Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Presidential Address on Afghanistan Plan

Finally, after way too long, President Obama is addressing the situation in Afghanistan. For the most part I believe his speech tonight was delivered well but lacks real substance. He revisited the history of how we ended up in Afghanistan and laid out the case as to why this war is important to our countries security interest. I think my problems with his speech started right after the brief history lesson.

In particular, the President used the phrase "violent extremist" tonight. Maybe he's been using this before tonight and I just missed it but I find it very confusing. Wasn't our Country founded on and by "violent extremists"? Why can't he use the word terrorist? Why can't he call it a war on terrorism?

I was bothered by the decision to send just 75% of the troops requested. Does this show real support and is it consistent with the rhetoric of the speech tonight? I don't think so.

Although I don't agree with his three point plan entirely, it is good to see him acting. I was disappointed with his explanation of the delay in making this decision to send the troops. His claim was that the request for troops was to be increased in 2010. I am skeptical that this is true but hopefully someone with the information will disclose the actual request from General McChrystal. In any event, by my count, there are just 31 days left until 2010 and that once again seems like an unnecessary delay by the President.

Another thing that bothered me was the ending of the speech. He said we are resolved and that the security of the world was at stake but then he started talking about the cost of the war and a timeline for leaving. All of this seemed quite strange and very weak for a Commander and Chief of the United States.

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