These notes were jotted down as a I watched Obama speak. I wanted to get them out first thing, before I heard what everyone else had to say.
* Obama’s starting to look a little more grey.
* By the time I got into office Afghanistan was falling apart. Not so.
* I ordered 30,000 additional troops into Afganistan — which was less than the generals wanted. He also put a timeline in place, which told the Taliban they could just wait us out.
* We are meeting our goals. Everything in Afghanistan is super!
* We’re bringing the whole “surge” home by next summer.
* We’re in a position of strength. Everything’s going great in Afghanistan. Funny, that’s not what we’re hearing from people in Afghanistan.
* Oh boy, we have a summit next year! That will fix everything!
* We’re leaving; so we’re arranging talks with the Taliban. We won’t be there to protect you. Good luck, fellas!
* As long as I’m President there will never be a safe haven for terrorists. Does anyone believe that? Anyone?
* Some want isolationism; others want to fight everywhere — but we must be pragmatic and only go off into half-cocked wars, as I have in Libya.
* We have no troops on the ground in Libya. Good, but not good enough.
* We will support Middle-Eastern revolutions with fidelity to our ideals. Course, we’re not really doing that.
* We must spend more money, while living within our means!
* No, our nation really doesn’t draw strength from our differences.
* He’s so emotionless when he talks about soldiers dying or the country. He’s like an alien going through the motions and trying to pretend to feel as humans do.
Summary: Obama has a workmanlike, not particularly charismatic delivery. He may get a small, temporary bump from starting to pull troops out of Afghanistan, but this is really a long-term game. It was a terrible idea to set a deadline in the first place, he’s going against the advice of his generals, and as long as it works fine, he won’t pay a price. Of course, if there are problems, he will be quite rightly blamed for unnecessarily risking the gains we’ve made in Afghanistan for purely political reasons. This whole speech is about 2012. He thinks it’ll be more popular to pull the troops out; so he’ll do that. Let’s hope his foolish risk pays off. If it doesn’t, then in the end, a lot of good men may die so that a politician could throw away their sacrifice.