Dec 01 2009

Excellent Speech Mr. President

Published by at 9:45 pm under All General Discussions,Bin Laden/GWOT

As the father of a newly minted Marine Lance Corporal who will, in all likelihood, deploy to Afghanistan sometime in the coming year I hope people appreciate this post. As I watched our President’s speech tonight I saw for the first time the office of the President settle upon Barack Obama’s shoulders. It was a critical moment, and I am glad to see it finally happen.

President Obama’s speech was very eloquent and honorable. He began by doing an excellent and fair job of spelling out how we came to this point in history. He reminded us the of the post 9-11 unity that initiated overwhelming votes of support for the Afghan war in both houses of Congress, how 9-11 activated for the first time Article 5 of NATO and brought the UN to rapid consensus. He touched on the war in Iraq in a very even handed and positive manner, using it as the example of success he wishes for Afghanistan. He noted his opposition, yet noted the success of Iraq. He acknowledged America is ready to deal with pressing problems at home, just when we need resolve in our battle against al Qaeda.

At first I thought the venue of West Point was a cheesy photo-op, but when he looked at those young kids (just like my young son now in training for the Marines) he acknowledged the burden he was putting on them and their families. It was an incredibly honest moment.

The President noted his personal pain of dealing with the sacrifices of war and openly admitted his desire to order everyone home to safety. He noted this as a foil to the weight of the decision he made to increase forces and break the back of Islamo Fascism. You could tell he wanted another, less painful solution. Thankfully he conveyed that to those young Americans. There is no more important gift to those going into harm’s way than to acknowledge their sacrifice and honor it.

The President noted the terrorists we have discovered inside our borders, trained and supported by the remnants of al Qaeda and the Taliban now hiding in the lawless regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan. He rightfully made the case that to let this cancer fester was to leave us all at great risk. He was gracious in acknowledging Pakistan’s efforts to clean out that part of the cesspool inside their borders. Something long overdue from us.

I do  not like is 18 month plan to pull forces back, but every plan has benchmarks and goals. If he is sincere to the goals, the schedule will adjust itself. We have time to see on that point.

And I understand his defensiveness on the 2010 deployment. No sane military strategist is going to mount an offensives in the southern regions of Afghanistan in the winter. That is not the time or place to make a risky move. I doubt any plan he has been given requires troop build ups by December 2009. The real battle plan is probably targeting March 2010. He is right, his need to discuss and challenge the plan did not delay anything. I would rather he get it right and get behind it than rush.

He has put all his political capital on the international front in making this work. President Obama is not doing this out of naiveté or inexperience. For the first time I saw a man rise to the stature of the office he holds. He knows how much rides on this.

I do not want my son put in harms way for nothing. And yet I will go to sleep tonight feeling that our President has thought this out seriously and feels this is important – as do I. I go to sleep with my regular concerns and fears (I am a father after all), but at least I can dispense of the feeling this is all show and not serious.

I salute Mr. President – well done my friend.

25 responses so far

25 Responses to “Excellent Speech Mr. President”

  1. Mike M. says:

    I have to disagree, AJ. This is too little, too late…a Hamlet-like dithering that accomplishes nothing save to squander wealth and lives.

    The case for stabilizing Afghanistan at any cost is defensible. It is imperative that the Pakistani nuclear arsenal not fall into Taliban or Al Quaeda hands…because if it is suspected that this will happen, the United States, Israel, and India all have more than ample cause to use all measures to destroy the Pakistani arsenal. Repeat ALL.

    But if you are going to do so, you don’t dither for six months or so, then give your hand-picked commander three-quarters of the forces he requested.

    Especially when dealing with the American public. For two centuries, the American public has been willing to fight like lions…for three years. Thirty-six months after combat begins, the public will demand to see either victory within reach or a disengagement in progress. Otherwise, it will go VERY hard for the party in power at the polls.

    If you mean to reinforce the Afghan front, you have to use overwhelming force, deployed with all speed. Public support is too brittle for any other option.

    What I’m seeing out of Obama is an attempt to delay, followed by a half-measure designed to let him pass blame to GEN McCrystal. About what you would expect from Obama

  2. crosspatch says:

    How many times did he utter the word “victory”? How many times did he utter the word “I”.

  3. Redteam says:

    I saw and heard it as Mike M. did.
    he spent 6 months trying to decide to make a 50/50 move. He shoulda been able to decide that in one week. He didn’t attempt to ‘get it right’ he attempted to ‘not get it wrong’. quite a difference. Getting it right would be to deploy and use the troops the right way. ‘not getting it wrong’ to him was to assuage his far leftie buddies in an attempt to keep them off his back.

    He’s still dithering, he only has the weight of the far leftie movement on his shoulders. Not much of a Pres, much less a CinC.

    What have we come to?

  4. kathie says:

    Perhaps when you have a son in harms you hear things differently.

  5. AJStrata says:

    Kathie – really? I should be predisposed to hear the worst, fear the worst. Maybe if you don’t have family in harms way you let in some bias.


  6. AJStrata says:

    For all you nay sayers – what benefit do I reap for congratulating the man?

    None. My son still goes to war and is at risk. You folks are slapping at windmills. You see evil everywhere.

  7. Terrye says:

    It sounds to me like he wants it both ways.

    He talks about the troops going in and then right back out again.

  8. Terrye says:

    I don’t see evil. I see a politician trying to placate his lefty base while he also tries to avoid losing a war.

  9. gary1son says:

    Sarah gives her conditional approval.

    What’s this talk of end dates, Obama? If you really believe in the cause, why in the world give hope, and an out, to the enemy? Why give them any reason to just lay low with the knowledge that you seem almost eager for some justification to exit?

    If we exit prematurely, it will be very difficult politically to ever go back there. If you set exit dates, it makes it very difficult politically for you to exceed them. Let’s get the job done, and s-can this talk of end dates and limits to our financial and psychological capacity for success.

  10. Terrye says:

    I also noticed he could not get through the speech without taking a swipe at Bush.

  11. gary1son says:

    I sure miss President Bush in that regard. He never blamed Clinton for his failures to deal with bin Laden when it was still possible.

    What a class act. What a contrast.

  12. Army Mom says:

    “…but at least I can dispense of the feeling this is all show and not serious.”

    I go to sleep tonight as a mother whose son is being deployed for the 3rd time (2nd time to Afghanistan) soon. I’m glad you are sleeping well, because I am not. I do not trust Obama to be sincere about the troops especially since he is doing nothing but playing political games with us and our children in the service. Don’t forget how he used dead soldiers recently as a photo op.

    In the spirit of discolsure, Obama lost me a long time ago when he was talking about the possiblility of one of his daughters becoming pregnant. He did not want to punish them with a baby. I am a non-aborted fetus that was adopted into a loving family. By virtue of his words, Obama thinks that I am a punishment…what does that make my child who is defending him? I look at most things he does with severe skepticism. When I first saw Obama during the campaign, I thought he had great promise. But those optimistic thoughts were blown away when the real Obama came out.

    My son goes to war for the 3rd time…He has earned his combat badge because he killed the Taliban who were trying to kill him. The bastards who celebrated at 9/11 tried to kill my son. Obama’s handpicked General wanted more troops to get the job done yet academic Obama knows better. It’s ok…Obama has parties at the White House so everything must be ok.

    I am not slapping at windmills. I am skeptical for very good reasons.

  13. Redteam says:

    Army Mom: thank God for young people such as your son. I hope he makes it through his 3 tour over there.

    People that have never deployed overseas to serve their country doesn’t know what a feeling of satisfaction that they have for doing something right, good and patriotic.

    I can’t understand the reasoning of a father that thinks when his daughter gets pregnant that she is being punished. My daughter has four fine sons and they are a blessing, not a punishment.

  14. Terrye says:

    Army Mom:

    I hear you. Good luck to you and your family.

  15. AJ, I can understand your feelings. My brother-in-law served in Afghanistan in 2008. I am grateful for your son’s willingness to serve. And yes, it is nice that we are sending more troops and that for now, the cut-and-run wing of the Democratic Party has been rebuked.

    That said, I cannot help but notice that McChrystal was jerked around for three months, and that he has been shorted by about 10,000 troops. Supposedly the latter will be made up by contributions from NATO allies, but NATO allies have been inconsistent. the Brits and Canadians have done good, but other NATO allies have been less than helpful due to ROEs.

    These two paragraphs are the giveaway:
    “As President, I refuse to set goals that go beyond our responsibility, our means, our or interests. And I must weigh all of the challenges that our nation faces. I do not have the luxury of committing to just one. Indeed, I am mindful of the words of President Eisenhower, who – in discussing our national security – said, ‘Each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs.’

    “Over the past several years, we have lost that balance, and failed to appreciate the connection between our national security and our economy. In the wake of an economic crisis, too many of our friends and neighbors are out of work and struggle to pay the bills, and too many Americans are worried about the future facing our children. Meanwhile, competition within the global economy has grown more fierce. So we simply cannot afford to ignore the price of these wars.”

    But as you pointed out, the July 2011 timetable is worrisome. It sends the wrong message. And what if the military advice from the commanders is to delay that pullout? Will he heed their advice, or will he cave in to the anti-war base of his political party?

    The speech leaves me asking one question: Does Obama want to win, is he looking to get out as soon as he thinks it is politically safe to do so, or is he leaving himself an out if he needs to placate his base in time for the 2012 election?

    I wish I could give him the benefit of the doubt, but the Democratic Party I have seen for the last two decades and change does not allow me that luxury.

  16. Army Mom says:

    Thank you Terrye & Redteam.

    AJ – I sincerly wish I was near enough to be able to hug you and your wife and let you know that I understand your fears very intimately. I would hug you both in a heartbeat.

    A few comforting thoughts for you. Trust their training…it is second to none. Marines are the best! (and the craziest guys on the planet). Trust your son and how you raised him to be one of my heros. Job well done, Dad!! Pray that God knows how scared you are and that he will protect your son and all of his batallion. Know that there are others out here that give a damn about your son and your family. I will pray with you that Obama becomes the leader we need him to be.

    I still have your back no matter what.

    Back on topic…Obama has lost Bill O’Reilly who has been hedging on Obama in the hopes that he could secure an interview with him. This is bad.

  17. Frogg1 says:

    I thought is speech was terrible (one of the worst he has given). However, his actions are excellent. And, it is his actions that really matter. I support his decision–and, he deserves compliments on that. Obama has made a lot of mistakes. However, when it comes to the actual battlefield he seems to be listening to the Commanders on the ground.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the withdrawal timeline. I think it may just be part of his confusing doublespeak:

    White House Officials Clarify Talk of Three Year Time Line in Afghanistan

    AJ, please tell your son how much we appreciate all that he does for his country. We wish him well.

  18. […] As I noted below, the President laid out to America a good case for the troop increases needed to try and break the back of the Taliban and al Qaeda. I also noted the idea of a ’schedule’ in war is not realistic or smart- but all military plans have timelines. They have to in order to have everything where it needs to be, when its needed. We shall see if this is really a big problem or not – only time will tell. […]

  19. kathie says:

    Holy cow AJ, I had just read what you wrote about Obama’s speech and then the next 3 comments which seemed to be quite critical of the very same speech. My thought was that when you have a child in the military you might hear things differently, as in not such political terms, but listen for those things that would help keep your son safe.

  20. kathie says:

    PS A good lambasting I suppose is always a good thing!