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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Obama’s Getting Out of Iraq Speech

“If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws—the first growing out of the last... A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government.” —Alexander Hamilton

In his second Oval Office speech President Obama spent seventeen minutes giving a confused and discombobulated address on the so-called end of combat operations in Iraq.

I did not want to watch this speech as I pretty much knew what he would say, but I decided I would so I could post an entry on my Blog before the talking heads stole my thunder.

The first things I took notice off were the family photos on the credenza behind the President. Wasn’t this a nice touch, especially the wedding picture? How about a few photos of the Medal of Honor winners? Oh well, this is Obama the narcissist president.

He said what he had to say. He read his Teleprompter well and without stumbling. He lined up all the used-to-death clichés in an orderly manner And that was all there was to the president’s nationally televised address on Tuesday night.

On a positive note he did not point his finger at us, like he usually does, and there was no Mussolini neck stretch. Another positive note was that the speech lasted only seventeen minutes and if you remove the political remarks about the economy and jobs it no doubt could have been trimmed down to ten.

I don’t know who wrote this speech, but the author should be fired. He or she evidently did not go back and research similar speeches. Where were the reverences to winning? Of course he couldn’t do that because he was one of the score of Democrats, who said the war was lost in 2007 and that Bush’s surge would not work. Remember Harry Reid’s “The war is lost” comment? So instead Obama gave lukewarm praise to President Bush for his patriotism. Read Democrat comments here.

“As we do, I am mindful that the Iraq War has been a contentious issue at home. Here, too, it is time to turn the page. This afternoon, I spoke to former President George W. Bush. It's well known that he and I disagreed about the war from its outset. Yet no one could doubt President Bush's support for our troops, or his love of country and commitment to our security. As I have said, there were patriots who supported this war, and patriots who opposed it. And all of us are united in appreciation for our servicemen and women, and our hope for Iraq's future.”  How weak and self serving.

“Going forward, a transitional force of U.S. troops will remain in Iraq with a different mission: advising and assisting Iraq's Security Forces; supporting Iraqi troops in targeted counterterrorism missions; and protecting our civilians.” No mention was made of the 5,000 Special Operations Forces who will be in harm’s way training, equipping and mentoring the Iraqi Security Forces.

“Americans across the political spectrum supported the use of force against those who attacked us on 9/11. Now, as we approach our 10th year of combat in Afghanistan, there are those who are understandably asking tough questions about our mission there. But we must never lose sight of what's at stake. As we speak, Al Qaeda continues to plot against us, and its leadership remains anchored in the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan. We will disrupt, dismantle, and defeat Al Qaeda, while preventing Afghanistan from again serving as a base for terrorists. And because of our drawdown in Iraq, we are now able to apply the resources necessary to go on offense. In fact, over the last 19 months, nearly a dozen Al Qaeda leaders -and hundreds of Al Qaeda's extremist allies-have been killed or captured around the world.”

“Within Afghanistan, I have ordered the deployment of additional troops who-under the command of General David Petraeus -are fighting to break the Taliban's momentum. As with the surge in Iraq, these forces will be in place for a limited time to provide space for the Afghans to build their capacity and secure their own future. But, as was the case in Iraq, we cannot do for Afghans what they must ultimately do for themselves. That's why we are training Afghan Security Forces and supporting a political resolution to Afghanistan's problems. And, next July, we will begin a transition to Afghan responsibility. The pace of our troop reductions will be determined by conditions on the ground, and our support for Afghanistan will endure. But make no mistake: this transition will begin - because open-ended war serves neither our interests nor the Afghan people's.”

So what does this mean? Here Obama refers to the “surge in Iraq”, a surge he did not agree with and applies the same term to Afghanistan with deadline that insures its failure (See Conway vs. Patraeus). This also means that the financial resources he mentions latter in the speech will not be available for his domestic spending. His announced deadline will embolden the Taliban and they will just wait out our troops and come back in strength when we pull out.

“Today, old adversaries are at peace, and emerging democracies are potential partners. New markets for our goods stretch from Asia to the Americas. A new push for peace in the Middle East will begin here tomorrow. Billions of young people want to move beyond the shackles of poverty and conflict. As the leader of the free world, America will do more than just defeat on the battlefield those who offer hatred and destruction -we will also lead among those who are willing to work together to expand freedom and opportunity for all people.”

Fox news reports that four Israelis were killed Tuesday after Palestinian gunmen opened fire on their vehicle while it was traveling in the West Bank. An Israeli Army spokesman said that among the passengers was a pregnant woman. The attack came only two days before Israel and the Palestinians are set to launch face to face peace negotiations in Washington. Analysts in Jerusalem believe that this attack is meant to sabotage President Obama's Middle East summit before it even starts. Some here say after this brazen attack, it could be a challenge to the President to stay on track and get the negotiation to move ahead.

While this is a high minded statement, this “peace” initiative will fail like so many before it have. The Islamists don’t want peace they want subrogation and the destruction of Israel. No amount of Obama’s charm and charisma will change that.

“That effort must begin within our own borders. Throughout our history, America has been willing to bear the burden of promoting liberty and human dignity overseas, understanding its link to our own liberty and security. But we have also understood that our nation's strength and influence abroad must be firmly anchored in our prosperity at home. And the bedrock of that prosperity must be a growing middle class.”

“Unfortunately, over the last decade, we have not done what is necessary to shore up the foundation of our own prosperity. We have spent over a trillion dollars at war, often financed by borrowing from overseas. This, in turn, has short-changed investments in our own people, and contributed to record deficits. For too long, we have put off tough decisions on everything from our manufacturing base to our energy policy to education reform. As a result, too many middle class families find themselves working harder for less, while our nation's long-term competitiveness is put at risk.”

Obama just can’t miss a chance to blame George W. Bush. No matter how subtle he thought this might be it came across loud and clear. Bush spent a great deal of money on this war and caused our current financial collapse.

According to CBO numbers in its Budget and Economic Outlook published this month, the cost of Operation Iraqi Freedom was $709 billion for military and related activities, including training of Iraqi forces and diplomatic operations. The projected cost of the stimulus, which passed in February 2009, and is expected to have a shelf life of two years, was $862 billion.

The U.S. deficit for fiscal year 2010 is expected to be $1.3 trillion, according to CBO. That compares to a 2007 deficit of $160.7 billion and a 2008 deficit of $458.6 billion, according to data provided by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.

So, Mr. Obama, your first failed stimulus package cost more that the war in Iraq. What do you have to say about that?

This statement is pure politics and has no place in this address. Barak Obama doesn’t give a damn about Iraq, he never did. This part of his speech is meant to bolster his and the Democrat party’s failed efforts to lower the unemployment rates and take pressure off the Democrats this November.

“Our most urgent task is to restore our economy, and put the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs back to work. To strengthen our middle class, we must give all our children the education they deserve, and all our workers the skills that they need to compete in a global economy. We must jumpstart industries that create jobs, and end our dependence on foreign oil.

We must unleash the innovation that allows new products to roll off our assembly lines, and nurture the ideas that spring from our entrepreneurs. This will be difficult. But in the days to come, it must be our central mission as a people, and my central responsibility as President.”

This next paragraph is the bone Obama is offering veterans. This is just another bureaucratic boondoggle that will give the colleges and universities another opportunity to raise tuitions and hire more staff.

"Part of that responsibility is making sure that we honor our commitments to those who have served our country with such valor. As long as I am President, we will maintain the finest fighting force that the world has ever known, and do whatever it takes to serve our veterans as well as they have served us. This is a sacred trust. That is why we have already made one of the largest increases in funding for veterans in decades. We are treating the signature wounds of today's wars post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury, while providing the health care and benefits that all of our veterans have earned. And we are funding a post-9/11 GI Bill that helps our veterans and their families pursue the dream of a college education. Just as the GI Bill helped those who fought World War II- including my grandfather- become the backbone of our middle class, so today's servicemen and women must have the chance to apply their gifts to expand the American."

Was that the grandfather who liberated Auschwitz or his paternal grandfather who was a member of the Mau-Mau in Kenya? Perhaps it was his step-grandfather the Marxists?

Here where Obama pours out a little pathos for his supporters on he left. After all who could criticize a mother’s kiss?

“Of course, the soldiers left much behind. Some were teenagers when the war began. Many have served multiple tours of duty, far from their families who bore a heroic burden of their own, enduring the absence of a husband's embrace or a mother's kiss. Most painfully, since the war began fifty-five members of the Fourth Stryker Brigade made the ultimate sacrifice -part of over 4,400 Americans who have given their lives in Iraq. As one staff sergeant said, "I know that to my brothers in arms who fought and died, this day would probably mean a lot."

“Those Americans gave their lives for the values that have lived in the hearts of our people for over two centuries. Along with nearly 1.5 million Americans who have served in Iraq, they fought in a faraway place for people they never knew. They stared into the darkest of human creations -war -and helped the Iraqi people seek the light of peace.”

I saved the last quote for last. This one was probably put in the speech to provide Keith Olberman with a class “A” erection or Chris Mathews with another tingle up his leg. Ready? Here it is! “”Our troops are the steel in our ship of state.”

We haven’t left peace and success behind in Iraq. We’ve left a fiasco of a failure. For more than five months the president and his administration have signally desisted from knocking together the heads of the Iraqi politicians who still haven’t been able to even form the pretense of a new national government. Bombings in Iraq and fatalities from them are accelerating to a level not seen since before Gen. David Petraeus launched the surge strategy in January 2007.

And as for the withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq that the speech applauded, that was all smoke and mirrors too. In a rare embarrassing fact that he allowed to intrude into his rhetoric, the president admitted that 50,000 Americans are staying in Iraq. He didn’t specify what they will be doing there, but rest assured, they are all now prospective targets for Al Qaeda, the rising Shiite militias and the force to really watch – Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army.

Of course the president nowhere talked about why it made more sense to commit scores of thousands of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, a country without any serious strategic significance or major resources whatsoever, while stripping them from Iraq, which for all the mess he and his predecessors made of it, at least has the second largest reserves of easily accessible, high quality oil on earth. But facts have never got in the way for Barack Obama before and they didn’t on Tuesday night.

The speech while mercifully much shorter, was otherwise just a random reassembling of all the vacuous phrases about “ better future,” ”historic moment”’ “lasting peace and long-term prosperity.” And all of that was only in the second paragraph. There was less hot gas in the Hindenburg.

One got the eerie impression that the president’s many speechwriters didn’t even write a word of it. They just set a random software program to extract the necessary uplifting phrases from his 2008 campaign rhetoric and run 17 minutes of them together in no apparent order. We’ve heard it all before, and as our domestic economy collapses, and what’s left of security in Iraq and Afghanistan disintegrates, we’ll hear it all again.

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