What was missing from last night’s speech? The word win.
Instead, what we got is this:
Now, let me be clear: There has never been an option before me that called for troop deployments before 2010, so there has been no delay or denial of resources necessary for the conduct of the war during this review period. Instead, the review has allowed me to ask the hard questions and to explore all the different options, along with my national security team, our military, and civilian leadership in Afghanistan, and our key partners.
Every time I hear Obama say “Now, let me be clear,” I hold on to my wallet, but this time he’s not talking about his disastrous economic policy. He’s justifying his dithering in terms of “no one pressed me for it, so why not dither?”
Then he gets to the most important part of the speech:
This review is now complete. And as commander-in-chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan.
After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home. These are the resources that we need to seize the initiative, while building the Afghan capacity that can allow for a responsible transition of our forces out of Afghanistan.
It’s in our vital interest to send 30,000 troops to hold things down until… he can have them return home in time for the August 2011 Democratic Convention?
Victor Davis Hanson summarizes the rest of the talking points:
- 1) Bush did it.
- 2) Avoiding the V-word.
- 3) Multilateral phantoms. The allies, contrary to the president’s expectation, will not be escalating with us. They are afraid of another Suez, and think that this drawn-out decision does not inspire a great deal of confidence about Obama’s desire to defeat the enemy. Our allies fear that we are fickle, and that Afghanistan is like Guantanamo —sorta closed, sorta open. When the multilateral, post-Western Obama ignores allies and reaches out to enemies, it is hard to galvanize allies in a traditional alliance.
- 4) Deficit. How strange on this military occasion to hear worries about fiscal responsibilities from a president who has just given the country its largest annual budget deficits in history, and who will, according to his own schedule, add more to the national debt than all previous presidents. In a speech intended to win support for more troops, Obama worries more about the $30 billion cost of Afghanistan, even while he borrows $1.7 trillion for everything from AIG bailouts to GM takeovers to “cash for clunkers.”
- 5) Partisanship
- 6) Stanley Baldwin, not Winston Churchill.
Hanson says Obama sounded like a dean. I prefer Paul Mirengoff‘s take,
To be precise, the speech sounded to me like a slick lawyer trying to sell a dubious settlement to a skeptical client or, in this case, set of clients.
Der Speigel says
Never before has a speech by President Barack Obama felt as false as his Tuesday address announcing America’s new strategy for Afghanistan.
One didn’t have to be a cadet on Tuesday to feel a bit of nausea upon hearing Obama’s speech. It was the least truthful address that he has ever held. He spoke of responsibility, but almost every sentence smelled of party tactics. He demanded sacrifice, but he was unable to say what it was for exactly.
An additional 30,000 US soldiers are to march into Afghanistan — and then they will march right back out again. America is going to war — and from there it will continue ahead to peace. It was the speech of a Nobel War Prize laureate.
In the speech, when speaking about Iraq, he stated,
Today, after extraordinary costs, we are bringing the Iraq war to a responsible end.
“Responsible end”: Will that phrase become the “Peace with honor” of our time?
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In 4608 words, he did not once mention the word “victory” and the closest he came to using the word “win” was those three letters appearing in the word “withdrawing.”
(Rick Moran and I talked about the speech in today’s podcast)