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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Obama's Speech Transcript From Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan

Did you watch President Obama's speech last night? If not, here is the transcript from CNN:

Speech Overview: President Obama announced that he signed an agreement with the Afghan government to remove combat troops from Afghanistan by 2014, and to have a continuing military presence there until 2024. The speech lasted approximately ten minutes and highlighted a staggered troop withdrawal to be executed over the next 2½ years. For the most part, I agree with the President on this. There is one main area of concern that I have. In the speech, President Obama said:

"As we move forward, some people will ask why we need a firm time line. The answer is clear: our goal is not to build a country in America's image, or to eradicate every vestige of the Taliban. These objectives would require many more years, many more dollars, and many more American lives. Our goal is to destroy al Qaeda, and we are on a path to do exactly that. Afghans want to fully assert their sovereignty and build a lasting peace. That requires a clear time line to wind down the war.

Others will ask why we don't leave immediately. That answer is also clear: we must give Afghanistan the opportunity to stabilize. Otherwise, our gains could be lost, and al Qaeda could establish itself once more. And as commander in chief, I refuse to let that happen."

I've always been skeptical of a timeline for withdrawal. Obama does bring up critics' questions about a timeline, but he doesn't answer this one: if we announce we are leaving (or removing all combat troops by an exact date), why do we think the enemy won't simple wait, reserve its resources, and escalate its violence, planning, and logistical movements until after we leave? Why won't Al Qaeda simply say, "well, the U.S. is leaving on XXX date, let's hold off and lay low until they do. Once they are gone, then we can rekindle some bases, plan attacks, wreak havoc on Afghanistan, and escalate the civil war and power void that existed before the U.S.-led operations." In my opinion, that question wasn't answered. 

What do you think of the President's speech? Our agreement and strategy? Please share your opinions below.


  1. My understanding (let me know if anyone knows otherwise) is that removing troops is a slow process that requires weeks/months of slowly removing troops and equipment and handing over or destroying bases and resources that can't be moved.

    With that said regardless of whether we tell al qaeda that we are leaving or not they will be able to tell when we are leaving by watching the movement on the ground. They will be able to stop attacks, build resources, and plan for attacks once we leave. I dont think the timeline changes there ability to plan and react to a withdraw of troops.

    The timeline does however hold fire to the local government and lets them know they have to get there house in order because we are leaving. I think the value of that pressure on the country's government outweighs and strategic advantage al qaeda will have.

    If anything a "cease fire" of sorts caused from al qaeda "planning" in preparation for a withdraw would create a better environment for us to train the country's troops and prepair for the withdraw.

    Also regardless of the actual withdraw date im sure we will have plenty of drones flying around doing remote attacks on al qaeda in support of the afghanistan troops for as long as afghanistan lets us.

    my 2 cents.

    * I was in the national guard for 5 years, i am not and do not claim to be an expert on this topic. This is just my opinion if you disagree that is fine. The statement i made was based on my personal experiences in serving this country and not based on any statistics or in depth research *

    1. Loyal Watcher - Good morning. Disagreement is a good thing. Agreement is good, too. The point of expressing ourselves isn't to make the other side agree; it's to let people know why you feel how you feel. I don't think me or any of the other writers on the blog are the golden standards of opinions. I sincerely hope you know I/we don't assert myself/ourselves in that way. I just want to understand why people feel the way they do... that's why I always ask for the proof or reasons behind it.

      For this post, I can totally see where you're coming from. I served in the military for 4 years, but not to the extent you have. The basis of my opinion for the timeline is just what I think of the message we are sending. You are probably right, though; if we never gave that timeline-based date of withdrawal, Al Qaeda could just sit around and wait until they notice we are starting to leave. That could very well be the case... it might not. My only point is I would rather it be done without telling them, "hey, just so you know, we are going to be out here... we are going to have only this many troops, etc." I would think keeping our plans a secret would be a good thing. But I can totally see your point.

    2. See Loyal, you CAN make an argument when you have facts behind it. I tend to agree with you, too.

      My problem is with this: The timeline does however hold fire to the local government and lets them know they have to get there house in order because we are leaving. I think the value of that pressure on the country's government outweighs and strategic advantage al qaeda will have.

      With all due respect, I just don't see this happening. These are the same crazies that, while in uniform, and under US training, turn their guns against their own people, civilians, the US, and everyone else. This scares me. We leave, thinking we gave the country over to "Afghan security" and create an even worse situation.


      Overall, pretty good opinion.

    3. Your comments as to the timing for the withdrawal from Afhganistan are very well thought out and make a lot of sense to me.

  2. Obama: It's over! Mission accomplished in Afghanistan.

    (quietly: on to Pakistan) If you don't see it, you are blind. Sure, we will end combat operations in Afghanistan, but why do you think we will have troops there for 12 more years?! Pakistan!

    Bring home the troops now. At least Romney says he wants a strong military and will use it to fight. Grand liar Obama claims he wants to end the war, claims people are tired of war, but commits troops to Afghanistan through 2024?

    If you can't see through this you are blind.

    1. Anonymous I agree both parties have proven they have no intent or desire to stop expanding the military globally. I don't think i will see a time of peace in my entire live span unless we are able to elect a third party candidate. Its sad that this country is so comfortable with taking lives and inter-fearing with other country's affairs. More innocent men and woman died after 9/11 than on 9/11. It is truly sad.

    2. Loyal - You are probably right. I don't really think there will be pure peace in our lifetime. But also, I don't think that's entirely within our control. War has been brought to us, and, there are always bad people out there. Maybe we might have United States peace... if we removed ourselves from foreign conflict, but there would still be fighting, well, nearly everywhere. So who knows... peace for the U.S.... maybe, but I doubt it. World peace. Probably never. There is always one person, group, faction, etc. that doesn't follow this desire.

      Anonymous - I don't really know if I agree with you. As much as I dislike the President's policies (I have to say this or people will accuse me of not liking him as a person), I didn't see anything in this speech that claims what you're claiming. Care to elaborate? Maybe I missed something.

    3. you say "War has been brought to us"

      That is fiction. The world trade center was a response to our 60 years of terrorizing the Middle East and meddling in their affairs.

      Imagine if we invaded Russia and started pushing them around and tried to tell them what to do.

      You don't think they would push back ?

      The US can't just do whatever the hell it wants and not expect retaliation.

    4. Are you seriously trying to imply that we deserved 9/11? 60 years of terrorizing the Middle East? What are you taking about? When we we ever attacking their citizens? If a country doesn't like our peddling, trade, economic activity and everything like that, they don't have to do business with us. But as far as "terrorizing" the middle east, I'd love to hear what you have to say about it. Yes, war was brought to us.

    5. Are you that ignorant or are you just Playing dumb ? We have been screwing around over there in every way we can. Go educate yourself. I refuse to teach you world history. You don't care anyway.

    6. Wait a minute, "The world trade center was a response to our 60 years of terrorizing the Middle East and meddling in their affairs." Really? What is that based on? Because the attack on the WTC and the Pentagon was in response to nothing. The US has gone out of it's way to try to help nations when possible. We even supported the people who attacked us on 9/11 when they were fighting the Soviet Union. They are just a group of religious fanatics who need something to hate so they can achieve their goal of religious law and control. Why didn't their leaders learn to fly a plane? Why didn't Osama ever strap a bomb to his chest? I will tell you why, because he was just a screwed up individual who controlled people into believing his twisted beliefs; and had them kill themselves for his objectives and pleasure. The radicals in the Middle East need to blame somebody other than their own inefficient governments for all of their problems. So who better to pick on then the United States, the evil empire who supports the Jews.If our government had killed Osama when we had the chance maybe 9/11 would not have happened. Sure there would have been other radicals and we would have to have dealt with them; but is that a reason not to go after the ones that we have?


  3. Typical obama, speaking out of both sides of his mouth:

    "As we move forward, some people will ask why we need a firm time line. The answer is clear: our goal is not to build a country in America's image, or to eradicate every vestige of the Taliban."

    But later:

    "And we must redouble our efforts to build a nation worthy of their sacrifice."

    So we don't want to build a nation, but let's double down and build this nation.

    GOP 2012

    1. Seems you're stretching a bit there in hope of a point. It's pretty clear what is meant to me.

      We don't have the time , money, support or commitment to go through in rebuilding the entire nation in America's image (an idea thrown around in initial plans for Afghan), but are not giving up on it entirely and still hope to build a nation worthy of the sacrifices of our soldiers.

      It's a compromise between our original plan of a Democratic Afghan, and just giving up all together.

      It's pretty clear this is the ultimate message, not just from those quotes but the entire transcript. No need to try to play the 'gotcha!' game with a play on words.

  4. The Taliban/Al Queida are radicals, driven by their (radical) belief system - conditioning that begins at birth and won't allow them to stop being radical.

    I believe that whenever the U.S. withdraws from that region of the world, these radicals will simply pick up where they left off. After all, the region has been at war in some form for about 2,000 years. It only took Iraq about a day to start up again after we left - and it's the same radical ideology there.

    That said, I'd prefer it be sooner than later, as the leadership of Afghanistan has more than proven himself to be, well, a crook... and the people don't appear to want us there.

    Part of this is selfish, as we have grandsons that have recently, or are just completing Army training.

    Not every nation craves or seeks 'democracy' (not even us...a Representative Republic : )

  5. Politicizing nothing more or less

  6. Do any of you people realize he is talking about NEGOTIATING WITH THE TALIBAN?!!?!?!?!?!?!?! WTF!?

    Why in the world would we negotiate with terrorists? This is a group that finds it to be 100% okay and legit to kill people because their god tells them to. They are not on the same plane as us. Killing that is justified in the mind (especially for religious reasons) cannot be negotiated with. Where is the room for compromise?

    This fool obama is going to tell these wild animals, "hello there. You maim women, you open your country to Al Qaeda, oh, let's give you a say in all this."

    Obama is a lunatic.