THE DAILY BLADE: Obama’s Afghanistan Speech: One From Column A, One From Column B
President Barack Hussein Obama’s speeches are a lot like a Chinese dinner. Heaping helpings of impressive-sounding but empty phrases (“we will go forward with the confidence that right makes might and with the commitment to forge … a future that represents not the deepest of fears but the highest of hopes”). An hour later, you’re wondering what, exactly, he said he would commit to (“The 30,000 additional troops that I'm announcing tonight will … help create the conditions for the
† The Appetizer. Predictable potshots at the Bush administration (“the decision to go into
† The Entrée. Mixed messages with which Obama can pivot in two directions at once:
‡ We must keep the pressure on al-Qaeda. And to do that, we must increase the stability and capacity of our partners in the region. But: We will remove our combat brigades from
‡ [A]s commander-in-chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000
‡ [U]nlike the great power conflicts and clear lines of division that defined the 20th century, our effort will involve disorderly regions, failed states, diffuse enemies. But: I reject [a nation-building project of up to a decade] because it sets goals that are beyond what can be achieved at a reasonable cost and what we need to achieve to secure our interests.
† A Side Dish. Premature self-congratulation (“we are bringing the
† Dessert. Unintentional laugh lines (“I refuse to set goals that go beyond our responsibility, our means, or our interests” and “Our new approach in Afghanistan is likely to cost us roughly $30 billion for the military this year, and I'll work closely with Congress to address these costs as we work to bring down our deficit.”).