April 2014
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Obama’s New Way Forward in Afghanistan Speech

3 comments to Obama’s New Way Forward in Afghanistan Speech

  • Joshua

    Some thoughts after watching the speech:

    Obama seems very — even overly — concerned with conveying the impression that he has thought this through and is serious about his decision. I think he feels the disconnection between him — who has never served in the armed forces in any capacity — and the soldier men and women he is sending, as Commander in Chief, into Afghanistan.

    He links the current American economy to post 9/11 foreign domestic policy, namely, war. He cites this as a main reason for a surge, rather than an open-ended committment that could last a decade or more.

    He says that troops will begin to come home in 2011. As a result of 18 months of surge, after 30 years of civil war Afghanistan will grow a sufficiently large and reliable security force and reduce corruption in a legitimate government to manageable levels. This seems a little far-fetched. We need to know how the security forces will be created and how corruption will be lessened in severity.

    “Right makes might,” and “the nation we want to build is our own” are great lines.

  • jill

    Josh, I agree with your assessment. I am also very skeptical of the idea that we can train enough Afghan people in 18 months to provide security for themselves. Heck, I’m not even sure we can do it in 5 years.

    He didn’t do much to address the corruption that is currently affecting the government there. That is something that concerns me.

    I also wish we had more support from other countries. If the threat is as serious as we’re being told, it’s a threat to all, not just the U.S. I read this morning that NATO supported his decision, but it didn’t seem to be translating into more troops.

    I thought the beginning of his speech was pretty convincing regarding the need to give this war the attention that it deserves, but I just worry that we’re acting too late.

  • Joshua

    I worry about the lateness, too. I think the U.S. armed forces can roll back Taliban gains, but the Taliban will wait much longer than the U.S. will provide direct security. I worry that Obama will say in 2011 that the conditions on the ground, as he calls it, are not supportable for a massive troop pullout. That’s gathering support for now, knowing that people will become increasingly skeptical.