Bravo, Mr. President

I never thought an American president would have the cojones to say this:

“That's why our troop commitment in Afghanistan cannot be open-ended -- because the nation that I'm most interested in building is our own.”

This reference to the neoconservative goal of “nation building” or “empire building” by that cabal which surrounded George W. Bush and permeated his administration was, IMHO, the best line of the night for Barack Obama.

The nations of the world have always been able to count on the United States of America in times of peril, whether from attacks or natural disasters or simply humanitarian needs. Quite often as in the case of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, our outpouring of money and arms and assistance is met by hostility and bitter reprisal.

Bravo to a president who is courageous enough to say he’s interested in building our nation!


Please use the Comments Zone to express your opinion about Obama’s address on Afghanistan last night. If you didn’t hear the president, I have put the text in THE READING ROOM. This is a clear statement of U.S. policy looking forward. Thanks!


Tiny said...

What a difference a leader makes! As Tiny listened to our president then read the transcript during his replay on CNN, she was very impressed with his sincerity and his moral compass. No cute remarks to bolster his ego, just down to earth, passionate, well thought out directions for leadership for our country, our military, and our relationships with our friends around the world.

Can anyone argue with 43 countries in agreement on ending the war in Afghanistan and bringing our troops home? Not just our young people in harm’s way, but those from other countries also.

He gave three core elements of our strategy in bringing about an end of the conflict and balancing that with our economic problems here at home. "No more blank checks" was music to our ears. Everyone has to pull their fair share reminds Tiny of the Biblical quote, "God helps those who help themselves."

President Obama appears to be operating with that same principle in both Iraq and Afghanistan when he stated, "As President, I refuse to set goals that go beyond our responaibility, our means, or our interests." That, to Tiny, is being a responsible leader. And his efforts to bring back the balance between our national security and economy.

Thank you President Obama for placing your interest in building our nation and future first and foremost on your agenda. We are fortunate indeed to have a caring person in the White House.

He has Tiny's support in moving forward with the plans he laid out last evening. May all the good Powers of the Universe be with him, our military, our nation of people and all people of the world working toward living in peace and harmony with our fellow human beings.

Everyone look to a better future and help bring it into being.

Frodo, in the replay booth, said...

Rachel Maddow, whose work Frodo greatly admires, said that she sees this direction as a continuation, if not the legitimization, of the "Bush Doctrine." There is truth in her assertion if we are, indeed, acting to prevent potential hostile action.
Frodo believes the reasoning to be much deeper, and more far-sighted. He would however, not unlike the officials at a football game, like to see the replay before he awards a touchdown to the home team.

airth10 said...

Isn't it sad that America needs nation building, as Obama said. America was supposed to have been built and on its way to better things. But along came Bush&Co. who started to unravel things.

If the past administration had been better managers in war and at home then America could have afforded to nation build elsewhere.

Falzone for America said...

I agree with the reporter below. The War machine has been runing my entire life in one way or another. If Obama and Gates say there will be dire consequences to failure how is that different than Bush saying the same for Iraq? I predict that at the end of the 18 months in Obamas speach we will need another 18 months. Bin Laden will still be planing attacks, and the Taliban will still be a threat along with Al Qaida.


But Afghanistan comes first?

President Obama made the best possible case for dispatching more troops to Afghanistan last night. But his speech left me with a haunting foreboding. Surely this is the way that great imperial powers decline. Their soldiers police the ends of the earth. There is always another enemy, always a threat—sometimes imagined, often real—that must be faced. And meanwhile, the productive economy declines, the rich live increasingly off investments abroad, the poor depend on public sustenance, the middle declines. No battle is so costly that it cannot be afforded; no battle so unimportant that the nation must not be mobilized. The soldiers become professionals, "volunteers" in our terms. The institutions of the Republic—the Congress, the Senate—are scorned, often deservedly so. The executive decides the questions of war and peace. The secret state expands. The country finds itself constantly at war. New presidents inherit the wars of their predecessors. They are faced not with deciding to go to war, but whether to accept defeat in one already in progress.

Sue said...

BJ I'm still so torn tonight. I don't know who to believe, what to believe. Are we really in Afghanistan because we fear terrorists will attack us again? How can we kill all the bad guys? How can we convince Afghans to defend themselves so we can go home? Just like the fearmongering from the Bush regime, is this fear warranted, is it that bad, so bad our young have to die? It feels like a B movie.

B.J. said...

Well, Falzone For America, after reading your thoughts I think I will go out into the pouring rain and look up until I drown myself.

I didn’t have the advantage of hearing Obama, but I read the complete transcript, which allowed me to absorb everything he said. I thought he defined the end game with great clarity.

You know, I go on blogs and sites and read the vilest lies and criticisms about this president. Now, there is harsh criticism from his own base. It’s about as much as I can stand.

And, everywhere I turn everyone I know is quoting Rachel Maddow. She is not the be all and end all of progressive thought. She is the progressive equilvalent of Fox News – offering validation tp the far left. No offense, Hobbit, you certainly are not the only one who has quoted this woman. I didn’t need her to tell me what Obama said; I read his words for myself, and to characterize what he said as a “continuation” and “legitimization” of the Bush Doctrine is absurd.

We went into Afghanistan to break up the training grounds of and weaken a known enemy. We went into Iraq and overthrew a tinpot dictator who was no threat to our country at all. By engaging in the latter, at a far greater cost in blood and treasure, we took our sights off the real mission, prolonging it.

If you listened to Obama with a preconceived notion of what you thought he should say, what you wanted him to say, I suggest you click on THE READING ROOM link and read his words with an open mind.

OK, I’m going to say this once.

I supported Hillary Rodham Clinton for president because I thought of the field of candidates she was the most qualified to lead this country out of the Bush morass. I voted for Barack Obama. I don’t throw him my allegiance because he’s the president of the United States. I do it because I have seen him accomplish many positive things since taking office.

So …

When did “Yes, We Can” become “No, He Can’t”?


B.J. said...

Sue, I published my comment at the same time you published yours. You ask some very good questions. If the worldwide al Qaeda movement is no threat, we sure as hell have thrown an awful lot of money at two wars and homeland security. And, we have shed an awful lot of blood for naught. Yes, al Qaeda is a threat worldwide, not just here. As for fearmongering, I have written many posts saying we cannot live in fear. Terrorism is like a bolt of lightning, we don’t know where it will strike, but we still go about our lives without fear of being hit by one, don’t we? I think everybody ought to take a deep breath and read over what Obama said again. BJ

Sue said...

I did hear the urgency in Obamas speech, I do get it, but do I believe 18 months will take care of the "problem"? NO, unfortunately. So I guess I come to the conclusion there is no right or wrong decision, and thats very sad for our troops who must do the job asked of them.

"I supported Hillary Rodham Clinton for president because I thought of the field of candidates she was the most qualified to lead this country out of the Bush morass. I voted for Barack Obama. I don’t throw him my allegiance because he’s the president of the United States. I do it because I have seen him accomplish many positive things since taking office."

This paragraph from you BJ, I agree with 10000%!

Sue said...

I got an email from Joe Biden, this was in the presidents speech and has not been talked about much (the blank checks),

"Our new strategy ends the era of blank checks for Afghanistan's leaders, facilitates a responsible transition to Afghan security forces, and begins bringing our troops home in 2011."

Leslie Parsley said...

BJ: I linked here from Sue's blog. This is my first visit and wish I had found you a lot sooner. Anyone who considers Rise and Fall as one of her favorite books can't be all bad.

Falzone: "If Obama and Gates say there will be dire consequences to failure how is that different than Bush saying the same for Iraq?"

The big difference? Bush massaged the truth.

Sadly, I'm flip-flopping all over the map. I hear all the arguments against and I agree. Then I hear all the arguments for and I agree.
I opposed the war in Nam and have basically been a pacifist all my life, so here I sit. Is the glass half . . . ?

I think my tendency is to follow Obama's lead. He's not a stupid man. He is known for listening closely to his advisors and to weighing all the facts before making a decision.

I'm not thrilled about this. I hope and pray the loss of life is minimal and that we can indeed get out by 2001.

B.J. said...

Sue: As I just noted in a comment on your blog, there was a lot in Obama’s speech that hasn’t been talked about much, so thanks for this. Everyone is very emotional right now. Our troops and military leaders train for what they do. No one wants one of them killed. I do think we should read the transcript of Obama’s address again. If his “base” turns on him over this, we might well have a Republican administration in 2012 – think Cheney/Palin. BTW, notice that your “Lisa” and “Linda” aren’t saying anything. They are sitting back and enjoying the comments. I am going to go see what my friend Joe Galloway, war correspondent for McClatchy, and my Progress Report have to say about this. BJ

B.J. said...

Leslie: Welcome to DemWit – Far from the Madding Crowd! I have read your comments on Sue’s blog. We are all pacifists; none of us wants war. But, it is my belief that there have been necessary wars. We ourselves are caught in a war right now – emotions vs. intellect. If you read my previous post, “Obama’s decision,” you got an idea of where I stand on Afghanistan. I hope you will visit again. BTW, I think Shirer’s “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany” is a masterpiece on many levels and should be required reading for every adult. BJ

Tiny said...

Tiny reiterates from her post,'"No more blank checks" was music to our ears'." It seems that too many overlook what President Obama has accomplished in his short time in office. Is it because too much time has been spent in front of the "idiot screen" where people are expecting everything to be solved within a 30 to 60 minute time frame?

How many allies did GW Bush have when he chose to illegaly invade Iraq to seek revenge against, as BJ called him, "a tinpot dictator" because as Dubya said, "He tried to kill my Dad." Well, faith in my Christ, his Dad tired to do the same to the tinpot!

Everyone who voted for GW Bush voted for the Iraq war because he kept repeating on his campaign trail that "he would take out So-damn-insane (Tiny's pronouncation for Saddam). The majority of people in the USA was against the invasion of Iraq.

Tiny disagrees that President Obama put Afghanistan first. He inherited the Afghan mess. Would anyone want him to walk off and leave it for the terrorists to take over again? Would you want them to take over this country? Did anyone pay attention to how many troops Obama has pulled out of Iraq already?

Does Tiny think President Obama is perfect? Not by a long shot. She does believe he is methodical in his thinking and decision making. Has he made mistakes. Of course he has. He was upfront with telling us he would make mistakes. But give the man credit for doing the best he can with what he's been handed to work with. If you can do better then, by all means, start campaigning for the position now.

Perhaps it's time to remember the quote from President JF Kennedy: Ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what you can do for your country.

Then get off your seat of do nothing and see what you can contribute to making this a better place for having been here. Leave it in better shape than you found it.

Screeeeeeeech! Tiny shoved her soap box back into its corner.

Frodo, who cries at funerals, said...

DemWit (aka Merry) to the penalty box for two minutes.
High-sticking over the blue line.

In Frodo's opinion, it would be hypocritical of him to affirmatively endorse an escalation of the unpleasantness in Afghanistan when he so decisively opposed the concept of preventative action in Iraq. In both cases the nebulous reference to the threat was sufficient to raise serious question in many minds. It is more than gut instinct about the lack of credibility by one President, and the good heart of another. It is about sending kids off to fight and perhaps die. That is, of course, the true concern of us all. Frodo is pleased and proud that so many have such doubts, and that they air them in front of everybody else.

That is why we try the murderers in open court.

That is why we are different from "Lisa, the howler monkey," from Dick Cheney, and yes (courtesy of Mr. Degan) from Gidget von Braun.

Even members of the Fellowship can disagree on how to destroy the Ring.

Falzone for Intellect said...

Personally I agree that our differences are an argument between emotions and intellect. The question is which side is which. The very statement is emotionally charged and a back handed insult to the opposing opinion. War is not peace.

Which of these wars do you find necessary?

"Historian William Blum has listed the countries that duly elected U.S. officials have ordered bombed since the end of World War II: China, 1945–1946; Korea, 1950–1953; China, 1950–1953; Guatemala, 1954; Indonesia, 1958; Cuba, 1959–1960; Guatemala, 1960; Congo, 1964; Peru, 1965; Laos, 1964–1973; Vietnam, 1961–1973; Cambodia, 1967–1970; Guatemala, 1967–1969; Grenada, 1983; Libya, 1986; El Salvador, 1980s; Nicaragua, 1980s; Panama, 1989; Iraq 1991–2000; Sudan, 1998; Afghanistan, 1998; Yugoslavia, 1999."

When voters hollar "My candidate has turned our economy around from the brink." "My cnadidate has brought honor and common sence back to the leadership." My president has this and that." these are emotionally charged unsubstantiated claims.