Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What this political mom thought of President Obama's shpeel.

1. The extraordinary amount of women in the audience. Are we finally well-represented in the military or just strategically placed? I was hoping it was the former and felt a little twinge of pride for our sex. In this case gun-toting women rock!

2. Does anyone else think his lips and teeth are blue? Is he not taking enough breaths between each word?

3. I liked his tie.

4. Finally an American political official who says Pakistan correctly.

5. What? Only 1-2 applause break-ins? Is that a record?

But seriously, I'm not for escalating this conflict, so I was really looking to the President to make his case. Boy oh boy can he give a great speech. Light on details, but heavy on patriotic juice. He's a likeable, persuasive man who could probably also sell me the Golden Gate Bridge, but did he sell this fight? I don't know.

From what I've read, the Middle East follows a particular pattern. If they actually want to be helped, progress is made. As we've seen in Iraq they will not be forced. Are the Afghans ready to fight the Taliban and govern themselves? Apparently some are, fighting that is, these spawns from Hell who treat women like the crud stuck on the bottom of their shoes. Perhaps that will turn the tide. But I fear for many things, like the cost in lives and dollars. Money that could be better spent here in the U.S.

I hope he's made the right decision.


Curt said...

I was glad to hear Obama finally admit that our nation faces a security risk if we cut and run and don't finish the war in Afghanistan. I'll also give credit where credit is due...Obama's speech was great, sobering, and the strategy is correct. Some conservatives are hammering Obama for only committing 30k troops rather than the 40k troops requested. However, I commend him, because Europe has committed the other 10k troops! I wonder why he didn't explicitly say that last night. It's all over the european news sites as early as yesterday that they've committed 10k troops to Afghanistan.

Anyway, about your comment on the "1-2 applause break-ins" Chris Matthews also commented on this and mentioned that Obama was in an "enemy camp" at West Point. Maybe the lack of applause was due to a long standing tradition at West Point of "quiet dignity" and respect for leadership. Perhaps they were showing respect for the commander in chief by letting him speak and listening, rather than relishing in the fact that they were in the presence of the great almighty chosen one (as is the case in virtually every other audience he finds himself). I saw an audience committed and intent on accomplishing the mission he laid out for them.

Conservatives also don't like the timetable that was given because it just emboldens the enemy who will now lay low for the next 18 months giving a false appearance of stability in the region while they just wait for us to leave. I don't think that's going to be the case. They've known all along that stability in the region would cause us to pull out...the enemy could have used that strategy this entire time and we'd be gone from there. The fact is, they believe it's a "holy war" and the enemies convictions to kill Americans will not stop. However, if conservatives are right, and the enemy does lay low for the next 18 months so they can take over once we leave...great! It would be great for our troops over there who would then have more opportunity to train the local forces if not distracted by roadside bombs and insurgent attacks.

These are my thoughts...The only criticism I have is that he should have given this strategy from behind his desk in the Oval Office. No need for photo-ops, no need for campaigning...just get the job done and make the executive decisions in the executive office. In my OPINION the mantle of authority for the office of The President exists in the OFFICE of the president and not on stage behind a podium, that's where press secretaries belong, behind podiums. That's why everyone feels he's still campaigning because he's making all these great speeches in front of thousands of screaming fans (like a rock star) which tends to diminish the mantle of authority he carries.

Lula O said...

Curt -
I was being sarcastic about the applause thing. I was happy he wasn't interrupted. It was a serious talk with serious consequences. And as far as selling his message. I'm glad he's doing it. He has a lot of people of convince. Gone are the days of a reclusive, secretive presidency. He made a long thoughtful decision, hearing all sides of the debate, and I'm glad he did it on his own terms, in his own time.

In truth, I'm mad we're still over there in the first place. We should've finished what we started right away, getting rid of osama bin laden, the mastermind of the attack against our country, instead of getting sidetracked in another country for made up reasons. Like most Democrats I'm ticked it's okay to spend billions on the military, but not billions on it's own citizens health and welfare. Unlike Glenn Beck, I believe these obligations are equal.

Laura's Reviews said...

Lula - I agree with you. I wish we would have done the job correctly int he first place and gotten rid of Osama bin Laden, never entered the war and Iraq, and would have instead kept all of the money here in the U.S. It's kind of sad in our engineering business meeting this morning, the biggest government spending projects are in Afghanistan and Iraq and not fixing our own infrastructure.

Carlos said...

Chris Matthews is foolish. He's apologized. For every three things he says, two of them are foot in his mouth, and the 3rd might be an interesting insight. Those cadets were respectful and friendly. They understood perfectly what their commander in chief said, and they were supportive.

I agree in large part with the thoughts expressed here. That region is a mess, thanks to Mr. "mission accomplished," GWB. Now President Obama has to take ownership of this war, and he's done it, with no really good options.

General McChrystal is "very happy" with this troop level. One reason we have civilian leadership is to keep the generals in check. They can never get enough troops, so it's up to the President to make those tough decisions. The President took his time, heard all sides, and made a sober and responsible decision.

On the timeline, I disagree with the critics, fundamentally. My reading of this is the President's done a smart thing, expecting to be criticized. Predictably McCain and the hawks on both sides are carping about this. But here's the deal: the President said, NO BLANK CHECKS, NO OPEN-ENDED COMMITMENT. We can't afford to stay there forever, and the President's in no mood to "muddle through." The message to Karzai and the Afghan gvt. is, "get your act together." NOW.

If the Taliban think they can "wait us out," as the critics say, they can think again. They're going to be hammered, and by the time 2011 rolls around, they're not going to be in a position to waltz back in. There are no arbitrary deadlines; they depend on conditions on the ground. But the President understands that setting a deadline concentrates everyone's minds, and he's betting on our troops getting the job done.

Another thing should be noted about Af-Pak, and the President mentioned this. In 2008, under GWB-Cheney, troop levels there were at about 34,000. GWB did not act on a request to double our forces, so it was under President Obama that troop levels were increased to 68,000. Now, with this latest escalation we'll have more than 100,000 troops there. It amuses me when traitors like Cheney accuse the President of "dithering." The question really is, will Gen. McChrystal be more like Patton ... or Westmoreland?

We wouldn't be in this hole if (1) GWB had listened to HIS commanders when it counted and sent the troops in when we had OBL cornered in Tora Bora, instead of invading Iraq, which had nothing to do with 9/11; (2) squandered the Clinton surplus on a tax cut for millionaires; and (3) DID NOT PAY FOR THE WAR, adding ONE TRILLION dollars to our deficit.

The President's plan is a variation on the Powell doctrine: Go in with overwhelming force, sufficient to accomplish the mission (which he defined), and have an exit strategy. It's also about preventing Pakistan with its nukes from falling into Taliban hands. Every American should get behind our President. He didn't ask for this fight. He's got a tough assignment and a big mess to clean up, but anyone who bets against him as a war leader will be making a huge mistake.

Lula O said...

Very sad Laura. Proof how once again we take second place to the military, and I realize that sometimes we must, but eight years for crying out loud??

I agree Carlos, and am generally okay with the President's assessment of this conflict. There is no way he could've won here, so at least he took his time with his decision. But we won't win this war. Just like we will never fully win in Iraq either. We will have moments of quite in between periods of raging problems. We can not step into a 1000 years of fighting and expect to cure it in a decade. So I hope he really does stick to his timeline, and really doesn't leave this mess for another president.