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Clio the Leo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-30-09 06:08 PM
Original message
The First Afghanistan Speech.
So in trying to anticipate what he might say tomorrow, I decided to re-read his FIRST Afghanistan speech that he gave last winter. (Funny, the way we're acting, you'd think tomorrow night's speech WAS the first one.)

I thought it might be an interesting exercise to look at the assertions he made regarding the current situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan and read your reactions to them. I am not trying to debate these points with anyone. I like to spend my time and energy doing things that aren't a waste of time and I decided at some point last week that trying to debate the matter with those who disagree with me is only slightly less effective than attempting to bathe a feral cat.

This is not an attempt to bait or bash anyone. This is not another example of "why didn't you say anything back then!!!?" .... I am legitimately interested to hear your thoughts on what he said during this speech .... and I'm interested in hearing all views.

What follows are excerpts from this March 27th speech. I STRONGLY urge everyone to read the entire thing.
http://www.openleft.com/showDiary.do?diaryId=12515

Good morning. Today, I am announcing a comprehensive, new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

This marks the conclusion of a careful policy review that I ordered as soon as I took office. My Administration has heard from our military commanders and diplomats. We have consulted with the Afghan and Pakistani governments; with our partners and NATO allies; and with other donors and international organizations. And we have also worked closely with members of Congress here at home. Now, I'd like to speak clearly and candidly to the American people.

The situation is increasingly perilous. It has been more than seven years since the Taliban was removed from power, yet war rages on, and insurgents control parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan . Attacks against our troops, our NATO allies, and the Afghan government have risen steadily. Most painfully, 2008 was the deadliest year of the war for American forces.

<snip>

al Qaeda and its allies - the terrorists who planned and supported the 9/11 attacks - are in Pakistan and Afghanistan . Multiple intelligence estimates have warned that al Qaeda is actively planning attacks on the U.S. homeland from its safe-haven in Pakistan . And if the Afghan government falls to the Taliban - or allows al Qaeda to go unchallenged - that country will again be a base for terrorists who want to kill as many of our people as they possibly can.


The future of Afghanistan is inextricably linked to the future of its neighbor, Pakistan . In the nearly eight years since 9/11, al Qaeda and its extremist allies have moved across the border to the remote areas of the Pakistani frontier. This almost certainly includes al Qaeda's leadership: Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. They have used this mountainous terrain as a safe-haven to hide, train terrorists, communicate with followers, plot attacks, and send fighters to support the insurgency in Afghanistan . For the American people, this border region has become the most dangerous place in the world.

But this is not simply an American problem - far from it. It is, instead, an international security challenge of the highest order. Terrorist attacks in London and Bali were tied to al Qaeda and its allies in Pakistan , as were attacks in North Africa and the Middle East, in Islamabad and Kabul . If there is a major attack on an Asian, European, or African city, it - too - is likely to have ties to al Qaeda's leadership in Pakistan . The safety of people around the world is at stake


The single greatest threat to that future comes from al Qaeda and their extremist allies, and that is why we must stand together.

The terrorists within Pakistan 's borders are not simply enemies of America or Afghanistan - they are a grave and urgent danger to the people of Pakistan . Al Qaeda and other violent extremists have killed several thousand Pakistanis since 9/11. They have killed many Pakistani soldiers and police. They assassinated Benazir Bhutto. They have blown up buildings, derailed foreign investment, and threatened the stability of the state. Make no mistake: al Qaeda and its extremist allies are a cancer that risks killing Pakistan from within.



There is an uncompromising core of the Taliban. They must be met with force, and they must be defeated. But there are also those who have taken up arms because of coercion, or simply for a price. These Afghans must have the option to choose a different course. That is why we will work with local leaders, the Afghan government, and international partners to have a reconciliation process in every province. As their ranks dwindle, an enemy that has nothing to offer the Afghan people but terror and repression must be further isolated. And we will continue to support the basic human rights of all Afghans - including women and girls.




Our troops have fought bravely against a ruthless enemy. Our civilians have made great sacrifices. Our allies have borne a heavy burden. Afghans have suffered and sacrificed for their future. But for six years, Afghanistan has been denied the resources that it demands because of the war in Iraq . Now, we must make a commitment that can accomplish our goals.

<snip>

For three years, our commanders have been clear about the resources they need for training. Those resources have been denied because of the war in Iraq . Now, that will change.


The United States of America did not choose to fight a war in Afghanistan . Nearly 3,000 of our people were killed on September 11, 2001, for doing nothing more than going about their daily lives. Al Qaeda and its allies have since killed thousands of people in many countries. Most of the blood on their hands is the blood of Muslims, who al Qaeda has killed and maimed in far greater numbers than any other people. That is the future that al Qaeda is offering to the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan - a future without opportunity or hope; a future without justice or peace.

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tekisui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-30-09 06:11 PM
Response to Original message
1. And in July of 2008:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/15/us/politics/15text-ob...

Sixty-one years ago, George Marshall announced the plan that would come to bear his name. Much of Europe lay in ruins. The United States faced a powerful and ideological enemy intent on world domination. This menace was magnified by the recently discovered capability to destroy life on an unimaginable scale. The Soviet Union didnt yet have an atomic bomb, but before long it would.

The challenge facing the greatest generation of Americans the generation that had vanquished fascism on the battlefield was how to contain this threat while extending freedoms frontiers. Leaders like Truman and Acheson, Kennan and Marshall, knew that there was no single decisive blow that could be struck for freedom. We needed a new overarching strategy to meet the challenges of a new and dangerous world.

Such a strategy would join overwhelming military strength with sound judgment. It would shape events not just through military force, but through the force of our ideas; through economic power, intelligence and diplomacy. It would support strong allies that freely shared our ideals of liberty and democracy; open markets and the rule of law. It would foster new international institutions like the United Nations, NATO, and the World Bank, and focus on every corner of the globe. It was a strategy that saw clearly the worlds dangers, while seizing its promise.

(snip)

I will send at least two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan, and use this commitment to seek greater contributions with fewer restrictions from NATO allies. I will focus on training Afghan security forces and supporting an Afghan judiciary, with more resources and incentives for American officers who perform these missions. Just as we succeeded in the Cold War by supporting allies who could sustain their own security, we must realize that the 21st centurys frontlines are not only on the field of battle they are found in the training exercise near Kabul, in the police station in Kandahar, and in the rule of law in Herat.

Moreover, lasting security will only come if we heed Marshalls lesson, and help Afghans grow their economy from the bottom up. Thats why Ive proposed an additional $1 billion in non-military assistance each year, with meaningful safeguards to prevent corruption and to make sure investments are made not just in Kabul but out in Afghanistans provinces. As a part of this program, well invest in alternative livelihoods to poppy-growing for Afghan farmers, just as we crack down on heroin trafficking. We cannot lose Afghanistan to a future of narco-terrorism. The Afghan people must know that our commitment to their future is enduring, because the security of Afghanistan and the United States is shared.

more.....
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Clio the Leo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-30-09 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Deja vu.....
Edited on Mon Nov-30-09 06:19 PM by Clio the Leo
.... I have this WEIRD feeling like I've read that before. ;)

In all seriousness, I'd really like to hear your thoughts on THIS speech.

Or, this one for that matter.....

I don't oppose all wars. After September 11, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this administration's pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such tragedy from happening again.

<snip>

You want a fight, President Bush? Let's finish the fight with Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let's fight to make sure that...we vigorously enforce a nonproliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let's fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells.

Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join.

http://usliberals.about.com/od/extraordinaryspeeches/a/...
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tekisui Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-30-09 06:28 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. I never liked the rhetoric on fighting terrorism.
I also don't accept the idea that we can eliminate radicalism and extremist threats through war. It is counter-productive. There are definitely concepts I can get behind in all of the speeches. His diagnosis is not incorrect, but I cannot support his approach to dealing with the problem.

I also think this speech is outdated. Are we really that concerned, enough for a massive buildup, to hunt down the last few AQ in Afghanistan? Is it vital that we devout all of our resources and military might at eliminating a small band of extremists who have long since regenerated in other countries? Are we willing to chase them across the border into Pakistan? Following the logic laid our, the importance of this war, why wouldn't we?
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CTLawGuy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-30-09 07:20 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. the outrage lovers don't care
that he's being completely consistent.
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Clio the Leo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-30-09 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. thanks but that's really not why I posted this....
..... I didn't mean for it to come off as "see how consistent Obama is!" and I'm sorry if it did.

I had the naive hope that everyone ... on either side of the argument .... could post their thoughts on the facts (as he presented them.)

lol, like I said, naive of me.
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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-30-09 06:22 PM
Response to Original message
3. Thanks, Clio.. for making this available to
reread and compare to the President's speech tomorrow night.

"The terrorists within Pakistan's borders are not simply enemies of America or Afghanistan - they are a grave and urgent danger to the people of Pakistan . Al Qaeda and other violent extremists have killed several thousand Pakistanis since 9/11. They have killed many Pakistani soldiers and police. They assassinated Benazir Bhutto. They have blown up buildings, derailed foreign investment, and threatened the stability of the state. Make no mistake: al Qaeda and its extremist allies are a cancer that risks killing Pakistan from within."

It's not just about the area..it's the whole Planet.
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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-30-09 07:06 PM
Response to Original message
5. bush used rhetoric for fighting terrorists as he was making
them..That doesn't mean that it's not a reality now and Pres Obama has a real terrorist crisis to deal with.

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rgbecker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-30-09 07:28 PM
Response to Original message
7. Thanks for this post on the eve of Obama's speech to West Pointers.
I didn't and don't like the sound of these Obama speeches as he tries to make people realize democrats are not weak on defense. I saw what Vietnam did to the Johnson presidency and I fear Obama is headed the same direction.
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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-30-09 07:43 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. Yeah, I don't like and I'm sure the
president isn't happy about it..but, Afghanistan isn't the same at all as Vietnam or Iraq.
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