Liveblog: President Obama’s Speech on Afghanistan

It sounds like there won’t be any surprises in the latest “inspirational” speech by the King President. All the newspapers already know what he’s going to say. The New York Times says Obama is “opting for a faster pullout,” but they say he’ll only withdraw 10,000 troops this year.

President Obama plans to announce Wednesday evening that he will order the withdrawal of 10,000 American troops from Afghanistan this year, and another 20,000 troops, the remainder of the 2009 “surge,” by the end of next summer, according to administration officials and diplomats briefed on the decision. These troop reductions are both deeper and faster than the recommendations made by Mr. Obama’s military commanders, and they reflect mounting political and economic pressures at home, as the president faces relentless budget pressures and an increasingly restive Congress and American public.

The president is scheduled to speak about the Afghanistan war from the White House at 8 p.m. Eastern time.

Mr. Obama’s decision is a victory for Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., who has long argued for curtailing the American military engagement in Afghanistan. But it is a setback for his top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus, who helped write the Army’s field book on counterinsurgency policy, and who is returning to Washington to head the Central Intelligence Agency.

According to Josh Gerstein at Politico, Obama’s speech will address multiple audiences who are in disagreement about what to do about the war in Afghanistan.

His address comes at a time when public skepticism about the war is building. A Pew Research Center poll out Tuesday showed a record high 56 percent of Americans want the troops out as soon as possible, up from 40 percent a year ago.

Keeping the American people on board is a major challenge for Obama. But he’ll also be speaking to a number of smaller audiences in the U.S. who have a stake in the outcome of the mission — and some of them are starkly at odds about the best path forward.

The Republican Party is growing more restive about the war, liberals are hoping for a more rapid pull-out, and the military brass worries that politics might mess up a fight they think they’re winning.

Gerstein says that many military officers think they are winning and that this pullout may snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, so to speak. On the other hand, higher ups in the Pentagon are relieved that he isn’t pulling out even faster.

Some Republicans are beginning to turn against the war, but others like John McCain and Lindsey Graham are still gung ho. He also has to consider Republican presidential candidates, some of whom–Romney, Huntsman, Paul–are critical of the continuing involvement in the Middle East.

Gerstein claims that Obama is also considering the views of Democrats, which I strongly doubt. Gerstein mentions Carl Levin:

Among Democratic supporters of Obama’s overall policy in Afghanistan, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman has been one of the most explicit about what he wants to see: at least 15,000 troops out by the end of this year. Doing less “wouldn’t be the ‘significant’ cut Obama pledged in April and would send a weaker message to the Afghan people and the wrong message to the American people,” Levin said Tuesday.

Lastly, Gerstein claims Obama must address “the professional left.” Excuse me while I laugh hysterically. Obama does not give a sh%t about the progs, because he knows perfectly well they’ll vote for him no matter what he does.

So…. what do you think? Please let us know your reactions to the speech and the policies Obama puts forward. If you can’t stand to watch, listen on the radio. That’s what I do. Or just join in and get the highlights from those who are watching/listening.

You can watch the speech on line at Cspan. I imagine CNN will be streaming it too.

35 Comments on “Liveblog: President Obama’s Speech on Afghanistan”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    John King is giving his “analysis” right now on CNN. What a dope!

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Can someone please explain to me why anyone thinks David Gergen has anything useful to say? Gloria Borger is there too. I don’t see why what she has to say is important either.

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Basically, in two years we’ll be back to where we started when Obama was inaugurated.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Oh here we go….9/11

  5. bostonboomer says:

    “One of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make as President….”

  6. Minkoff Minx says:

    All this talk about Taliban = bad, yet we are holding secret talks with them?

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Hey, he’s pronouncing Pakistan differently tonight. I wonder why?

  8. Minkoff Minx says:

    Geez, this man has no connection to me..I can’t help it. Listening to him, his delivery and his tone, I just feel nothing. As usual, I just want to read his speech, not listen to him talk.

  9. bostonboomer says:

    “This has been a diffcult decade for our country.”

    True, but the next decade is likely to be a whole hell of a lot worse because you’re not addressing JOBS!!!! or UNEMPLOYMENT!!!

  10. bostonboomer says:

    “All human beings deserve to live with freedom and dignity.”

    Except for women and unemployed Americans….

  11. bostonboomer says:

    OMG!! He says “it is time to focus on nation building here at home.”

    Except the pullout won’t be complete till 2014….

  12. bostonboomer says:

    Now he’s telling an anecdote about the Navy Seal who led the bin Laden compound masscre.

  13. bostonboomer says:

    Wow! That was so short!

  14. Fannie says:

    13 1/2 ——–minutes

  15. Minkoff Minx says:

    Okay, did Lindsey Graham have some work done? His eyes look a bit strange.

    • Minkoff Minx says:

      And he keeps referring to himself as Lindsey Graham doesn’t want this or that, Lindsey Graham is new in town…just like the Jimmy character in Seinfeld…

  16. Minkoff Minx says:

    On CNN, there was just a Democratic Rep or Senator talking about a country with no infrastructure and no economy, with a possible crooked president…was he talking about the US or Afghanistan?

  17. Peggy Sue says:

    Well, it was blessedly short for a campaign speech, which is all this really was–a response to the growing polls that Americans have had it. And frankly, it was not very convincing.

    He could have saved airtime by simply issuing a press release.

    NOTE to POTUS:

    The words/promises aren’t working anymore.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Yes, especially since the WH leaked the contents of the speech hours ago. They should have just told us it was only going to last 13 minutes.

  18. Linda C says:

    I am sure in a small block of well fortified mansions in Kandahar created with the robbing of our tax dollars it is going as well as the president says. The rest of the country not so much

  19. mjames says:

    You guys have made me laugh for the first time in ages. Bostonboomer you are on a roll. And Minx, good work. Very very funny. Thank you.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks! Laughter is the best medicine. Minkoff Minx set me off laughing hysterically this afternoon. It felt good.