May 252014

The Commander in Chief made a surprise visit to the troops in Afghanistan today…

And our flag is still there because when our nation was attacked, a generation — this generation, the 9/11 Generation — stepped up and said “send me.” Our flag is still there because you’ve served with honor in dusty villages and city streets, and in rugged bases and remote outposts, in Helmand and Kandahar, and Khost and Kunar and Paktika and Nuristan. Our flag is still there because through this long war you never wavered in your belief that people deserve to live free from fear — over here and back home. Our flag will always be there, because the freedom and liberty it represents to the world will always be defended by patriots like you.

Full transcript of the President’s remarks is below the fold.

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Jun 222011

President Obama addressed the nation this evening on “The Way Forward in Afghanistan.” He outlined the expected troop withdrawal from that country and explained exactly what our goals are and were in that conflict. He also stressed the importance of all Americans working together to rebuild our own country. The speech was carried live by all the major television networks, but in case you missed it…

(I love the way they stage these things, by the way. It looks like he’s standing in some European castle, doesn’t it?)

Transcript follows the break.

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General resigns

 Posted by at 14:35  Politics
Jun 232010

Today, President Obama accepted the resignation of General Stanley McChrystal, commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, mostly due to remarks attributed to the general and his staff in this Rolling Stone article. He nominated General David Petraeus to replace General McChrystal.

A transcript of the President’s remarks follows the break.

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Dec 012009

President Obama went to the U.S. Military Academy to deliver a prime-time speech this evening outlining this country’s new strategy for the war in Afghanistan. He announced that 30,000 additional troops would be deployed to that theater as quickly as possible. He also set an 18 month limit on our commitment to that war, stating that our troops would begin withdrawal no later than July, 2011.

The text of the President’s speech follows the break.

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Lose to win

 Posted by at 11:40  Middle East, Politics
Dec 012009

President Obama will be delivering a prime time speech on national television tonight to explain his decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan. It will be carried live by all the networks (including, surprisingly, FOX) at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Central time. I have not heard or read the President’s speech so I probably should not comment on it, though the likely content has already been widely publicized. I did however listen to Keith Olbermann’s special comment last night so I can comment on that. I agree with Keith.

This video is from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast Nov. 30, 2009.

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Be sure you are watching tonight. What the President says will define the next decade of American history.

Decision Afghanistan

 Posted by at 19:00  Middle East, Politics
Nov 302009

I never said we would agree on everything. I am most definitely not on board with this…

Obama informs top diplomatic, military officials of Afghan decision

Washington (CNN) — President Obama has informed several top diplomatic and military officials about his decision regarding new U.S. strategy and troop levels in Afghanistan, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.

Obama called Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday to tell her about his decision, Gibbs said. The president later met in the Oval Office with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen, top U.S. Middle East military commander Gen. David Petraeus and White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, among others.

Obama also informed his top military commander in Afghanistan — Gen. Stanley McChrystal — and Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador to Kabul.

Obama gave orders to implement the new strategy during the Oval Office meeting, Gibbs said.

On Tuesday, Obama will travel to West Point, New York, to announce his decision on a request by McChrystal for up to 40,000 additional troops.

Obama is expected to send more than 30,000 U.S. troops and seek further troop commitments from NATO allies as part of a counterinsurgency strategy to wipe out al Qaeda elements and stabilize the country while training Afghan forces.

Gibbs said the president’s West Point speech will explain why the United States is involved in Afghanistan, the new American mission in the war-torn country and the process that led to Obama’s decision.

It should be an interesting speech.

I hope President Obama isn’t thinking that this will gain him any support from the war mongers on the right. It won’t.

Tale of Two Quagmires

 Posted by at 14:53  Middle East, Politics
Nov 212009

Even money says that you did not watch Bill Moyers Journal on PBS last night. Did you? Thought not. I did.

I found his commentary very interesting and extremely relevant. He equated President Lyndon Johnson’s march to war in Vietnam to the pressure President Obama is now under (mostly from the chicken hawks on the right) to escalate the war in Afghanistan. I’m going to post Mr. Moyers’ closing remarks here and follow them with the video (in two parts) from last night’s broadcast. I recommend you watch. I guarantee you’ll find it interesting, especially if you were alive and aware during the Johnson administration. You may even if you weren’t.

Now in a different world, at a different time, and with a different president, we face the prospect of enlarging a different war. But once again we’re fighting in remote provinces against an enemy who can bleed us slowly and wait us out, because he will still be there when we are gone.

Once again, we are caught between warring factions in a country where other foreign powers failed before us. Once again, every setback brings a call for more troops, although no one can say how long they will be there or what it means to win. Once again, the government we are trying to help is hopelessly corrupt and incompetent.

And once again, a President pushing for critical change at home is being pressured to stop dithering, be tough, show he’s got the guts, by sending young people seven thousand miles from home to fight and die, while their own country is coming apart.

And once again, the loudest case for enlarging the war is being made by those who will not have to fight it, who will be safely in their beds while the war grinds on. And once again, a small circle of advisers debates the course of action, but one man will make the decision.

We will never know what would have happened if Lyndon Johnson had said no to more war. We know what happened because he said yes.

LBJ’s Path to War, Part I:

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LBJ’s Path to War, Part II:

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I guess it is true what they say: Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

I hope we learned.