mark

notice that every speech is I, I, I. Actually pretending to praise others while in reality simply praising himself. No ones buying anymore. Obambi is not liked by the military. It is a meritocracy. He has not earned any respect.

Posted by: snowbama | December 2, 2009 1:45 AM | Report abuse

This looks like a more interesting dialogue cc. The loons have not flooded the thread.

I didn't think it was possible to surge and retreat in the same speech until now. Maybe the right and left TelePrompTer now say two different things. Why is every speech a photo op and never sound policy?

Poor Barry. So far over his head. Finally a decision that was a three month dither on a previous decision that now includes a preordained surrender and defeat.

Posted by: snowbama | December 2, 2009 1:39 AM | Report abuse

Douglas Barber posted, as a criticism:

"...without even an aside about the gift a soldier offers the nation when he lays down his life."
------------------------------
I thought the following remarks were appropriate:

"As cadets, you volunteered for service during this time of danger. Some of you have fought in Afghanistan. Some of you will deploy there. As your commander-in-chief, I owe you a mission that is clearly defined and worthy of your service.
....
Most of all, I know that this decision asks even more of you, a military that, along with your families, has already borne the heaviest of all burdens.
As president, I have signed a letter of condolence to the family of each American who gave their life in these wars. I have read the letters from the parents and spouses of those who deployed. I've visited our courageous wounded warriors at Walter Reed. I've traveled to Dover to meet the flag-draped caskets of 18 Americans returning home to their final resting place.

I see firsthand the terrible wages of war. If I did not think that the security of the United States and the safety of the American people were at stake in Afghanistan, I would gladly order every single one of our troops home tomorrow.
-----------------------------------------------

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 2, 2009 12:09 AM | Report abuse

PM Brown pledged $600M+. I apologize for the order-of-magnitude typo.

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

drindl, CC obviously thought BHO had originated that turn of phrase when those of us who have had to memorize portions of Lincoln's great speeches because we are older than dirt heard Lincoln's words at Cooper Union.
So an older editor or a perhaps a phrase book rescued CC as he went to press.

ceflyline, it is always a pleasure to read your take.

bsimon1, those of us who have come to see the AfPak border as the place where AQ is nourished by a Taliban that knows no borders had discounted leaving the field, but were looking for a formulation with some promise. The three pillars BHO set out had to include the Pakistani effort, and did.

Because no significant troop buildup could occur before 2010 in any case, I, like you, was glad he took the time to think it out. The final result is not completely in the hands of the USA and the allies. It ultimately requires a Pakistani effort and an Afghan one. We must hope for the best.

On Monday, UK PM Brown pledged $60M+ to build schools in the border region to offset the effect of the Madrassas. He said in his speech to Commons that 2/3 of terrorist activity in the UK had rooted in the soil of the AfPak borderlands. NATO has a real stake in pacifying that region they must keep them engaged, too.

Finally, we recognize that if we do our best but it proves not good enough, we may withdraw without dishonor. This is nothing but the realization that discretion is the better part of valour. At this moment, we have not yet done our best. The next 18 months are committed to reaching that standard.

Posted by: mark_in_austin | December 1, 2009 11:48 PM | Report abuse

I am an Obama partisan. I was not impressed by "the speech".

He doesn't understand military culture (hence the long diatribes about the lousy economy and the dollar costs of wars without even an aside about the gift a soldier offers the nation when he lays down his life), and if he's committed to anything more inspirational than "I'm the person best suited to make these decisions" it's not immediately apparent.

If you'll pardon the expression with reference to his belief in his own decision-making skills, he's Michael Dukakis in blackface.

Posted by: douglaslbarber | December 1, 2009 11:46 PM | Report abuse

It was a great speech. Just hope this surge works. Unsure about the July 2011 deadline though I understand it will (hopefully) put pressure on the Afghanistan govt. to take ownership of the situation there sooner rather than later. An open ended commitment would just enable the Afghan govt. to continue to let us do the heavy lifting. But what happens if the situation is still crapped out come July 2011? Does he start the pullout anyway? He took a gamble that may not pay off.

Posted by: adhughes | December 1, 2009 11:38 PM | Report abuse

What a stinking disappointment Obama has become as president.

Posted by: georgejones5 | December 1, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

Even if the USA were to withdraw tomorrow into fortress America, you'd still have three generations of Bin Laden wannabes and Sirhan Sirhans inflicting their god's vengeance on us.

So the problem is not a simple one.

George W. Bush wasn't utterly stupid - after 9/11 he began the process of getting us out of Saudi Arabia.

That's half the solution - disengaging. The other half is keeping the Bin Ladens of the world on notice that there will be Hell to pay

Posted by: douglaslbarber | December 1, 2009 11:21 PM | Report abuse

Did you see those little girls pushing each other, trying to get a picture with Hanna Montana? errr-- with Barack Obama?

Those girly cadets at West Point are the ones who will protect the U.S.????

God save us!!!

Posted by: tropicalfolk | December 1, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

I grow weary of the Bush bashing. I hated Bush and think he will go down in history as a terrible president. Sure he left a huge deficit and did not pay for his wars. Now the Democrats spend four times what Bush did and pay for nothing. When questioned, they blame Bush. The legacy they leave their grandchildren is a trashed dollar and a mountain of debt. I guess they will look into their Grandchild's eyes and say it was Bush. It will not fly, two stupidities do not cancel each other out. Fight the war, win the war and pay for it now.

Posted by: gvelanis | December 1, 2009 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Are there any rational thinkers at all in American government anymore? Soldiers (someones wife, husband, father, brother) are dying while government officials (some with no more resolve than the average citizen) are too busy speculating and criticizing instead of finding a responsible and credible solution to national problems. An even more melancholy truth is that they can afford to falter and make impulsive decisions because their lives won't have to pay for it.. I guess they leave that to other Americans. If we really had clear objectives in Afghanistan after 9/11, why did we abandon "A war of necessity" for Iraq.? This was a poorly planned campaign to begin with. We shouldn't be there and now we're trying to save face by making last minute reasons on why we still are. There's terrorism in Africa, are we going there next too? The days of our honorable forefathers and doing what was best for America are gone. When we finally pull out of Afghanistan, there will be one question hovering in the minds of Americans just as much as the international community: Was it worth it?

Posted by: Fact-From-Fiction | December 1, 2009 11:09 PM | Report abuse

Obama did, as he has taken to doing in his major speeches since taking office, close his address with a lofty call to America's better angels -- rejecting the idea of "might makes right" for {his own} Abraham Lincoln's "right makes might" formulation.

Couldn't help but notice the strikeover of the words "his own" in brackets above. Freudian slip?
You and every other Obama apologist need to tear the veil from your eyes. There was nothing sincere, sober, or persuasive about the speech. This President is callous, utterly political, and the most obliging puppet ever to occupy the White House. He reads his speeches beautifully. The only problem? There is no sign that the man has any feelings, any personal convictions, any pathos in him. He's just a good reciter of the material he's been given.

Posted by: Toosoonoldtoolatesmart | December 1, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

er..."neoconservativism"

Posted by: douglaslbarber | December 1, 2009 11:06 PM | Report abuse

ceflynline, I think it's almost self-evident that absent a massive US military presence and/or a massive bribery machine, your average Afghan or Pakistani inclines more toward Islamism than, say, toward neoconservavism.

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

"Obama did, as he has taken to doing in his major speeches since taking office, close his address with a lofty call to America's better angels -- rejecting the idea of "might makes right" for *his own* Abraham Lincoln's "right makes might" formulation."

a little curious, Chris, about why 'his own" was typestruck out and replaced by 'Abraham Lincoln's" formulation --does this denote plagarism? Or what, exactly? I didn't think that the speech cited had anything to do with 'right makes might.'

Posted by: drindl | December 1, 2009 11:02 PM | Report abuse

" "Unlike Vietnam, we are not facing a broad-based popular insurgency." - President Obama, 12/1/2009 What evidence can be offered in support of that claim? Posted by: douglaslbarber"

Would you accept the testimony of his intelligence people? Or a reasonable reading of dispatches from the front.

And actually what doomed S Viet nam wasn't a broad based insurgency, (Twet 68 proved that didn't exist) but a continuous resupply and remanning effort from the North that sent as many as a million Northern troops south to die. What doomed Thieu and Ky was the willingness of the North to replace one wrecked division after another.

The Taliban are using all tyheir avail;able forces, have no reserves, and have no North Viet nam to make their losses good.

AND their base sanctuaries aren't it the relatively safe and non hostile jungles of Cambodia, but in the Tribal areas of Pakistan, where they are often less than welcome. Diasrupt them, drive them into the Tribal areas, and keep them there for a couple years and they will cease to be much of a problem, since the tribes will eliminate them as soon as they begin to bother the triobes, which they will certainly do. If the tropps begin arriving in country in january, and the build up takes to July, and the first draw downs begin a year later, and continue apace, the ectual effect really gives Karzai NATO support for most of two years. In that time he can make progress, and he can at least establish sufficient war lord support that were he to ask us to tarry and help him he would do so as legitimate leader.

Loya jerga and all that.

Posted by: ceflynline | December 1, 2009 10:36 PM | Report abuse

I'm very disappointed in President Obama continuing the Bush legacy of War. After 8 years of on-going Warfare, I wanted this War to be over and our brave Men and Woman to come home. Diplomacy needs to be utilized to end the Struggle....when we leave in 2011 what will have happened to make Afganistan take respondsibility for itself? President Karzi? Please I'd rather see PeeWee Herman run the country with more accomplishments!!

Posted by: Tommytoons | December 1, 2009 10:26 PM | Report abuse

It's hard to see how he could have explained the history of the problem without appearing to "bash" Bush. A lot of problems developed during that time and a mistakes were made. He has to mention that. I guess if the shoe fits....

Posted by: bgormley1 | December 1, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

"A situation he "believes" was mucked up by Bush? Who ignored Afghanistan for Iraq? Jimmy Carter? Quit the he-said-she-said weasel wording, it's disgraceful. Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite"

Sometimes inference and allusion speak more strongly than direct condemnation. "Ill considered decisions and insufficient preparation" says the same thing as "Those idiots couldn't plan sunburn at Coney Island"

and leaves the speaker with his dignity.

He laid out his argument point by point, understated the part that accuses his predecessor, and suggested that he was giving a hard push to make control of the Taliban possible. We know the who, what, when, where, and how. We know the why.

Like Lieutenant Robinette we have his firm "Fix Bayonets" followed by his inspiring "Follow me."

Will we follow?

Posted by: ceflynline | December 1, 2009 10:24 PM | Report abuse

This was a horrible speech. Certainly there was nothing in there that captured one's imagination or made one feel that this was a cause that must be met. His demeanor was prissy - the side to side action, the uplifted chin, the compressed lips after each sentence, the waiting for the applause that never came. The only time he looked at the camera was when he "spoke" to the Afghans, you know the ones watching tv in their unelectrified huts.

God help us. 2010 and 2012 cannot come soon enough.

Posted by: bandmom22 | December 1, 2009 10:19 PM | Report abuse

The next campaign event is on Thursday with the one day job summit at the White House.

Perhaps some of the Halloween candy was saved and can be used.

Posted by: bsallamack | December 1, 2009 10:18 PM | Report abuse

The presidents sober address?? I must have been drunk then...

All I saw was someone promising unattainable goals and all in 18 months

Posted by: Straightline | December 1, 2009 10:16 PM | Report abuse

Rep McCollum on the war surtax. Audio of the interview available at the link.

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/12/01/mccollum-war-surtax/

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 1, 2009 10:14 PM | Report abuse

"Unlike Vietnam, we are not facing a broad-based popular insurgency." - President Obama, 12/1/2009

What evidence can be offered in support of that claim?

Posted by: douglaslbarber | December 1, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

We need a non-interventionist foreign policy as advocated by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Costly undeclared wars and the occupation of other countries only serves to weaken our national defense.

Posted by: David77 | December 1, 2009 10:11 PM | Report abuse

He just dropped the atomic bomb on our own already sorry economy tonight.

Are we sure he's not one of THEM (republicans or aQ)?

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

Most Dems in Congress will fall in line behind the President. Where he faces a challenge is in a funding bill that proposes to implement a surtax to pay for the war. MN Public Radio interviewed Rep Betty McCollum (D, MN-4) tonight discussing her support for that proposal.

On the speech, it was a bit dry & dense, so its easy to understand why people might have missed the arguments made for sending additional troops rather than maintaining the status quo or drawing down. Of course, some of those conclusions may have been reached prior to the speech anyhow; admittedly, I am biased to support the Commander in Chief given the evidence of due diligence on his part in exploring the available options we have in Pak/Afghan-istan.

Posted by: bsimon1 | December 1, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

We need a non-interventionist foreign policy as advocated by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. Costly undeclared wars and the occupation of other countries only serves to weaken our national defense.

Posted by: David77 | December 1, 2009 10:03 PM | Report abuse

I was oddly depressed by the speech. Before I watched it, I watched some of the coverage by the networks of September 11th and I understand the connection. What I don't understand is why we abandoned Afghanistan after the Soviets left, why we abandoned Afghanistan for Iraq and why we are still there eight years later. We blew it. We armed the Mujahadeen and then saw it turn against us. We let Bin Laden escape from Tora Bora. We have not gotten the job done and I wish Obama weren't finishing it.

Posted by: moninga1 | December 1, 2009 10:01 PM | Report abuse

President Obama seemed to take it for granted that more troops were going to go to Afghanistan, and he didn't do a very good job articulating why they should be going there. He talked about American exceptionalism and the burden the US has played in promoting international security, both of which are valid. But what does that have to do with using 30,000 more troops to train Afghanis?

I just don't know how to reconcile the statement that America has resolve in this fight when President Obama also said that we're gonna start pulling troops out in 18 months. Pick one, Mr. President.

Posted by: elninocanino | December 1, 2009 9:57 PM | Report abuse

ROBT1 seems to have forgotten that Bush did not "win" in Afghanistan in 7 years.

Posted by: edlharris | December 1, 2009 9:56 PM | Report abuse

Good to see Obama following the Bush surge doctrine that he endlessly critizized while he was a Senator. Also, pretty amusing that with all the dithering the past couple of months that made him a world wide laughingstock and all he comes up with is slightly less troops than requested by General McChrystal and the BS about maybe/possibly pulling out after the 2012 election. It would also be nice if Obama took responsibility for something instead of constantly blaming "former" President Bush for everything. I mean Bush has been out of office for 11 months now and at some point Obama is going to have to let the Bush bogeman go. I can see Obama in 2012 saying "Re-Elect me to the Presidency because everything that's gone wrong the past 4 years is still Bush's fault".

Posted by: RobT1 | December 1, 2009 9:42 PM | Report abuse

A situation he "believes" was mucked up by Bush?

Who ignored Afghanistan for Iraq? Jimmy Carter?

Quit the he-said-she-said weasel wording, it's disgraceful.

Posted by: GoldAndTanzanite | December 1, 2009 9:28 PM | Report abuse

obama views his reelection

as more important than the "vital national interest".

since obama will take our troops out--win or lose

in 2011

soley so obama does not lose in 2012

Posted by: ProCounsel | December 1, 2009 9:19 PM | Report abuse

Gifted and not so gifted orators throughout history have tried to arouse people in their countries to support their misguided wars. Actions speak louder than words. Obama's further military escalation in Afghanistan is, as Bob Herbert wrote in his latest column, a "tragic mistake."

How Obama, as a war president, ordering increased military intervention that will lead to more American troops and innocent civilians needlessly losing their lives, accept a peace prize is beyond my understanding.

Posted by: Aprogressiveindependent | December 1, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

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

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