NYT: “Troop reductions are both deeper and faster than the recommendations made by the Pentagon. The speed and scope of this plan is striking”

Obama Opts for Faster Afghan Pullout

WASHINGTON — 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.
hese 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.


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.

Two administration officials said General Petraeus did not endorse the decision, though both Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who is retiring, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reluctantly accepted it. General Petraeus had recommended limiting initial withdrawals and leaving in place as many combat forces for as long as possible, to hold on to fragile gains made in recent combat.

In announcing the withdrawals, Mr. Obama will fulfill a pledge he made in December 2009, when he coupled the deployment of 30,000 additional troops with a promise to begin winding down America’s engagement by the middle of this year. But the speed and scope of this plan is striking.

// more


Guys, just ahead of the speech tonight, I want to remind everyone that this place supports President Obama. We don’t have to agree with everything he does, but the one and only line that I have deep in the sand here – Is treating this man with complete respect. I suspect there will be all kinds of opinions here tonight, and I hope we’ll keep it civil. There’s more than enough hate and disrespect towards this president out there, let’s stick together.



278 thoughts on “NYT: “Troop reductions are both deeper and faster than the recommendations made by the Pentagon. The speed and scope of this plan is striking”

  1. I happen to think the President has it right.
    Unfortunately, those on the left will say he’s not cutting enough troops and those on the right will say he’s cutting too many. He truly can not win.

  2. The president is listening and working in the interest of the American people. I trust he’s doing the best, given what he’s looking at and that which we are not privy to.

    God Speed Prez Obama!!

  3. Your wish is my command.

    There is nothing in this world that I value more than respect and civility.

    I am also very thankful for what you do.

    Thank you.

  4. There he dun did it, going against Saint Petraeus. And given both McConnell and Boehner have gone on record saying “I’ll support the President’s decision if Petraeus agrees with it” one certainly has to assume that they knew the answer to that already.

  5. And one more thing. He made that gutsy decision to take out Osama Bin Laden, knowing what the consequences would be if that mission had failed.

    That region is still volatile, even with Bin Laden dead. There is the possibility that now with his death, the U.S. negotiating with the Taliban, may yield some benefits. With Osama dead, perhaps the head of the Taliban may not feel like he is so wedded to Al-qaeda, hopefully making the situation not so dangerous.

    I pray that with this decision tonight, it will be the beginning of the end of this long war.

  6. Whatever his decision, I support President Obama 1,000 percent. He is the CIC, he has all the intelligence, he’s smarter than me. That’s why I voted for him to be president.

  7. I forget where I read it, but the 10,000 troops coming home first are not combat troops but the support troops – construction troops etc that build the outposts and such, in order to both have a big withdraw number to send the message that America is coming home, while still leaving as many combat troops as possible in Afghanistan for the next fighting season.

    However this NYT seems like sort of a hit piece in that Petraeus didn’t endorse it and Clinton and Gates only did so reluctantly. I wonder what Panetta’s opinion was on the matter.

  8. They just shift the goalposts. “Sure he’s done this great thing, but only because *we* made him, and he hasn’t yet colonized the moon and used his bully pulpit to convince people to travel there, thus he’s weak, not committed, etc.” I trust President Obama’s judgment far more than that of his detractors who have proven short sighted many times. I just wish that President Obama’s supporters had more of a voice in the media than the people who bash him and his innovations, which outside of the country, are so respected.

  9. I love what you said in the last sentences of your post today, BWD. I feel the same way. I feel safe here letting my respect and support for the President pour out on the page and not getting any push back. Then I can go forth and stand up for him where its not as safe. Its a refuge and rejuvenation station. I also feel as if the bashing that goes on everywhere by everyone is enough to break one’s heart and when I come here and read all the supportive and civil posts, whether we totally agree or not, its feels sublime. I hope we can keep this place a place of empathy and compassion and respect while we exercise our passion, commitment and audacity to help bring about the changes we are working for.

  10. That’s fine. Having killed UBL, Afghanistan is now a civil war and our Afghan ‘ally’ Karzai, is ungrateful and corrupt, biting the hand that keeps him in power. Additionally, NATO has not been the partner one would have expected. Why no one–I mean no one–ever discusses what the Afghan Plan was from 2003 to 2009, blood and treasure fritter away on a non plan. We also must face what this means for Pakistan–despite their duplicitous dealings with the US–is Pakistan ready or able to deal with a resurgent Taliban bent on the creation of Pashtunistan while it insist on looking towards India. The only people who want us to stay are the upper brass military (who would have us there for a decade) and the Afghan people.

  11. I don’t see it that way at all. It actually makes the president look strong and standing up to the war mongers. The country wants out of this place. PBO could have decide to bring everyone back tomorrow and he would have a very big support.

  12. It could all be strategic as well, there is always messages with in the messages and sending the message to the ME that the war hawks are still circling lets folks there know that maybe next time the President will choose their side.

    A drawdown also sends the message to he Taliban that “hey they are really leaving, why do I want to risk my life to fight them when they’re leaving”.

  13. We all know republicans are going to scream bloody murder because President Obama goes further than the recommandations of the Pentagon. The “weak on defense” , the peddling of fear, etc… we’re going to hear it 24/7.

    I’m absolutely convinced that President Obama is taking into account a whole lot of geo-political factors and is thinking strategically, instead of tactically. I trust his judgment and his COURAGE. President Obama is NOT reckless and is a thoughtful, careful man. NO WAY he took his decision lightly; I’m sure he listened carefully to the military commanders and he weighed their arguments.

    The sad thing is that the pundits are going to interpret President Obama as a political decision, a decision influenced by a desire to appeal to “liberals”. We all know that President Obama DOESN’T take politics into account when it comes to make important decisions for the well being of America, and the world.

    Folks, President Obama is going to take it from both sides. “Not enough!” and “Too soon: reckless!”. President Obama is going to need all the support he can get.

  14. The Time will be when is feasable and our Soldiers are no longer in harms way.

    I trust that our CIC, has more knoweldge than anyone else, just as he did with OBL strategy.

  15. The Afghan War will be a greater stain on American honor and moral standing that the Iraq War was. At least in Iraq we somewhat rebuilt it to a point of stability, if just barely. In Afghanistan the Bush Administration bombed it, contracted with northern warlords to push out the Taliban from Kabul and the major urban centers, and then allowed the situation to fester for 7 years until PBO’s surge, which gave the Taliban time to regroup and reassert itself, all the while propping up a barely competent “leader” to whom we didn’t give enough financial support, and the support we did give was siphoned off by corruption. If that region does manage to stabilize in the coming decades, the US role in it from 1979 through the end date of our occupation will be a sorry chapter.

  16. I am happy that at least 30,000 will be coming home..at least we think that’s what he will say. I trust the President.

  17. When we all get together with our ideas one way or the other to keep our President in Office. Remember He looks at all sides before speaking on a issue. He has guided us away from the cliff of economic destruction one step at a time. He guided the Auto industry back to high profits and leading their industry. Remember He was the First President to go to DOVE AIR FORCE BASE and salute the returning fallen. So tonight when He speaks it is what is best for us all and not about politics. President Obama thinks about the troops and the families and he wants them all home. We will have his back to the end and this is no way near the end.

  18. It’s OK if construction soldiers come home because India has taken over that work. They are far better received by the Afghans and it is making the Pakistani’s VERY nervous. I like that.

  19. I look at it this way: If the far right says Too many troops out too soon, and the far left says Not enough troops out soon enough, I figure the president has it just about right. It’s easy to yell and criticize, but do these people have any responsibility for decisions? NO! They just criticize, and not one of them has the mass of intelligence the president has, and not one of them has to shoulder this decision and bear it on his/her shoulders. This man makes hard decisions, and sticks by them.

  20. BWD.. Hope you had a chance to relax a little bit before coming back.
    We the people cannot have it both ways. Either we come out or go all all out.
    Personnaly I believe taht we need to come out as soon as possible. But that means in a way as not to let what was built up crumble before our very eyes. I say it is about time we let the Afghan men and women take on more of defending themselves. We have been there eight long years, those who were 10 years old or older when we started should be old enough to fight now. We have invested quite a bit in resources and most of all American lives in this place. The Russians and all those othere before them could not defeat a ‘culture’. Unfortunately Afghan, Pakistan etc; and most of these countries will never fully adjust to or be ruled through a ‘democratic’ way of life. It is a fact. So what is our interest in Afghan, what was our interest in Vietnam, we now buy shirts and other goods made there versus the same items made here in the US. We cannot keep on ‘going to war’, and blowing up other countries and unfortunately our President’s hands are tied and he is caught between, ‘is he tough’ or ‘is he soft’, ‘does he have our security foremost in his mind’. When he pondered the ‘surge’ of 30,000, he was ridiuculed for taking too long, now the same ‘paper’ publicans are calling for an end to something he did not start. If he ha dnot sent the troops he would have been questioned for sure. He is good , but not a magician. He made a promise to end IRAQ and he is doing that , he made a promise concerning Afghnistan and he is doing that. We do not want to see anymore dead americans, but the fact is that some more will die before this is all over. We can pray that the forces that we are fighting against will want to come to some type of peace agreement, and seek peace for their country.

  21. Watching the commentary on Chris Matthews, on Gore’s piece on global warning in “Rolling Stone” magazine where he blames Obama for not using his bully pulpit to speak out for global warming. Surprisingly they didn’t bash Obama the whole time.

  22. I don’t know. What I think I see once again, is a president looking at all the information before him, listening to all of his advisors, and finally making a decision that he thinks is suitable for the American people. I don’t know if it is a hit piece, as much as it tells us once again, where each of the aforementioned people stood on the issue.

    But in the finally analysis as it is with this president, he came to his conclusions based on what he believed is good for the American people, and I can almost wager he is willing to take his lumps.

  23. None of these loudmouths on the left or right have access to the same intelligence POTUS does, so who are they to judge?

    POTUS always ends up proving both sides wrong, that’s why they despise him. He’s taken politics to a whole new level, a level that no one has figured out.

    POTUS made the right call: not too many, not too little, and both sides will have a non stop bitch fest politicizing his decision. The right will say he’s soft on national defense, and the left will call him a warmonger, and POTUS will come out on top.

  24. President Obama most definitely have my support, and I’m happy to say that I trust President Obama a lot. This Is a President who has proven himself to be wise and oh so careful, In his decision making. He Is the CIC, and that’s enough for me, because he’s a Dang good one at that 🙂

  25. As a general rule, I don’t make comments on blogs but, but, but, I have just been pushed to my limit and need to express how weary, frustrated, angry, confused, perplexed, and just plain PO I have become at all the nit picky criticisim I hear and read that is directed at President Obama. It’s as if he hasn’t done one positive thing in 2 1/2 years. I mean now Al Gore. I mean, do all these people really think that Rommney, or Pawlenty or Bachman or Huntsman would do a better job on all their special interests? I’m warning everyone, if so called Democrats don’t keep their mouth shut and learn to PRAISE the President and DEFEND him, we are in a boat load of trouble come November 2012 and it will be their fault. I’m with you Proudof Obama, I voted for the man b/c he is smarter than I am and I trust him. As a 69 year old, white, Southern Grandmamma I want a better world for my Grandchildren and I still believe that if President Obama is supported, they will have it.

  26. Good to see you back, BWD! Thanks for all you do to keep us informed. I totally agree with your rule that we can disagree with the President without being disrespectful of him. For me, I fully support the President. But I also know that his enemies will be out in force bashing him, irrespective of any decision he chose to take. That is why I am so grateful that you created this space where our President is treated with love and respect.

  27. Blah blah blah “bully pulpit…” Why isn’t Al Gore himself using the bully pulpit to fight for climate change?

    I tire of these liberal loudmouths who attack POTUS for not using the bully pulpit, but yet they are too chicken to use the bully pulpit themselves. POTUS is not their slave, remember it was always “Yes WE Can…” what part of WE do these liberal loudmouths not understand? POTUS has way too much to do to fight their battles for them.

  28. When I think of the many messes GWB left for PBO, I get positively apoplectic. Afghanistan should have been exited by 2005 at the latest. However, the neocons and private contractors were making money, so the cash cow could not be killed. The whole stinking mess fell on PBO’s shoulders, and I have been disgusted with the way his so-called supporters have lambasted him and expected miracles from him. When they were not forthcoming, they criticized and carped and did not one thing to help. The far left wanted him to do their bidding, the right wants him to be a one term president, I don’t know sometimes why he keeps on keeping on, but fortunately for us and the world, he does! He has been keeping his promises…..but not on the critics’ timetable, and not exactly in their way. Many of them need to grow up. Well, that’s my rant for now.

  29. Therein lies the beauty of this schizophrenic group of Republicans. Many of them oppose the president on issue simply because he is President Obama in the White House. There are others like the McCains and Grahams who want America to be the last man standing in all the wars. So, the Republicans have their own little issue to face on that score.

    But more importantly we know if it was a Republican in the White House, we won’t even be having this disussion.

    As for the pundits and their intrepretation of this decision as a political one influenced by liberals, they too will have to be and are disingenuous. Obviously the press knows that for some liberals, nothing the president does is enough.

    And for the Republicans, as mentioned before, by virtue of the fact that he is President Barack Obama, is reason enough to oppose anything he does, even if it is something they believe in.

    What we have to do is take a cue from President Obama. He, like many of us knows the predictability of not only the press but some liberals, as well. And so, just like he is going to be doing the people’s business the next day after this speech, we keep on doing what we are doing: whether it is working for OFA, e-mailing, tweeting, facebooking to set the media straight, etc., we forge on.

    Because tomorrow after they have exhausted themselves over this issue, they (Republicans, media, PL — all of them) will move on to the next crisis.

  30. I agree Nathan. I found this place after a Planet POVer linked it, and I found Planet POV after some disgruntled HuffnPuffers got tired of Arianna’s BS and lies and started their own blog, respecting POTUS as well. We need more places like this calling out the BS on the left and right and reporting the truth and facts about POTUS. It’s gotten to the point that POTUS can’t even sneeze without both sides bitching.

  31. No problem keeping it civil and showing respect toward our President by me, BWD, since I trust his judgment in making decisions from a thoughtful and intelligent perspective – after he’s heard all of the recommendations coming his way.

    Not all decisions will be unanimous on the part of all of his supporters. We’re too diverse a group for that.

    His mature judgment is why I voted for him, and why I intend to stand beside him.

  32. The president will make the right decision and I will support him completely. It’s absurd to second guess something like troop withdrawal rates when none of us has access to inside information. That a general would want more troops on the ground is not surprising. But his duty is to accept the decision of his Commander in Chief. Period.

    I haven ‘t valued a pundit’s opinion since intelligent, reasonable, responsible journalists stopped doing the commenting and that goes back to the sixties. Rather than tune in or read the current crop of tv, radio, and newspaper bloviators, I sooner listen to my neighbor’s dog bark. There will be lots of armchair quarterbacking tomorrow, but those bleating the loudest would be epic fails at making important decisions themselves. I remember all through 2008 I kept telling people who were nervous about the latest polls, strategy, or criticisms of Obama to trust him–just trust him. We’re going to have a roller coaster ride in the next year and a half and for those whose stomach’s turn at every dip, I can only repeat. Trust him.


  34. Chris was actually pretty good in defending President Obama — he said it was the media that was the disgrace, treating both sides to the climate change debate as though they were equals when in fact the deniers have no scientific credibility and should not be treated as though they do.

  35. We simply cannot leave a complete vacuum. Maj. Gen. Eaton on Countdown last night said that the mission has changed drastically to counter-terrorism, something the Bush Administration had completely abandoned. Shall we talk about that stunning lack of competence?

    Unfortunately, Joe Manchin on CNN just now said we should change to a ‘counter-terrorism mode.’. Because if you check facts maybe as a Democrat you’d support this President. But we couldn’t have that, could we?

    I have repeatedly said over the last few days that I have no idea what the numbers actually mean. None of us do. From a purely political standpoint, it would be immensely popular with the base to have made the cuts a little deeper so that we were indeed cutting into the already existing force before the surge. Even by as little as 5,000, in my opinion.

    I did hear today, however, details on the success of the surge. Color me surprised. Why are these things not made part of discourse on a regular basis?

  36. The positive effects of that move are stunning: instead of bombing the compound to smithereens we gained the most useful amount of intelligence ever collected in this region since 9/11, and we did it by getting the bad guy and not through torture to support Bush’s [lying] position. That is great leadership, pure and simple.

    I also heard that there had been a reciprocal ‘friendship’ that needed to be honored by Afghanistain while bin Laden was alive. This was no small symbolic move — we removed a major obstacle to Afghanistan extracting itself from outmoded alliances.

    When Bush ‘surged’ in Iraq, we heard ad nauseum that the surge worked, the surged worked. I’m first hearing this now.

  37. Is Petraeus going to ‘leak’ again his ‘displeasure’ with this President?

    Boehner’s already making noises that we’re endangering American security, yada yada.

    Every damned Democrat should be in front of a microphone to Boehner: “You put this war on the credit card. YOU did that. REPUBLICANS did that while America added 25% more millionaires in a recession. And you want to balance the budget on the backs of seniors, the sick, the poor and those needing a 21st century education. So if you want this war to continue, you take it off the credit card and have the rich pay for it. Like they should have done 10 years ago.”

  38. You have to wonder how these people existed before PBO came on the scene. It is as if he is this magical figure that is supposed to solve all problems.

    From those in the Congress themselves, who have their own bully pulpit to the so-called activists and their plethora of issues . Who’s stopping them from going out there and making a difference.

    No one is stopping the likes of Al Gore from coming forward and undertaking the climate change issue. What did he do on climate change when he was in office?

    And by the way, have we seen Al Gore lifting a single finger to help any Democrat? Did he campaign for anyone in the 2010 midterms election.

    What has he done as an elder statesman to help the Democratic cause. I need to get my hands on his contact information.

  39. President will also hold G8 and NATO meetings in Chicago next Spring with Afghanistan at the top of the agenda.

  40. Not to mention that Al Gore did NOT fight harder in 2000 against the Bushies and the Supreme Court with the Florida mess, yet here his is, projecting his failure to fight onto POTUS.

  41. “What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them — that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply.” –Barack Obama

    The bully pulpit argument is just as stale as the rest of the old entrenched rhetoric. When that ground shifted, that pulpit fell to the ground and broke into itty bitty pieces.

  42. I really don’t know what to say.
    I just read am extract from an Al Gore piece saying Pres Obama failed to lead on climate change.
    Dawn Johnson (a nomiee of Pres Obama to the Justice Department (I think)) critised him on the legal position on Libya.
    What is wrong with these people? Pres Obama had so many issues when he came into Office without full throated support from all Democrats and unprecedented opposition from Republicans. In spite of that he has done so much and still these people (not whom we think of as PL) and all they can do is whine? Very few go out and support.
    Tell the truth, I find that I can’t take it anymore. I am done with them.
    I support Pres Obama but the rest of the Democrats,I’m going to forget most of them.

  43. And why are only Dem detractors invited on these shows? That’s what I want to know. If any Dem or left-leaning person says anything which is critical of Obama or can be construed to be that way, you can bet they will be featured on multiple news programs the next day. Are they all in cahoots in their dislike of the President, or is it really all about the doughsky, trying to create a horse race for the Presidency for ratings and ad revenues?
    And I trust Obama more than any other spokesperson on the troop withdrawal decision, military or otherwise. For anyone paying attention, Obama is thoughtful and careful and seeks advice from all corners before making his always wise decisions. There are so many considerations, and I’m sure he has more info than almost all of the other self-appointed experts who are blabbing their low-info advice.

  44. Thanks for those words BWD. I concur with you on our respecting our President. I love that about you and Chipsticks, in that you both make it known that we respect our President on these sites. I love that we all can have our own thoughts, but I love it mostly when we have them, share them BUT with that beautiful respect. We need this site to remain such a well-inform place, a loving sharing place, and a well-rounded and loving group who give our responses with deep order and respect to our President, Barack Obama. We can speak with this respect that will lead us to the victory of really making beautiful change in our country. I too, hope we are strong enough to listen, listen, and listen with open minds filled will beautiful respect. Let us enjoy our President’s speech tonigh, and think deeply , but with that respect that he always gives to all of us. I love you all. And thank you for this beautiful place also BWD.

  45. I have no problems with those who disagree with Obama on this as long as no one here calls him an imperialist, a war criminal or a scared of republicans its all good.

  46. Gore is just jealous because Obama is President and Gore never got the chance, because he didn’t fight harder against the Bushies and the Supreme Court concerning Florida. Who is he to lecture Obama for “not fighting harder” on climate change?

    Climate change isn’t even a top priority right now, it’s the economy, jobs, and getting our troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq, yet Gore wants to derail the momentum from those priorities and focus the spotlight on him. How come he hasn’t been fighting harder for climate change, a cause he believes in?

  47. I don’t mind criticisms of the President’s policies. After all, everyone has their own hobby horse — Al Gore’s is climate change. And of course everyone with a passionate interest in a subject is going to push the powers that be to do more. The President gets pressure from all sides, but what he has in his position is a larger perspective. He knows he can’t do everything all at once. The Ship of State is very very large — think of the Queen Mary II — it doesn’t turn on a dime. So people get impatient.
    What I DO object to are attacks impugning the President’s motives, saying he’s just as bad as GWB or some other low life. PBO is already an historic president. Just the passage of the ACA ensured that. But he’s more, much more. Things always look like they’re changing slowly until you look back. I’m glad there are so many people who appreciate him right NOW.

  48. Sure, sure, Obama is “as bad as Bush” yet Obama is the one who got bin Laden and Bush didn’t 🙄

    The things these UNprofessional left loudmouths say, and they wonder why they are ignored 😯

  49. Oh, Jovie….I rambled and you so succinctly stated exactly what I wanted to say. Now I know why I don’t comment very often…..and I wasn’t referring to this site b/c what BWD so generously created is like an oasis in a dessert.

  50. All over the news is the cryon: “Gore calls Obama a failure”. Gees, Al, are ya new? Have you seen what this President is up against? Do you NOT know what words will frame your comments? Poor Donna Brazile — trying to put the comments in context but Wolfie would have none of it. I can just imagine what Cenk is doing with it now.

    Never a reasonable frame, never a reciprocal criticism for the monsters who created this mess and have been doing so for 40 years. No — add to the frame and everything is Obama’s fault.

    I’m spitting nails with anger.

  51. Me, too. I relish conversations and debate. But why oh why can’t we do that without the childish notion that President Obama — and only President Obama — is supposed to fix everything? Al Gore can say he wishes climate change had been more of an issue. Can’t he pay lip service to the gargantuan list of priorities this President has? Hasn’t as much been done as possible without the support of Congress and a wilful dumbing down of America so the majority of Americans can’t appreciate these issues?

    I’m furious.

  52. I read the piece but I have no sympathy for Al Gore. Do not put a phrase about Obama’s ‘failure’ out there at all. It’s an article, for God’s sake. Choose your words instead of doing damage.

    Every time I glance at the TV today some Democrat is bashing Obama. There is absolutely no excuse for Al Gore NOT giving the press, which is the real subject of his attack, any ammunition. Would Al Gore be happier with President Huntsman? WOuld he get a judiciary and a Supreme Court that could adjudicate these cases in keeping with American ideals?

    Let me ask Al Gore this: what would he have been able to accomplish on climate change if he he had been president the last 2 1/2 years? Where would he be? Would he like some ex-VP taking potshots at him that write the damaging headlines?

  53. LOL… Cenk the right wing Reaganite?

    I can do nothing but laugh at these UNprofessional left loudmouths. They truly have zero clue and are so out of touch with the American mainstream. They just need to join forces with the right wing since both sides want Obama to fail.

    But, as Deaniac from TPV points out, at least Rush Limbaugh has the balls to tell you he hopes Obama fails. None of these UNprofessional left loudmouths: Gore, Cenk, Huffington, Greenwald, Hamsher, Olbermann, Maddow, Choi and them have the balls to say they want and hope that Obama fails.

  54. They want “to move the Overton Window” by stamping their feet and insisting that PBO snap his fingers.

  55. Al Gore needs to shut up about POTUS not fighting, especially since Gore just rolled over and virtually allowed the Bushies and the Supreme Court to steal the Presidency from him.

    I definitely sense a lot of jealousy and bitterness from Gore towards Obama. Gore is jealous that Obama is President and Gore is bitter that he never got the chance to be President because he refused to fight for Florida and allowed the Supreme Court to appoint Bush POTUS in 2000.

  56. Sounds like two, one immediately following the other. No tsunami warning:
    WASHINGTON—The U.S. Geological Survey Wednesday reported at 6.8 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Honshu, Japan, 136 kilometers southeast of Hachinohe.
    The quake was followed by a 6.7 magnitude quake a few seconds later in the same region of the Pacific Ocean.
    The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no warning or watch currently in effect for the area.

  57. repost from above:

    Sure, sure, Obama is “as bad as Bush” yet Obama is the one who got bin Laden and Bush didn’t 🙄

    The things these UNprofessional left loudmouths say, and they wonder why they are ignored 😯

  58. Ok, haven’t done this in a while, so here are your Libya updates.

    On Wednesday 22nd June 2011, @carolv27 said:

    UK will stay in Libya for as long as it takes. More on today’s #Libyaupdates via via @al_omari #Libya #Feb17

    by Hussein Al-Omari on Wednesday, June 22, 2011 at 11:37am
    (Sources: Aljazeera)

    1. Mustafa Abdul-Jalil was on Aljazeera today. He spoke well of many things. Refused to reveal the names of many who defected or are defecting now.

    2. He said that more than 15,000 people have been killed by Gaddafi and his weaponry and mercenaries. Over 400 have arms or legs due to mines that were places around Ajdabiya.

    3. He said there are a lot of casualties or arrested people in Tripoli and areas still under Gaddafi ruling that our numbers do not include. Many people cannot defect because their families are like hostages held by Gaddafi and his forces.

    4. He said there is no room for sharing power with Gaddafi as a thinker or brother leader etc; it is either Gaddafi or the Thuwwar (revolutionary fighters), and said it is a matter of time but we will win; it is not easy to defeat Gaddafi who spent all the assets of Libya on protecting himself and his security forces, but we have faith we will be in Tripoli soon.

    5. NATO announced that it lost a drone over Libya, which is an unmanned plane. Libyan state TV announced that it downed an Apache helicopter but NATO denied that it lost any Apache.

    6. Italian foreign minister, Frattini , called for halting all military operations so the food and human aid can reach all needy areas in the suburbs of Misrata and Tripoli.

    7. The British PM David Cameron said that his country will continue to stay in Libya for as long as it takes to do the job without a time ceiling even if NATO halts its operations in Libya.

    8. His remarks came after the announcement by the French Parliament that it will vote on July 12 on extending the French participation in the NATO operations in Libya beyond the four month granted period.

    9. John McCain submitted a proposal to the congress to allow the president to continue a limited use of military forces in Libya. It does not include any support for ground forces in Libya except for the purpose of self defense of US governmental officials.

    10. The revolutionary fighters criticized NATO for the inefficiency of its military operations in Libya, saying that such performance is controlled by the interest of NATO countries. They said that the air strikes are not as they should be.

    11. There are news reports that a secret unit of 130 of pro-Gaddafi agents was arrested in Benghazi. The unit was planning for terrorist attacks in Benghazi, especially planning attacks on Tibesti Hotel, where the NTC members and the visiting officials from abroad stay.

    12. Libyan state TV said that NATO ships launched bombed Zleitan at night killing tens of people. Libyan state TV is campaigning using civilian casualties lately to ease the attacks on Gaddafi headquarters. NATO said its strikes against Gaddafi will not halt even though it apologies for any civilian casualties.

    13. On the other side, the revolutionary fighters said that NATO planes have been bombing the military sites of Gaddafi forces near Zleitan on daily basis last few days. They added that Gaddafi forces have a large number of its artillery positioned in Zleitan and bombing Misrata from there.

  59. ·oooO·.·.·.·.·.·.·.
    ·.·Rock Wuz Here.·.

    FIRED UP…!!

    READY TO GO..!!! 😀

  60. I am not sure what else he could have done once the Supreme Court made its decision. I think they did make a mistake in how they requested the recount, but once done, the die was cast.
    The other thing I wish they had done was make a big noise about how 3 of the Justices had family members who worked in one capacity or another on the Bush campaign.

  61. One thing you have to say about PBO–he ain’t dumb and he’s a quick study. I think PBO has grown into the job. Having allowed the generals talk him into a ‘surge’, I think he is feeling comfortable as CIC and reject Petreaus (and even Gates and Clinton). Bush INC. made Petreaus a god and he carried the water. PBO has asked the tough questions–the first of which probably would be ‘How are we safer if we stay?’ The main responsibility he has now is to withdraw our troops as safely as possible. PBO is not flashy but you can believe he is always trying to do what is best for the American people.

  62. I think it is OK. No damage reported. They did finally put up a tsunami alert, but there has been no evidence of a sea level change. Most telling, the Japanese news station has not bothered to interrupt their showing of a documentary to announce anything.

  63. Great timeline summary, LL. Thank you very much. I’m not one to keep up on this sort of thing, so I appreciate the update.

  64. This Afghan issue is a whole can of worms. I was supportive of our initial involvement there, but it became obvious very quickly that the people running the mission had no idea what they were oing, evn before the tora Bora fiasco.
    My son was involved in it while in Kuwait, where the main command center was situated. He went into Afghanistan a couple times. He noticed the movement away from Afghanistan towards Iraq and wasn’t thrilled about it.
    I think that the President is trying to do the responsible thing. He wants us out, but carefully and with full planning of what will remain when we leave. Plus, we have to remember that this is a NATO operation with many allies that count on us as much as we count on them.
    This whole move is strategic from both a domestic and foreign point of view. Part of it is a message to Karzai to straighten up and fly right. Part of it is a message to the Taliban. Remember we are in talks with them and part of th message is that we are willing o do what it takes to reach peace, are they.

    I think

  65. Well said, Faith! And they should demand that the Republicans raise taxes to pay for the trillion dollars spent on the uncalled for war in Iraq that was financed on “credit card.

  66. I’m worried too. It seems as if he is surrounded by doubting Thomas’ from his own party and of course the GOP. It sickens me.

  67. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think Maddow wants to get rid of President Obama, but she does get trapped into the negativity from time to time.

  68. You are so correct ninten. I am finished w/Gore when he did not fight. He sentensed us to Bush for 8 long yrs. I held my nose and voted for him. He has a huge bully pulpit why isn’t he out there everyday?

  69. Chris Matthews had a good segment where he called out that this is not the president fault that its the dems, special interrest and the media. Everyone wants him to be superman, but they want call out the real fire breeders who is blocking everything.

  70. “Blah blah blah “bully pulpit…” Why isn’t Al Gore himself using the bully pulpit to fight for climate change?”

    Bravo, Nintedowii10! And why didn’t he and Bill Clinton use the “bully pulpit” when they occupied the White House for eight years? In my humble opinion, President Obama has not only been vocal on the issue of climate change, but he has also done more than Clinton-Gore in putting the money where his mouth is. Look at the money in the stimulus supporting clean energy and green jobs. I haven’t read Gore’s Rolling Stone piece, so I must reserve judgement. But I hope Gore has not been infected with ODS (“Obama Derangement Syndrome”).

  71. I don’t know about you folks, but sitting here in North Florida I just don’t think I have the knowledge or maybe the intelligence to know what is the right answer in Afganistan. But what I do know is that my president in one smart dude, he thinks on a different plane than most of us amd we can only catch up with his visions once they unfold. Then we say, AWH! I trust him to make the right decisions. I have faith in him.

  72. Well that must have been refreshing for Chris to spout some reality.

    Also I am a military mom. The more troops we withdraw the greater the danger to the ones that stay. That is a real tightrope for PBO. I trust this man. We have no idea what he knows. What we do know is that he is a careful decision maker. I love that abt him. Finally I want to say just how fabulous FL Michele Obama is to the world.

  73. Kathryn, I am glad you broke your rule and decided to share your wisdom! I am just a few years younger than you, but you said what i feel. Everyday, I see these non-stop attacks on the President, from so called Democrats, and just shake my head in disbelief. This is one of the best President in my life time, yet a few loud mouths are given platforms, and megaphones, to constantly bash him. Thankfully, the vast majority of us Democrats still support him, in spite of being cut out of the one sided discussion that goes on in the MSM. I am also thankful for blogs like this one and others that are uncompromisingly pushing back against the lies being told about President Obama’s record of achievement, which is quite impressive compared to other Presidents.

  74. Having 300,000 before the end of 2012 is an improvement over what was released before. I am still disappointed that it is not more troops though. I do like that Obama pushed back against the hawks in his admin.
    On a side note, I broke my wrist an due to the cast I am having to type 1-handed. So I will be in mostly lurk mode for awhile here.

  75. I await his speech. I also support my President and understand that he has deliberated long and hard..taking into consideration many issues that we are not privy to….he did not start this war, but once again, he will end the war that someone else started. Whatever happens tonight, I know that we are going in the right direction, and understand that this is a volatile and unpredictable part of the world…with nuclear powers nearby, and the stability of this region ,and the safety of our troops,depends on a measured drawndown. Thank you, President Obama for finally begining the journey home for these men and women. Godspeed.

  76. A request for liveblogging of the speech from someone (erm, me) who is at work and won’t be able to watch.

  77. I agree. He’s damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t.

    What’s even more frustrating is that Iraq and Afghanistan were quickly shifted from “Bush’s Wars” to “Obama’s Wars” and the fact that many on the Right, the Left, and in the MSM seemed to have purged from their memories that it was President Bush who started this whole sordid enterprise.

    (Although I will say here and now that I was initially in favor of going into Afghanistan to find and get bin Laden. But the mismanagement turned the whole thing into a huge clusterf%@k. I was opposed to invading Iraq, because it was completely unnecessary, but…well, we all know what happened next.

    Honestly…if Bush’s wars did not put an end to the canard of “there’s no difference between the two parties”, then I do not know what will.)

  78. “Every damned Democrat should be in front of a microphone to Boehner: “You put this war on the credit card. YOU did that. REPUBLICANS did that while America added 25% more millionaires in a recession. And you want to balance the budget on the backs of seniors, the sick, the poor and those needing a 21st century education.”

    If only. If only….

  79. I have to admit that in my younger, bomb-throwing, Chomsky-reading days I too said that there was no difference between the GOP and the Dems. That pretty much ended after GWB’s appointment in 2000.

  80. I agree! I think he’s got it just right no matter that his predecessor took his eye off the ball, so to speak. I support the President of the United States.

  81. troops will continue coming home after initial drawdown.

    Seeeeeeeeeeee 🙂

    This is the end coming.

  82. The DCCC keeps asking me for money. I think it’s time for another polite note telling them that when House and Senate Dems stand UNIFIED behind PBO they will get my hard-earned cash. Until then they can turn to another sucker.

  83. I totally agree with you nintendow! I also came from HuffPost because I was really sick of the constant attacks on President that began with his appointment of Tim Geitner. I had followed BWD at DKos and was heartbroken when she left. I forget who linked me here, but I was so happy to find some of the most interesting and thoughtful people who comment here regularly. Of course, from BWD I was exposed to other incredible sites like TPV, PlanetPOV, p m Carpenter, Eclectablog, Norbrook , Wee see you, The Obama Diary and many others. I wish more Americans were exposed to these spaces that report the truth and facts about the President.

  84. Would it be wrong to say that I do not trust Petraeus and frankly do not know why he still serves in his current capacity. I just don’t care for him at all. The only person from the prior admin that I think highly of is Secy Gates, a truly civil and gracious patriot.

  85. Why thank you, Smilingl8y. The 21st century is ours to forge ahead. We’re NOT going backwards.


  86. You know, I should have picked up the phone tonight and told them just that. I get a call at least 5 times/week. That is exactly what I will tell them.

  87. You know, Nintendo, I can understand, in a way, Gore’s frustration.

    But….does the former VP (well, he should be considered, “former President” since he won in 2000) understand that no matter how hard President Obama thumps on the “bully pulpit”…it won’t mean jack?

    For the first two years of his Presidency, Obama was trying to stanch the wounds left by the Bush years. It wasn’t easy, but he got a lot done. But now–the House is not in Democratic hands. The Repubs want to take the President down, and if the country goes over the cliff completely, so be it. And the PL isn’t helping either.

    In short, the President can only do so much. He has fixed the EPA, but with one house of Congress in Republican hands and with the Supreme Court being more friendly towards corporations, the President will not get everything fixed magically. And again, even if he pounds on the bully pulpit…how is that going to change the minds of the Republicans who have stated categorically that they DO NOT BELIEVE IN CLIMATE CHANGE? No matter what the evidence?

    It would be like trying to talk to a brick wall.

    I should read the RS piece to see what was really said, but I still cannot shake the feeling that the blame being heaped on President Obama for “not doing anything” is seriously misplaced.

  88. Good speech — but I did have to turn the talking TV box as soon as Rachel Maddow started to make like she knows what she is talking about.

  89. She is so predictable. Lawrence lost this viewer within seconds of her opening her mouth as she was thoroughly predictable . .

  90. Obama said, the troops will keep coming home after initial withdrawal.

  91. Rachel decided that it should have been a foreign policy class at Georgetown. Anything less is not good enough for her.

  92. Well I don’t approve of Rachel 😉 I’m sure that’ll bother her about as much as her opinion bothers POTUS. She has proven herself a fool more often than not imo.

  93. I’ll be interested in seeing how the BBC analyzes the president’s plans. Really, it’s sad that I have to turn to news sources outside of my country to get clear information — but, then again, thank goodness for this interconnected world we inhabit.

  94. It left her empty…wanting to know what happens after 2014. Barney Frank is squawking now….why are these people so shortsighted? Did they really expect that 100,000 people with their equipment dash right out? Boner wanted him to listen to Commanders on the ground…does that mean that we should stay there WAY LONGER than the President wanted? Another F ing mess Bush left.

  95. Good! Why did THEY (tv talkers) not hear that??? I missed the entire speech…I taped it though…will watch later:)

  96. Barney Frank now telling us how disappointed he is in President Obama’s speech. Along with Al Gore’s backstabbing, it’s not been a good day for the Democratic Party, and it could have been. Are there no Dems that support Obama that can get on tv? Barney Frank needs to be telling us why he sold out on Wall Street reform and help send President Obama a weaker bill than was necessary.

  97. imho, there is nothing wrong with Pelosi or Rachel Maddow or anyone else wanting more troops to come home sooner. I personally do too but that doesn’t mean I don’t support the President’s decision. Agreeing to disagree and respect for someone’s decision is exercising freedom of thought and speech. It would be a scary world if we all decided everything the President did we had to be in lockstep about just because we have/will vote for him. I didn’t agree on sending ground troops in in the first place back in 2001-02. It likely could have been done with CIA operatives sniffing out these al Qaeda bastards with US air support. It’s not our role to “nation build” there and decide if the TAliban should or should not be running the country. Anyway…good speech by POTUS and glad he is moving in the right direction on this. Any drawdown is
    good news.

  98. Which is why the GOP is sabotaging any recovery – they get the White House back and they’ll all of a sudden pass jobs bill after jobs bill and their crooked business interests will start hiring again. States with GOP control are cutting jobs left and right to keep the UE rate high. GOP had a strategy from before President Obama was even sworn in to beat him in 2012 and a lot of it was winning control in states in 2010 and then making sure the economy didn’t recover.

    I take certain solace in knowing the Obama Family will be fine, financially set for life and under much less stress if the morons in America decide to vote Republican. I very often think America doesn’t deserve President Obama – I guess we’ll see in Nov 2012.

  99. I clicked them off 3 seconds after Rachelopened her mouth. She ought to be ashamed of herself. Rachel is brilliant. She was mouthing corp stuff and it makes me sad. She did not even give herself a moment to think. I am disappointed.
    PBO was chrystal clear, winterwove domestic economy which I wanted, uplifted the sacrifices our troops have made and are continuing to make. He is simply great!

  100. I’ll probably be skipping the media for some time now until things die down. Not to say I’ll stop watching completely as I’ll occasionally tap in and see what is said but I will probably be changing the channel more often than not. Luckily I have HBO and can watch True Blood or can read a good book. I am tired of listening to these pundits as they just want to destroy our president than bring in a piece of crap republican that will be a complete disaster.

  101. From the TPM article on the speech:

    Seconds after the speech ended, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sent out a statement crediting Obama with making it clear that he has begun the process of brining the troops home and ending the war in Afghanistan, but she also expressed a degree of disappointment.

    “It has been the hope of many in Congress and across the country that the full drawdown of U.S. forces would happen sooner than the President laid out – and we will continue to press for a better outcome,” she said.

    “Concluding this war will enable us to reduce the deficit and focus fuller attention on the priorities of the American people: creating jobs and investing in our nation’s future by building a strong, thriving economy for our children,” Pelosi added.

    I like Nancy, but really, couldn’t she just have given her support to the President and then said the part about concluding the war enabling us to tackle problems at home? Why the dig? What part of “unity” don’t these Dems understand??

  102. Who gives a rat’s pa-tooty what Rachel thinks? She can’t even understand basic electoral politics, now suddenly she’s an expert on the military and counter-insurgency?

  103. Point of fact, it is not about Afgh, it is about India and Pak both of whom have nuclear weapons and both of whom are meddling in Afgh. There are just so many facts we do not know, have not a clue about. All the blubber and distortion on the airwaves is what keep the public from being well informed.

  104. I agree about disagreeing but supporting, but disagreeing so publicly right after the speech is poor politics. Nothing Barney Franks said couldn’t have been said next week, or even a couple of days from now. Some moments call for unity because it’s the most productive thing to do politically. Republicans would never put ass-mouths on to disagree with a president after a major speech.

  105. 🙂 Almost time for a new True Blood? Watch sometimes…my husband is addicted.

  106. Thank you. I would add it’s about China as well as there is no love loss between China and India as well.

  107. She is so overrated. I am sick and tired of her self-inflated ego. She is smart, yes, but she is no expert on this issue and by far is clueless and not privy to the intelligence that comes across this president desk.

    And pulling Thousands of troops out of a war zone is not a walk in the park. I have just had it with these high-minded PLs that do nothing by flap their gums with nothing to show for it.

  108. PBO is traying to clean up the mess the GOP has made , and the MSM fucking wants it both ways.to trust on those assholes high paying talking heads opinions , I agreed dammed if he does, and dammed if he does NOT. I think PBO is doing the right thing, because he does listens . reads, and talks with people who people that do not agreed with him. I do have a lot’s of confidence in PBO so far he has done a great job. And He will NOT takes us to onother DUMB war.

  109. Nancy must enjoy being minority leader. She’ll like it even more when a Republican is in the White House and the Republicans have complete majorities in Congress.

    I don’t like her at all that much – there isn’t a pragmatic bone in her San Francisco liberal body. Get me a leader for a swing district who understands that not every district is D+15.

  110. Exactly right. It is my biggest frustration that these so called “experts” seem to conveniently forget about when they discuss this war. Pakistan, India, Afghanistan. Volatile part of the world that we can’t have explode upon a swift exit. Can anyone believe this man is doing his best to clean up yet another mess left behind by the guy that wrapped himself in the flag? I really would like to see all Americans get away from the politics and believe that he is doing his best to bring them home….always easier as an armchair quarterback.

  111. Criquet, I think it’s o.k to voice policy differences with the President. Although I support the President’s action in Libya, both on humanitarian grounds and because of my support for the United Nations, I still can see where reasonable people, like Dawn Johnson, with more knowledge than I have in Constitutional law, can disagree. As for Al Gore, I find his use of the term “failure,” when it comes to the President’s actions on climate change, not only disappointing but very hypocritical. For a former vice-president ,who knows the complexity of American politics, to buy into this mythology of the “Bully pulpit” is very puzzling. I wish the former VP could have pointed out a specific example when he and President Clinton used the “Bully pulpit” to intimidate Congress, forcing it to pass radical environmental legislation. Why is he accusing President, just two and half years in office, for failing to lead on environment, what he and President Clinton failed to do so in eight years? Why doesn’t al Gore realize that President Obama inherited the worst economic situation since the Great Depression, a broken health care system, as well as two wars he did not start, but had to make sure they don’t end badly?

    Please don’t forget the rest of the Democrats because even the bad ones are 100% better than teabagger-Republicans. We just need to let Democrats like Al Gore, who I respect, that we don’t appreciate their arm chair attacks on the President. Like the President says, he is is trying to clean the mess. Instead of sitting on the sidelines criticizing the President about the pace of the clean up, Al Gore and those who claim to be Democrats should pick up brooms and start pitching in.

  112. I emailed Rachel and told her I would not be watching her show anymore…and I asked her to thank the NYTimes Reporter who appeared more supportive. Glad Lawrence had her on.

  113. Ronald have youu seen what’s happen around the world? we have 2 of our grandkids in Afhanistan.
    It’s not as simplle as quiting your job there are many nations fighting this war on terror. Oh Are part of the PL? by any chance?

  114. nancy speaks for the people. We all want the troops to come home sooner. She supports the president.

    Even in the tax deal, she did not bash the president.

  115. Margaret Rubin…I think her name was. She was actually NOT in agreement with either Lawrence or Rachel….refreshing to see.Thought about this from a difference POV…

  116. “…Instead of sitting on the sidelines criticizing the President about the pace of the clean up, Al Gore and those who claim to be Democrats should pick up brooms and start pitching in.”

    Amen, Amen, Amen!

    YES.WE.CAN..DO.(Much)More, Together!
    I’M IN…FIRED UP & GOIN’! 😉

  117. Obama bashing sharply rising.

    Rachel Maddow
    Barney Frank
    Al Gore
    now some PL talking points memo bloggers starting to bash
    You can bet the orange site is starting to bash.

    Did they NOT hear the president say that “troop will continue to come home after initial withdrawal”

  118. You can bet Jon Stewart will do a “meh” bash piece like he did with Obama’s Libya speech and make himself stupid. Be careful.

  119. Greetings folks

    Missed the speech but look forward to seeing it posted here or the Obama Diary.

    So… what if instead of complaining about what others are saying about the speech we brainstorm a few sentences that can be used as talking points about the speech. They can be used on twitter, facebook, email, etc. We can also use them if folks we contact in the campaign have questions or concerns about Afganistan.

    My fingers are poised and ready to make pages of talking points so let er rip.

  120. BWD; Yes. Yes. and Yes let’s remember when he was campaining in 2008 he was accused of been inexperience in foreign policy, and remember the so call 3:00 am phone call. he has accomplished what he promised he was going to do.

  121. BBC’s initial report

    President Barack Obama has announced the withdrawal of 10,000 US troops from Afghanistan this year and another 23,000 by September 2012.

    Speaking from the White House, Mr Obama told Americans that it was “time to focus on nation-building here at home”.

    Mr Obama’s announcement, after a month-long strategy review, outlined the exit of the forces he sent to the country at the end of 2009 as part of a “surge”.

    The reductions are larger and faster than military commanders had advised.

    They told the president that the recent security gains were fragile and reversible, and had urged him to keep troop numbers high until 2013.

    That would have given them another full “fighting season” – in addition to the one now under way – to attack Taliban strongholds and their leaders.

    Nevertheless, about 68,000 US troops will remain in Afghanistan. All US combat troops are scheduled to leave by 2013, provided that Afghan forces are ready to assume responsibility for security.

    The BBC’s Paul Adams in Washington says the withdrawal will be quicker than most analysts predicted, and suggests the president does not feel he needs to leave the bulk of the surge force in place for another fighting season.


    That’s the problem with wars. Easy to start. Hard to end.

  122. Party leaders shouldn’t come from deep blue districts – they are so out of touch with the fact that America isn’t deep blue as their districts.

  123. Maddow is still pizzed about Weiner. She simply won’t move on from this.

  124. Co-sign 2 this is the best place to be I am not worried PBO will be fine I can’t harly wait who will run agaisnt him so please let’s not panic.

  125. Responsible draw down. Protecting our Troops. Transition to stability while protecting the gains we’ve made in recent months. The job isn’t finished yet. Initial troop withdrawal is far greater than Patreus wanted. Remind people that the 50,000 troops still in Iraq are scheduled to leave by the end of this year. That will save us plenty of money. Nation build our own nation.

  126. Exactly! This blog has saved me and given me a little more energy to go out and work this campaign and realize that there are many of us that thank God for this President!

  127. It seems Rachel and the rest of the PL want a Republican in the White House, because they’ve done nothing BUT bash Obama on withdrawing troops.

    Have they already forgotten how President Bush was “We must stay the course” and didn’t withdraw ANY troops at ALL? And they want that over President Obama, who has promised a slow but steady withdrawal of forces?

    Excuse me for the French, but the PL can go fuck themselves, 100x over. They’ve been dead WRONG on every issue they gripe about, from the healthcare fight, to DADT repeal, the tax cuts fight, the government shutdown fight, Libya, and now withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan. They say President Obama is a warmonger but can’t back it up.

    President Obama needn’t listen to any of them, he’s done the best job as President and CIC by far.

  128. I heard “an orderly, responsible drawdown”…

    I guess some *CANNOT* hear very well…Duh!

    YES.WE.CAN…DO.(Much)More, Together!
    I’M IN…FIRED UP & GOIN’! 😉

  129. The fact that she’s defending a Congressman who sexted his penis to a bunch of women while his wife is pregnant shows the lack of values Rachel has.

    Maddow and the PL are just a speck in the realm of politics, as the recent Gallup poll showed with liberals approving Obama at approximately 70-80%.

  130. Um,ah. India is not ‘meddling’ in Afghanistan. We are not a part of coalition of fighting there. India presence there is a part of infrastructure building.

  131. I think the president’s plan is reasonable. He will invariably upset the neocon right wing who want endless war and a footprint in country on an indefinite basis. He will also invariably upset the professional left who think he is the second coming of Bush. In my view, I think the end of the surge by the close of 2012 (33k) is significant. I’d like to see the remaining 67k redeployed faster than a final date certain exit of 2014, but I fully understand that it takes a long time for such a withdrawal. More important for me (more important that the #s or the schedule) was the shift in strategy from counterinsurgency (COIN) to targeted counter-terrorism, which was what Biden advocated originally. I think this is a huge and meaningful shift and it is too bad that it will be given short-shrift in the media. There is something of an Obama doctrine in the speech that includes intelligence-oriented, targeted counter-terrorism strategy, founded on tenets of pragmatism and multilateralism. Me likee!!

  132. Nintendowii, I respectfully disagree with one part of your comment. I think Al Gore never became President, not ” because he didn’t fight harder against the Bushies and the Supreme Court concerning Florida” but because of two factors: (1) The holier than though progressives, who said that there was no difference between him and George W. Bush, voted for Nader. Had those purity progressives not abandoned him he would have been elected President without any contest in the courts. (2) Gore actually won the Presidency, even without the Naderites. We know he won the popular vote. We also know he won Florida if the recounts were allowed to go forward thus giving a win of electoral votes. Unfortunately, the Conservative Ideologues on the Supreme Court decided to intervene and award the presidency to G.W. Bush. There is really nothing Gore could have done to change this.

    As to whether he is jealous that he is not President, I have absolutely no idea since I don’t personally know the man. My conjecture, which, by the way, should be taken with a grain of salt as I have absolutely no proof to back it up, is that he is trying to court the purity progressives to support his projects, including his T.V. Channel.

  133. Did Joe Manchin miss the fact that a shift from COIN to counter-terrorism is exactly what the president called for??? Nothing annoys me more than fact-free loudmouths.

  134. Thanks Sebastian for remindig me abt the China point I wanted to make. It seems a large amounts of various ores are in the Afghan mountains that China is interested in but cannot get to them with the US military there. The Afghan have no mining experience. Nobody ever mentions those ores not the oil pipeline coming out of Russia.

  135. amk…I don’t know what Sebastian was talking about, but I was referring to the instability of Pakistan and the fact that India. and Pak. do not get along..not that India was “meddling” in Afghanistan….no more than that:)

  136. Barney Frank really has some nerve given his complicity in the banking crisis and the fannie mae explosion. .

  137. ALL great points, Tien. Maybe we could even try to get a $$$ amount of monies saved by this?

  138. What I know for a fact is that the President gets information that none of the rest of us do, that he is responsible for the lives of all US citizens and takes that responsibility VERY seriously (unlike a former President I could name!) and I totally trust and respect him and his judgment – if he thinks we need a certain number of troops there then he must have good reason for keeping them there.

    I am sick to death of everyone second guessing this President – none of these tv right or left wingers could do 1/10th the job this man has done!!

    I support him 100% and I’m in all the way!!

  139. I am with my president. And no, this is not blind support . I work on geopolitics for a living and I think he has taken a very responsible path as regards Afghanistan. Yes, Afghanistan constitutes a war that has gone on for a decade. But it should also be noted that we have only really put in a serious effort since late 2009 when President Obama issued the surge. Until then, the Bush admin was busy with its Iraq adventure. Thus, when you look at the less than two year period in which we’ve been pressing forward, we’ve actually made some gains in counter-insurgency, and the move now toward counter-terrorism makes perfect sense to me in the country from which the 9/11 attacks were launched, located as it is next door to nuclearized Pakistan.

  140. I agree with you but I guess I object to the way they were speaking, primarily Rachel. I totally appreciateed the other guest on O’Donnell who also wanted a larger draw down but focused on what she was happy about which was the political will to bring the Taliban into talks with Afghans, NATO and the US. I thought Rachel brushed off his “pretty” language, and focused on the negative until this woman spoke, and then she seemed to realize that, actually, it wasn’t all that bad but it didn’t last long.

  141. Actually, it makes sense to bring back the support troops since we’re now moving away from a nation building approach (which was an element of Petraeus’ COIN strategy), and moving toward counterterrorism exclusively. As well, it leaves the battlefield geometry in place to effectively deal with the Taliban and al-Qaida through the rest of the fighting season. Purely in practical terms, this makes sense. Politically, I think it also makes sense as the president takes a stand against the hawkish elements, siding instead with the Biden camp.

  142. I am glad that he did this towards the end of the week. All the poutrage will be gone by monday.

    There is something to be said about the gnat attention span of americans. 🙂

  143. I had to turn her off and switch to CNN. The woman is brilliant…. surely she cannot truly believe that we could redeploy all troops immediately.

  144. Gore mostly bashes the media in that piece for giving the climate change deniers legitimacy. He doesn’t even discuss President Obama until deep into the article, where he mostly faults him for not using the “bully pulpit” to fight the climate change deniers. This is one area where I too wish President Obama were more forceful and would stop adopting policies that appear to be predicated on the assumption that he can cut a deal with the deniers by being soft on drilling. etc. He pushed cap-and-trade but then gave up when it foundered in the Senate. I would like to see more force and clarity from President Obama on energy/climate change policies as this is the issue for the future..

  145. He must have been on after I rolled my eyes and turned that station off… Thanks for the head up about Mr. Wall Street Sell Out. Remind me not to waste my time defending BF in the future . Really, am I supposed to take him seriously?

  146. amk, I never said anything about India meddling in Afghanistan. I am worried that China will (thanks to Smilingl8y for mentioning the ores). My concern is India-Pakistan, and possibly, under certain conditions, India-China. If I wasn’t clear about that, I apologize to everyone.

    Perhaps I’m overthinking this, but the survey in the above BBC link leads me to believe that the many others outside the U.S. disagree about swift and deep withdrawal.

    I will also admit to cold political calculation: if the country is hit while President Obama is in office, it will be very bad news for the Democratic Party, and for him specifically if it is before the election. Getting out by Summer 2014 is good for the midterms, and good for the 2016 campaign. If we are not hit during Obama’s tenure, and if the Arab Spring somewhat settles the region, then it will be darn hard for the Republican nominee in 2016 to argue that a better plan of action is warranted because Dems have shown they can’t be trusted with the nation’s security (though they will surely try).

  147. I think President was very clear, concise and authentic in the delivery of his message tonight.

    I therefore do not need the dumbed-down media to interpret what was already clearly stated.

    Thus, I avoid them like the plague.

    This brilliant man has remained extremely consistent over the years in whatever he says.

    His thoughtfulness and brilliance shines through every time he speaks.

    I am grateful for this site and others that are similar, where we can have intelligent discussions

    and at the same time show the utmost respect for this remarkable leader.

    I deeply appreciate everyone here. Thanks for being a lifeline in a sea of negative ‘reporting.

  148. I completely agree that we need to be open and respectful of dissenting opinions, and I personally would like to see a faster redeployment. However, all I ask for is a little temperance in the delivery of the dissent from within the same party. We know what the president and the Dems are up against with a Republican party hell bent on destroying him… So I think it would not be much to ask that fellow Dems express dissenting views with prudence instead of fueling controversy. I guess I don’t believe in doing the work of or for the GOP.

  149. It’s too bad that the MSM, many of the republicans, the frustrati, the PL, and dems like Manchin have ignored the fact that polling shows that the American people want us out of Afghanistan and are more likely to side with PBO. That never matters because the groups I mentioned have to show everyone how much “smarter” they are than the president and his security team who can actually see the vital intel and the OBL tapes!

  150. “Nation build at home”, that was the most interesting part of the speech to me. I perceived the statement as smart politics, and as a signal that President Obama will be proposing something big and it will not be ending Social Security, Medicaid/Medicare. I think he must deal with the debt ceiling crisis (people forget that more than one poll has shown that it isn’t a popular idea), and then make his move, or serious of moves.

    Has anyone considered what we are going to do with all the troops that are coming home? I’m seeing too many on the gosh darn street!

  151. I find it amazing, LL, that no one in the Bush administration reviewed the Soviet Union’s history in Afghanistan. Had they done that, they could have learned some valuable lessons about what to do and what not to do, and maybe they would have avoided invading Iraq and concentrated on Afghanistan and OBL. One thing I can’t fail to mention is the fact that there are too many Americans and members of Congress who don’t know the history of the region. If they did, they’d know that it and Asia Minor have always been volatile areas. I wonder how many Americans and members of Congress have any idea of the difficulties Afghanistan’s history, geography, and culture present to attempting to unify/conquer the country? I’d say the number would be very small. It irks me that Americans place so much emphasis on “gut feelings” and what they “think” instead of being willing to read and study something before presenting an opinion on a subject.

  152. You’re right SR. These nutters from left & right don’t realize if Obama loses, they’re the losers. not him. I don’t ‘think’, I’m convinced americans don’t deserve this man.

  153. Faith, I understand how you feel, but, for the sake of your health, you need to let this one pass too. Honestly, I am disappointed in Al Gore. For a seasoned politician he had to know how his comments would be used by those bent on fanning the flame of Obama bashing. There is no doubt that people like “Wolfie” are exaggerating what he said to conveniently bash the President. But, as long as we who support the President remain calm and resolute, comments, like those of Al Gore, which will come and go, must never discourage us from our determination to work for the re-election of the President. For me, I figured that Al Gore is trying to sell something, and these days bashing the President seems to be a sure way of making money.

    Moreover, I doubt that the teabagger-Republicans would get any mirage in quoting Al Gore for bashing the President for not being as radical as he is on climate change. I suppose this might give milage to the purity progressives. But unless Al Gore intends to challenge the President and win the nomination, I just don’t see how this would work in favor of Republican candidates. The majority of them are climate change deniers. The two (Romney and Huntsman), who seem to accept the reality of global warming, still offer no concrete solutions. So, Al Gore and his purity progressives have a dilemma on their hands: can they honestly convince environmentalists to support any of the Republican candidates over President Obama? If they do, It wouldn’t be about policy; rather, it would all be about their visceral hatred of the President.

    Right now I really have no energy to engage the purity progressives. If Al Gore, whom I used to respect, has decided to join them, I say so be it. Al Gore or no Al Gore, I still support President Obama 100%. I also believe that he is the most humane, and the most progressive, president in my lifetime. I also think his record, in just two and half years, of promoting and enacting policies for a cleaner environment is very impressive.

  154. Let’s handle this the smart way, sebastian. The dems NEED our money. Let’s make it known to them that unless they support the president on certain issues, they can forget about getting any of our money. They also need to be reminded that their criticism of him should be respectful. I’m sick of them begging for money and stabbing PBO in the back on every one of his moves and acting like scared chickens as the republicans take away women’s rights, deregulate as much as they can, deny PBO the help he needs by blocking his nominees, and stall recovery efforts using any tactic they can. They want to help the republicans hobble our president. Let us hobble their fundraising. This is my plan. I gave lots to dems in 2008, 2009, and 2010, but that has ended. The more disgusted I became with them, the less I began to give in contributions until I’m at the point that I donate only to PBO.

  155. OT towards economy – Remember what PBO said about winning the future ? This is why he said it.

    Airbus piled up the orders at the Paris Air Show as it confirmed the largest single order of aircraft in aviation history.

    Indian budget airline IndiGo is buying 180 planes from Airbus worth about $15.6bn (£9.7bn) at list prices.

    The deal is for 150 of Airbus’ new fuel efficient A320neo jets and 30 A320s.

    It follows a memorandum of understanding between the two companies signed in January this year.

    More deals are expected for Airbus at the air show, one of them being from Malaysia’s AirAsia.

    Reuters news agency and The Wall Street Journal are quoting industry officials saying that AirAsia will top IndiGo’s deal with an order for 200 revamped A320neos and options to buy 100 more.

    Airbus, owned by EADS, has left rival Boeing far behind in terms of orders, as high fuel costs increase the demand for fuel efficient aircraft.

    The company estimates it has sold more than 700 A320neo jets so far.

    “There is a possibility that we will be at 1,000 by the end of the show,” said Airbus sales chief John Leahy.


    Two things stand out in that piece. America is losing out in one of its niche areas (aviation industry). Two, the biggest market for its products is outside the US. Compete or perish.



    The President reflected on the difficult decision he made in December of 2009 to order 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan, and keeping his commitment to begin the drawdown of troops this summer:

    By the time I took office, the war in Afghanistan had entered its seventh year. But al Qaeda’s leaders had escaped into Pakistan and were plotting new attacks, while the Taliban had regrouped and gone on the offensive. Without a new strategy and decisive action, our military commanders warned that we could face a resurgent al Qaeda and a Taliban taking over large parts of Afghanistan.

    For this reason, in one of the most difficult decisions that I’ve made as President, I ordered an additional 30,000 American troops into Afghanistan. When I announced this surge at West Point, we set clear objectives: to refocus on al Qaeda, to reverse the Taliban’s momentum, and train Afghan security forces to defend their own country. I also made it clear that our commitment would not be open-ended, and that we would begin to draw down our forces this July.

    Tonight, I can tell you that we are fulfilling that commitment. Thanks to our extraordinary men and women in uniform, our civilian personnel, and our many coalition partners, we are meeting our goals. As a result, starting next month, we will be able to remove 10,000 of our troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, and we will bring home a total of 33,000 troops by next summer, fully recovering the surge I announced at West Point. After this initial reduction, our troops will continue coming home at a steady pace as Afghan security forces move into the lead. Our mission will change from combat to support. By 2014, this process of transition will be complete, and the Afghan people will be responsible for their own security.


    The President also emphasized the important role the Afghan government must play in securing their nation and depriving al Qaeda of a safe haven:

    The goal that we seek is achievable, and can be expressed simply: No safe haven from which al Qaeda or its affiliates can launch attacks against our homeland or our allies. We won’t try to make Afghanistan a perfect place. We will not police its streets or patrol its mountains indefinitely. That is the responsibility of the Afghan government, which must step up its ability to protect its people, and move from an economy shaped by war to one that can sustain a lasting peace. What we can do, and will do, is build a partnership with the Afghan people that endures –- one that ensures that we will be able to continue targeting terrorists and supporting a sovereign Afghan government.

    President Obama also discussed the importance of focusing on nation building here at home, while upholding the beliefs and principles on which our nation was founded abroad:

    In all that we do, we must remember that what sets America apart is not solely our power -– it is the principles upon which our union was founded. We’re a nation that brings our enemies to justice while adhering to the rule of law, and respecting the rights of all our citizens. We protect our own freedom and prosperity by extending it to others. We stand not for empire, but for self-determination. That is why we have a stake in the democratic aspirations that are now washing across the Arab world. We will support those revolutions with fidelity to our ideals, with the power of our example, and with an unwavering belief that all human beings deserve to live with freedom and dignity.

    Above all, we are a nation whose strength abroad has been anchored in opportunity for our citizens here at home. Over the last decade, we have spent a trillion dollars on war, at a time of rising debt and hard economic times. Now, we must invest in America’s greatest resource –- our people. We must unleash innovation that creates new jobs and industries, while living within our means. We must rebuild our infrastructure and find new and clean sources of energy. And most of all, after a decade of passionate debate, we must recapture the common purpose that we shared at the beginning of this time of war. For our nation draws strength from our differences, and when our union is strong no hill is too steep, no horizon is beyond our reach.


    In this effort, we draw inspiration from our fellow Americans who have sacrificed so much on our behalf. To our troops, our veterans and their families, I speak for all Americans when I say that we will keep our sacred trust with you, and provide you with the care and benefits and opportunity that you deserve.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/06/22/president-obama-way-forward-afghanistan (w/video)
    This *ISN’T* PBHO’s mess…

    He’s just tryin’ to “clean it up,” along w/other Bush&Co. messes, in an orderly, responsible manner to avoid any unnecessary troop and civlian injuries or deaths and drawdown disruptions!

    So, onward & upward WE go!


    YES.WE.CAN…DO.(Much)More, Together!

  157. Exactly jayne, they forget we have not caught the brains and financer of Al Qaeda. Al Zawhiri. We don’t know what he know.

  158. Yes, there is a pragmatic bone in her body. She did help push HCR through.
    I do agree that it would be nice to see more unity after a speech. Democrats are very, very good at self-destructing. So good, in fact, there’s no need for Republicans to open their mouths.

  159. Yeah, they are…

    They’re “rotten to the core!”

    desertflower, Tien Le and other TOAITR’ers/TOD’ers have them “in their sights”…

    And, it’s our pleasure! 😉

    YES.WE.CAN…DO.(Much)More, Together!
    I’M IN…FIRED UP & GOIN’! 😉

  160. I loved PBO’s speech. I really liked this comment I found on the OFA site:

    “What strikes me as bizarre is that Democrats are using his foreign policy successes as a reason for turning against his Afghanistan policy. They’re saying that because he got Bin Laden and because he’s been so successful at decimating Al Qaeda that he deserves less support as Commander-in-Chief.

    Well, for me it’s just the opposite. Because he’s demonstrated such extraordinary success in decimating Al Qaeda, I now support his policy in Afghanistan more strongly than I did before”!!

    Wow! This really says it better than I could.

  161. I don’t see issues as being either “red” or “blue.” I see them as either being the right things or the wrong things to do–the things that will benefit the nation and the people the most. This is what PBO meant when he said that there is NO “blue” or “red” America, only America. Now, granted, there are some people in some states/regions of the country known as “red” areas who have different ideas/beliefs about government and its role, but those ideas/beliefs aren’t always the type of ideas/beliefs that lead to positive results that benefit the nation and most of our citizens. CA has been blue for some time, and I witnessed the negative impact of Schwarzenegger and the republicans’ policies on the state. I’ve lived in GA all of my life, and I’ve seen it under democratic and republican governance, and our state makes more progress that benefits more citizens under democratic governance. IMO, it all depends on the way that those in power view the role of government. Do they think government has an important role to play in the lives of people, or do they want to drown it in a bathtub and privatize services? The actions of politicians in charge tell the story, and we’re witnessing it play out in FL, GA, WI, OH, MI, PA, and other states.

  162. thanks,snoop for sending this out….those evil rat bastards need to be exposed for the evil they are! Please, please please spread this around….

  163. Nice, maggy:) That was as a succinct thought as I have seen. Perfect comment.

  164. They can fix the blame or fix their problem. Their choice. Ironic that it’s their ideology of “always the market first” that is doing them in. You can betcha they’ll be the first ones to go that much hated gobinment with their whines and sob stories.

  165. The President demoted Petraeus from CenComm to clean up his mess in Afghanistan. Now, Obama put him in a corner at the CIA where he can use his tactical skills instead . Now, that OBL is gone, he send Panetta to clean house. No questions asked. Our CIC will move you one way or the other if you don’t obey orders.

  166. Amen. I posted that on a TPM story. He didn’t fight for Tennessee and that would have Florida a moot point.

  167. And, it will get a big assist from Fox. Media Matters has been covering the way that Fox has been lying about the NLRB decision regarding Boeing. My brother works at the Boeing plant near Seattle, WA, and he told me that the reason Boeing sent the second Dreamliner production plant to S.C. had to do with Boeing’s desire to avoid negotiating with the union in WA State, and this was over 2 years ago! Boeing violated the law, but Fox is going to do its best to blame the union. Sanford and his pals offered Boeing a deal with lots of tax breaks and a guarantee that the workers in S.C. wouldn’t be able to bargain collectively. I followed the issue through “The State,” S.C.’s largest newspaper because I wanted to see how the republicans would sellout the people and workers in their own state, and I wasn’t disappointed. My brother told me recently that the same job that pays over $20/hr in WA State pays only a little over $12/hr in S.C.

  168. Me too. I will continue to fight for the President, campaign and give money to him and NOT the DCCC. If his campaign wants to help the DEM turncoats, that’s their business.

  169. Hell, examining the British experience — or even Alexander’s! — would’ve shown that Afghanistan is called “the graveyard of empires” for a very good reason. But Afghanistan was nothing but a prelude to Iraq, just enough to con gullible Americans that Saddam had something to do with 9/11 and had to be taken out as the Taliban had. For that I will never forgive anyone associated with that administration, and they should be spoken of with ignominy for as long as the Republic stands.

  170. This went to my FB page. I want all of my contacts to know that America’s democracy is for sale, and that there are members of Congress on both sides of the aisle ready to do the bidding of the Koch Bros and the other corporatists and ready to forget about us and the planet in order to gain wealth and political power.

  171. I’m sure Airbus workers are not working on slave wages. The problem with Boeing are mostly technical (inefficient planes), delays in delivery (their dreamliner roll out bombed out) etc.

  172. This is what she’s “workin’ on”:

    80 Years of Planning: The Kochs + The Family + Birchers = Tea Party… http://tinyurl.com/4gje76a (It’s a DK link. But, it’s truly worth the read!)

    Anytime! 😉

    And, yeah, this is what WE have to do…SPREAD THE WORD/PASS IT ON…Tweet/RT it, FB it, Email it, et al!

  173. And, there’s also this:

    DeVos, Koch, Scaife, Walton, ALEC, AFC – The Corporate Royalists and Right-Wing Groups Propelling the GOP’s Assault on the Middle Class: A handful of rich, right-wing families and corporate chieftains are dedicated to returning America to the days when robber barons ruled… http://tinyurl.com/6d2c4yo

    WE have to fully EXPOSE these destroyers of America’s democracy!!!

    YES.WE.CAN…DO.(Much)More, Together!
    I’M IN…FIRED UP & GOIN’! 😉

  174. If I were an elected Democrat, I would tell the MSM to suck it. I mean really. Democrats are seldom invited to any of the Sunday morning political talk shows. They should realize that the only time they are ALLOWED to speak on camera is when it’s something negative about the President.

  175. Terrifying read. Simply terrifying. Everyone needs to read this and know what this President is up against. Evil bastards just doesn’t even seem to come close, does it??? ALL HANDS ON DECK! We got serious work to do…together!

  176. Yes, it is…

    Yes indeedy!

    And, there cannot be “nothin’ less than that!”

    YES.WE.CAN…DO.(Much)More, Together!
    I’M IN…FIRED UP & GOIN’! 😉

  177. I’m “real” sorry about that…

    I didn’t realize that it was a “broken link!”

    I wonder if Tien had the same problem?

    I have to look for it, again!

    But, I’m “callin’ it a nite!” lol

  178. I listened to the speech, and then I listened to the pundits. I’m going to go with the guy that hunted down and killed Osama Bin Laden.

  179. Sebastian, I totally agree with you! Yes, Democratic political leaders have a right, and an obligation to disagree with the President, but they also have a responsibility not to project an image of a totally fractured party. I am sure Barney Franks would have no problem placing a call to the White House to register his objections to the President’s policies, and to offer alternative policies that he thinks are viable. But, I think Democratic leaders, like Barney Franks, send out a terrible message of disunity when they are quick to appear on the tube to voice their criticism of the President. Especially when they know that no matter what the President does, Republicans would be out in force to oppose him.

    My humble view is that, so far as Afghanistan is concerned, President Obama is caught between a rock and a hard place. He is in this predicament because President Bush took his eyes off Afghanistan in order to invade Iraq. Yes, after ten years of war, it’s time to get out. I am sure that if Barak Obama was the President in 2001, this war would not have taken ten years. But then what do we do if our troops are immediately withdrawn and the country is left in utter chaos; providing a breeding ground for those who would seek to inflict terror on America? The same thing that happened after the defeat of the Russians and the U.S. withdrawal of support of Afghani people under both Bush Sr and Bill Clinton. Will the people urging the President to completely withdraw from Afghanistan rise up in his defense if another incident like 9/11 were to occur? I realize that there are no guarantees in life. But is it not reasonable to try to ensure that Afghanistan is a stable functioning country that is no longer a heaven for stateless forces, like AlQaida, whose sole business is to spread terror throughout the world?

    Unlike most people who are quick to provide simplistic answers, I sincerely believe that the President is faced with a no win situation when it comes to Afghanistan. I wish people, who are quick to demonize him would heed the native American wisdom that you truly cannot not know the person until you walk in his moccasins! All I can say is that I sure wouldn’t want to be in the President’s moccasins when it comes to Afghanistan. I also have not seen any credible alternative offered by those who are quick to jump all over him.

    There is one thing that I can guarantee: most of the people bashing him would be the first to stab him in the back after he adopts the position they favor if it turns out not to be successful.

    For me, after observing the way President Obama approaches difficult issues, I instinctively trust his judgement , even when I might have minor disagreements with some specific aspects of his decision. It seems to me that he has made a reasonable decision about Afghanistan, given the bad options he had to choose from. Therefore, I will support him fully, and I will still have his back just in case things don’t turn out the way I expect. As a student of history, I am well aware that people we are taught to regard as great men and women were not always 100% successful in the decisions they made. What makes a great person is the courage to make difficult decisions, even unpopular ones, as well as the courage to face the consequences of their decisions, without placing blame on others.

  180. Profound.

    Apart from the Gettysburg Address, perhaps the single most important statement of the meaning of America ever delivered by a President, or anyone else.

    13 min, 17 secs.


    Listen to it. Listen again and again and again.

    Anyone trying to distract from the essential messages of what President Obama states should be dismissed, instantly.


    Listen to it.

    Share it.

    Converse about it.

    Memorize it.

    “Four score and seven years ago ….’

    “In all that we do, we must remember that what sets America apart is not solely our power -– it is the principles upon which our union was founded.”


    Yes.We.Can. … DO.More.Together!

  181. Thanks WIW for always focusing on the positive! I really love the way you approach things. The same energy we expend on reacting to the negative bashers of the President can be harnessed to productively engage in promoting positive points about the President. So here is my take on the President’s speech on Afghanistan:

    1. The president announced responsible, and meaningful withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, while making sure that U.S. will still be actively engaged to ensure that Afghanistan creates a viable society that will not again become a heaven for terrorists.

    2. The President’s troop withdrawal balances the need for security and the need to divert the money being spent in Afghanistan to re-invested in building the American Economy

    3. The President sent a message to the Afghani people that they need to take an active part in building and securing their country, reminding them that the American military assistance was not open-ended.

    4. The President re-assured the country that even as America withdraws from Afghanistan, American will continue to use every means to defeat terrorists and keep the country safe.

    5. As he repeatedly said on the campaign trail about the need to carefully leave Iraq, just as we carelessly went in, the President’s speech to-night revealed that he is a serious person who understands the importance of leaving Afghanistan carefully, to ensure that the country is stable and will not once again become a heaven for terrorists.

    So, there What Is Working! That is my take on the President’s speech tonight! I trust in your ability to formulate my reaction in some meaningful talking points. May be you can also add the fact that if President Bush hadn’t taken his focus from Afghanistan so as to invade Iraq, President Obama wouldn’t be in this predicament.

    Again, thank you for the wonderful work you do to inform us. Thank you also for always focusing on the positive.

  182. Very well said maggy519! Sometimes the so called Democrats just make my head spin! I plan to send the Democratic leadership a message: they need to get their act together. As a family they can sharply debate their differences behind closed doors. But once they are in public they must figure a way of presenting a united front. Otherwise, they will just come across as a dysfunctional family. No one respects a dysfunctional family in which family members bad mouth each other! The President has always been respectful of members of Congress, of both parties. It’s really a shame that some members of his own party won’t afford him the same respect of not bashing him in public.

  183. You do know that the resistance in the Senate was from Senate Dems from red states. That was the nature of that majority in 2009=2010, and it still is, much more fragile as it is.

  184. Oh I understand that — I doubt that more effective use of the bully pulpit would have made a difference but climate change is going to require so much work and it is vitally important that President Obama provide a stronger and more effective counter-point to the deniers. He needs to occupy a bigger chunk of the debate than he does if he is to start moving things forward in his second term. I’m talking about playing a much stronger role in terms of educating the public, etc. And I don’t see any point in indulging the drill-baby-drill gang with loser rules on off-shore drilling, etc. It’s not the answer and it’s not going to bring the oil supporters into a grand coalition.

    That being said, it is laughable for Gore to offer any criticism of Obama’s advocacy as he was not exactly a strong leader on much of anything as VP or even as a candidate for president. It took Obama to increase the CAFE standards when the Clinton administration was powerless on that front for 8 years of squandered opportunity

  185. I don’t know — it’s hard for Dem politicians from red states to be strong leaders for a progressive agenda. The strongest Senate leader in my memory was George Mitchell, who also was the only one to come form a blue state.

  186. Yeah I finished game of thrones and now can’t wait till next season of true blood. 🙂

    I think its seriously time to throw in the towel and take a break for awhile as I get angry at my own party, etc. We all need rest once in awhile.

  187. I finally got to read Gore’s Rolling Stone article and I must apologize for commenting before I read the article. On the Whole, Al Gore praises the President’s initiatives. True he did take uncalled for swipe at the President for not using the proverbial “Bully pulpit,” but, for the most part, Al Gore was more complementary of the President than he was critical of the President. I am truly ashamed for buying into the media meme that was clearly intended by CNN and others to manufacture a controversy: “Gore thinks President Obama is a failure,” that never existed!

    For a passionate champion of the impending crisis of climate change, Gore may have overstated what he thought the President could do, through the so called “Bully pulpit.” For the most part, however, the article praises the things the President has done for the environment ; especially given the fact that he had to deal with a severe recession. Never again will I comment on headlines manufactured by the MSM and the PL. The claim, promoted by CNN, TPM, HuffPost, and others, that Gore called Obama a failure on climate change is false! The media just capitalized on a few words in the article to sensationalize the idea that a former Democratic VP was calling President Obama a failure. Any objective reading of the piece does not support this claim. Obviously, the VP, who is a seasoned politician, might have been wise not to use the word “failure” simply in reference to the specific issue of using the “Bully pulpit.” But it is shameful for the media to pull that minor statement and make it the central focus of the VP’s remarks. May be they were trying to hide the fact that VP Gore’s central focus was on taking the media to task for not seriously and accurately reporting on the the seriousness of climate change/global warming.

    Again, I apologize for some uncalled for criticism of Vice President Gore. Except for the part about the “bully pulpit,” VP gore was really complementary of President Obama’s initiatives that tried to address the issue of climate change. VP Gore never called President Obama a failure!

  188. AMK, From everything I am hearing here in Ireland, India is doing a wonderful job in Afghanistan building schools and hospitals, and the Afghan’s are very appreciative. No, India is NOT meddling but building a modern nation for the Afghans.

  189. Nancy Pelosi’s policies have benefited our troops with body vests, armored vehicles, improved health care benefits, a new GI bill for returning vets, expanded FMLA for returning injured troops, and hundreds of other policies that have directly benefited the average American.

    She has my full support. The media is interpreting her words as a “slam” of the President’s decision. I don’t believe she did that. “Continuing to press for a better outcome” isn’t a slam. It sounds to me more like a commitment to put pressure on Khasai and the Afghans to shape up faster.

    Do not listen to the media analysis. They are forever wrong on just about everything and anything they try to analyze.

  190. Boeing appears to be making some awful decisions lately, i.e. the last few years. The immediate problem for the airlines is the cost of fuel, and that doesn’t seem to be something that will go away soon. So Boeing decides to ignore that and says that they know the airlines would rather wait for years to get a whole new plane. Airbus says we can give you a more fuel efficient plane tomorrow. So which company would you choose? Seems obvious to me.

  191. I disagree. I don’t believe for a second the meme that the media is selling about a right of center country. The country has been brainwashed to accept policies that haven’t done a single thing they were supposed to do.

    If America had the truth, it would be way more supportive of liberal government while remaining a capitalist economy.

  192. Oh, Bob, how I agree with you. The most important far-reaching part of the speech is totally ignored. Now why can’t we be discussing this instead of fixating on a number:

    These long wars will come to a responsible end.

    As they do, we must learn their lessons.

    Already this decade of war has caused many to question the nature of America’s engagement around the world. Some would have America retreat from our responsibility as an anchor of global security, and embrace an isolation that ignores the very real threats that we face. Others would have America over-extended, confronting every evil that can be found abroad.

    We must chart a more centered course.

    Like generations before, we must embrace America’s singular role in the course of human events.

    But we must be as pragmatic as we are passionate; as strategic as we are resolute. When threatened, we must respond with force –- but when that force can be targeted, we need not deploy large armies overseas.

    When innocents are being slaughtered and global security endangered, we don’t have to choose between standing idly by or acting on our own. Instead, we must rally international action, which we’re doing in Libya, where we do not have a single soldier on the ground, but are supporting allies in protecting the Libyan people and giving them the chance to determine their own destiny.

    In all that we do, we must remember that what sets America apart is not solely our power -– it is the principles upon which our union was founded.

    We’re a nation that brings our enemies to justice while adhering to the rule of law, and respecting the rights of all our citizens.

    We protect our own freedom and prosperity by extending it to others.

    We stand not for empire, but for self-determination.

    That is why we have a stake in the democratic aspirations that are now washing across the Arab world. We will support those revolutions with fidelity to our ideals, with the power of our example, and with an unwavering belief that all human beings deserve to live with freedom and dignity.

    Above all, we are a nation whose strength abroad has been anchored in opportunity for our citizens here at home.

    Over the last decade, we have spent a trillion dollars on war, at a time of rising debt and hard economic times.

    **Now, we must invest in America’s greatest resource –- our people.

    We must unleash innovation that creates new jobs and industries, while living within our means. We must rebuild our infrastructure and find new and clean sources of energy.

    And most of all, after a decade of passionate debate, we must recapture the common purpose that we shared at the beginning of this time of war. For our nation draws strength from our differences, and when our union is strong no hill is too steep, no horizon is beyond our reach.

    America, it is time to focus on nation building here at home.

  193. Once again this hardworking President has kept a promise. He will start getting these troops home starting this July. Immediately , those against the President are going to say he is too slow, just because they dont want him to succeed. OR he is too fast .. same reason. This is an incredibly able and intelligent man, who represents us in a very positive and rewarding way. He has gained respect all over the world and he is dealing with some of the hardest situations to be foisted on one man at one time.. most not of his own making. Yes, time to grow up America, count your blessings that someone like Barack Obama is at the helm during these times, and come together and get the job done for the American people as a whole. The obvious vendetta the right has stated , and the reality that they will throw our economy under the bus just to blame it on the President hoping to bring his defeat is a travesty on what it means to be American!! Once again it is the Conservative arm of our Congress that will make us a laughing stock in the world if this keeps up, not to mention harming so many of our citizens . Where are the Statesmen?

  194. It’s about framing. It’s about messaging. This is what Democrats and liberal pundits miss. Even if Rachel doesn’t call Obama names, the guests she’ll have, the message she’ll send is not that we are having a healthy debate about Afghanistan, but that Obama is deficient. This is what Republicans NEVER do to their President and that is why they have owned the government since 1980.

  195. Frankly, I think this was quite a balanced message. I would have liked to have seen more support for the President, but laying out these views that are on the minds of most thinking Americans, is not a terrible thing.

    Not quite how I would have framed it but no one listens to me from my armchair.

  196. I remember our invasion of afghanistan. Most of the people in this country were in favor of this action. I was not. However, we committed our soldiers and resources to this war and allowed it to become a complex, corrupt enterprise with no clear mission or exit strategy. Our former President explicitly stated his ‘desire’ to leave the mess to the next Commander-In-Chief. The most difficult thing to do is clean up someone else’s mess, especially one years in the making.

    I am well aware that many levels of strategy are in play and most are not known or understood by the public, and some must necessarily be kept secret. We have a habit of inattention, short-sightedness, selective memory and impatience in this country, which is never more evident than in our politics. I think some of our politicians and many in the media are intellectually dishonest about the difficulties, and/or are politically motivated to insist on a simplistic solution they know is unreasonable.

    For all these reasons, I temper my disappointment about our military entanglements with the belief that the future of our nation is in the best possible hands, President Barack Obama. No one has all the answers, but having the right tools to make the best decisions possible is all we can ask for. I trust him. I know he will do what he thinks is best, no matter how difficult the decisions may be.

  197. Thank you for this comment. I have not yet read the article, but I had already decided to read it first, because I respect Al Gore. I also know how often the media slants negatively toward obama or democrats in general.

  198. I totally agree.

    The ‘bully pulpit’ doesn’t really work if the media doesn’t cover it. When the President went to Texas to talk about all the improvements made in border security, how well was it covered? Certainly not as well as the outrageous lies told by Jan Brewer and the rest of the repugs. Even the Dems did not defend their own accomplishments.

    Where is the Democratic leadership? Why is The President expected to do it all alone?

    Instead of Dems trying to run the military, they need to take care of their own house.

  199. What amazing things we could accomplish if Democrats got together and planned strategies to defeat opponents of their policies rather than bash a President who sign them into law.

  200. HuffPo used to be the first place I would visit for daily news. Now, I rarely bother to visit at all. I too found BWD on DailyKos. I have sent links to everyone I know for ‘The Obama Diary’ and ‘The Only Adult in the Room’. I mention them whenever I have a political discussion. Everyone I talk to is sick of the Obama bashing.

    No President, not even Lincoln, ever faced such uniform opposition and obstruction to every single policy or nomination, and even his personal visage. But no President has ever been a uniquely qualified to handle it. Gotta love this guy.

  201. I don’t think all of those lefties want Obama to fail. I think Maddow and Cenk (especially lately) have been pretty even-handed–at the very least, they do not disrespect him.

    The worst offenders are hamsher, choi and Greenwald. These three have absolutely no objectivity or credibility–the true (Un)Professional Left.

  202. I love Rachel Maddow, but I did the smart thing. I did not watch any commentary on the President’s announcement until the next day. They truly are sadly predictable.

  203. Pelosi is a gem. She is also very strategic. I don’t doubt that she consults with the President before making major statements. It doesn’t mean she tows the line, but she certainly understands the political implications of her words.

  204. I have to disagree with you here. Leaders need to come from protected Districts so they are less vulnerable to political manipulation and big money.

  205. Look for Rhoda’s post below. The media is spinning the article and Gore’s words to make it look as if he’s attacking PBO.

  206. Clinton Warns House Democrats Against Defunding Libya Operations
    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met with scores of House Democrats on Thursday and urged them to vote against an impending measure to block funding for American operations in Libya.

    In emphatic language, Mrs. Clinton warned them a House resolution that would bar money for most military activities in Libya, scheduled for a vote on Friday, would be disastrous to American interests in that war-torn nation, said some of the 60 or so Democrats who attended.


    House Republicans push to halt Libya funding
    House Republicans who disapprove of President Obama’s actions in Libya are pushing to halt funding for all hostile operations. (June 23) (CBS News)

    (But it won’t go anywhere in the Senate)

  207. So true. Pakistan is so paranoid about India on every level. They are reluctant to defeat the taliban because they fear that India will enter the vacuum. The geo-politics of that region are treacherous. Too bad the media is not more forth-coming about these complexities. They feed us shit and expect us to make intelligent judgements–or not?

  208. I hope not.

    President Obama’s Libya campaign should be judged separate and apart from Iraq and Afghanistan. The latter are both messes made by Bush, and you must know how difficult it is to untangle someone else’s ill-planned endeavors. The former is a uniquely Obama strategy from beginning to end. The contrast could not be more striking.

    Also. there is a cost-benefit analysis that is not being addressed by the media. We pay now and get a big return on our minimal investment, or we pay big later when we have to revisit the issue. 2 billion vs. 2 trillion. I’ll take it.

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