“Obama makes good on his promise…growing from a cautious new President into a commander in chief asserting control over the military”

Hi guys,

Today’s busy schedule:
10:00 AM
PBO and VPB meet with House Democratic Leadership.

12:45 PM
PBO departs the South Lawn en route Joint Base Andrews.

1:00 PM
PBO departs Joint Base Andrews en route Fort Drum, New York.

2:15 PM
PBO arrives Fort Drum, New York.

2:30 PM
PBO meets with soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division.

3:10 PM
PBO meets with Gold Star Families.

4:15 PM
PBO departs Fort Drum en route New York City, New York.

5:10 PM
PBO arrives New York City, New York.

7:05 PM
PBO delivers remarks at a DNC event.
Sheraton Hotel and Towers

8:00 PM
PBO delivers remarks at a DNC event.

9:50 PM
PBObama delivers remarks at a DNC event.
Broadway Theatre

11:05 PM Obama departs New York City, New York en route Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.



Ryan Lizza:

Tonight, President Obama will announce a timetable for withdrawing the “surge” troops sent to Afghanistan that is bolder than many expected. Though the news is slightly surprising, it’s worth noting that Obama’s aides have been arguing for a very long time that the President was serious about the Afghan withdrawal. This past spring, when I was reporting on Obama’s foreign policy, here’s what Ben Rhodes, a deputy national-security adviser, told me about drawing down troops:

We’ve done that in Iraq. And in Afghanistan, we’re going to begin to implement that approach in July. But there shouldn’t be any doubt about that. And anybody who does doubt that should just look at how the President kept his commitment in Iraq. When he says he’s going to steadily draw down U.S. forces, he means what he says.

One of the themes of my piece about Obama’s foreign policy was that the President seemed to be growing in office as he dealt with a series of complicated foreign-policy crises. Two case studies of that growth and confidence are the evolution in his policy on democracy in the Middle East and the evolution of his policy on Afghanistan. On the former, Obama moved from a crabbed realist pose to a more risky but principled embrace of democracy, even at the expense of stability. On Afghanistan, it is a story of Obama growing from a cautious new President, overly deferential to his military advisers, into a commander in chief asserting control over them.



There is, as with the Iraq withdrawal, no triumphalism. But destroying half of al Qaeda’s leadership, including Osama bin Laden, as Americans struggle in a stubbornly sluggish economy, is good enough. The longest war in the history of America will come to an end … in three years’ time. It will have lasted thirteen years. And Obama’s pragmatism – his refusal to embrace either the Full McCain Jacket or the impulse to just get the hell out of there ASAP – has helped him.


For more than 200 years, the United States would not have dreamed of occupying Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires. We intervened in a just cause, and, thanks to Obama’s callibrated resilience and new focus on al Qaeda, and the brilliance and bravery of the armed forces, we have done our job. We can never care more about a country’s future security than the people of that country care about it themselves. That much we have learned. And the core goals of that original impulse have been achieved. The perpetrator of 9/11 is dead, and, more to the point, discredited. And the neoconservative dream of a democratizing Arab world as the only ultimate solution to the threat of Islamism has come true.

Because the United States did not impose it.


Chris Good:

// snip

The president’s delivery was good — crisp, decisive-sounding, not much hesitation or deliberation in his voice. The speech was well rehearsed, which was how Obama probably needed to sound.
But we saw, on Wednesday night, a president clearly pulled in different directions. Obama’s speech was aimed at a domestic audience mostly opposed to the war. We heard promises that the war, really, is going to end. “Afghans are fighting and dying for their country,” Obama told us, speaking to those who may think Americans shouldn’t be fighting and dying for Afghanistan. Most of the explanations for why we’re there, given by Obama tonight, involved the attacks of 9/11. It was, in many ways, an anti-war speech, not justifying a continued, nation-building presence, but justifying Obama’s own foreign policy — advertising a minor drawdown, sometimes echoing the buzzwords of opposition to president George W. Bush’s wars. At the same time, the president advertised progress.

// more


Michael Tomasky:

The president of the United States, whether it’s Barack Obama or George W. Bush or Charlie Sheen, has one chief job here: to make sure that Afghanistan does not fall back under Taliban control. That’s a president’s bottom line, period. Imagine that you are the president and one day—let us say a day during the year when you’re seeking reelection—the headlines blare that the Taliban are back in Kabul, just as they were in 1996. You are in all likelihood finished politically. More importantly, you have arguably exposed your country to further harm. That would be any president’s bottom line, more than a “war-weary” public, more than your electoral base, more than anything. And let’s face it, it’s especially true for a Democrat.

So I cut Obama more slack on this question than a lot of people do. There will be complaints that drawing down 33,000 troops by the end of 2012 means that 66,000—more than when he took office—will remain. Those people complaining aren’t the president.

// more



70 thoughts on ““Obama makes good on his promise…growing from a cautious new President into a commander in chief asserting control over the military”

  1. The last half of PBO’s speech is far more important than talking about a number. I would hope that we would now give that part of the speech the attention it richly deserves.

  2. And leave it to the PL cranks like Rachel Maddow to throw a bitch fit because they didn’t get the detailed military strategy they thought they would be receiving.

    I’m glad I have those here and on Chipstick’s blog that have the stomach to watch that nonsense, so I don’t have to. It’s like Maddow doesn’t possess common sense, common sense in this instance being that we can’t have the rushed withdrawal and withdraw all forces from Afghanistan today.

    POTUS is not following President Bush in “stay the course” and is actually withdrawing forces, yet you have these leftist cranks saying he’s “just like/worse than Bush,” and somehow that POTUS is a warmonger who needs to be primaried with a “peaceful leftist” like Kucinich. Where were they when Kucinich voted FOR Bush’s plan to invade Afghanistan? Not so much a “peaceful leftist” anymore, eh?

    I’m glad that POTUS ignores these cranks and relies on his national security team and intelligence to make these decisions. These cranks on TV couldn’t keep the country safe if they tried, they need to quit wasting everyone’s time undermining POTUS and give the man the support he needs. He’s only been working diligently to clean up the huge pile of shit that President Bush left behind for the past two and a half years, while they were wasting time yelling at him and calling him a right wing Republican DLC corporatist Wall Street warmongering sellout, all based on emotion and not on actual facts.

  3. All said & done, I’m glad that Biden wing won rather than petraeus-gates-hillary wing. Is it enough ? No. More needs to be done ? Yes. Is Obama the person to do it ? Yes.

    The pl poutrage will die by monday. Next shining object and all that.

    Sarks has also announced that french will pull out 4000 and will follow the US timetable. Apparently PBO tweaked his ear over phone

  4. I’m especially pleased by Andrew Sullivan’s piece – I have loved watching his evolution – from a conservative Republican to an awakened Obama supporter – he used to make all sorts of excuses for his former “team” – he finally woke up – I remember the day that he said he was leaving the GOP – he said that he didn’t leave his party – his party left him. What I find interesting is that he really has not become a “blue dog” – he seems to be fairly consistently more to the left than I would have thought. I find that I agree with him more than I would have thought just a few years ago. I especially like his take on the President’s speech.

    To change the subject, our group in Boca Raton has created a theme “The Power of the Button” – we had custom “I’m In” buttons made and are looking to have others made during the campaign cycle – we are looking for great ideas for buttons to promote President Obama for 2012 – Let’s hear ideas please


  5. The last half of PBO’s speech is far more important than talking about a number. I would hope that we would now give that part of the speech the attention it richly deserves.


    Exactly !!! Absolutely !!! The media is not talking about the last half of the speech and neither is the PL.
    All they are talking is numbers. Even Senate and House Democrats are saying they want higher numbers than the President gave…they are not paying attention to what else he said.

  6. It strikes me anew reading the excerpts posted today that the job of President of our country is mindbogglingly difficult. To even think of electing someone because they are cute or fun to have a beer with or that’s says they believe your particular theology or spouts simplistic jingoism that makes one feel riled up is, well, absolutely insane. Thank you everyone who helps support the President we do have, the kind of person one might conceive could do a decent job in this unending and excruciatingly difficult job.

  7. Good morning family. I love to wake up to the sane voices after the Presidents speech. It shows that the media and especially the cable news are amatuers trying to make a name at the cost of this president. Everytime they do it, they make themselves less crediable. Now lets see how many change their tunes.

  8. nintendowii10, very well said. I agree entirely with your excellent post. Good morning BWD and all. I for one will not be listening to those monday morning arm chair low rank generals that are known as the pl and msm.

  9. An interesting gos post.

    “Linguist George Lakoff has written about the use of gendered imagery in presidential politics. His thesis is that Republicans use “Father Morality” and win by “making the Democrat their woman” (metaphorically speaking). The Democrats historically use “Mother Morality”, which loses. (That is life under patriarchy.)

    Obama is positioning himself so that his Republican challenger for 2012 will be running as the dove. That makes the Republican “the woman”, and hoards of “independent” male voters will feel like gender traitors unless they vote for the tough-minded Father Morality war guy — Obama.

    In a contest between appeals to masculinity, and appeals to race, masculinity wins every time. Or at least that is the bet I think Obama is making, and it is a very good bet.”

  10. Maddow too often allows herself to be led astray by those she considers personal heroes and forgets to carefully, smartly and independently consider an issue or policy before she loudly repeats their misguided nonsense. It’s not attractive.

  11. “..his Republican challenger for 2012 will be running as the dove.”

    I’m not familiar with that expression, amk. When I see or hear “dove” used in a sentence like that, I think peace. What does the expression mean in India?

  12. Honestly, 2012 question is much more simple and straightforward IMO: Unemployment numbers. That’s why I don’t pay much attention to other stuff. The only thing I really keep my eyes on is the unemployment. And that is why I’m very worried.

  13. How about a button that says, PROUD OF OBAMA. so many people don’t know about his accomplishments because of all the media noise. This would start some conversations about what he’s done to help Americans.

  14. the democrats has a good messages and we should keep at the front. Republicans are sabotaging the economy we must keep that meme because it is the truth. i am not worried about the economy.

  15. They will get white America back to work and leave AA and others out to dry then try to use that as a wedge to lose support. We are depression level and the President must address that, or he will lose the support. The are really putting the crunch on our community and he must speak up. As a AA i support him whole heartedly but he must let us know that he is going to work on our issues. AA has been very patient and support the president must show he hear us. AA has always been a loyal base to any democrat, but know they have up the anty, messing with voting rights and unemployment, we will fight be he has to show more fight for us.

  16. I believe that is how he means it. Some of the Republican candidates are already saying we need to do more to get out.

  17. Actually, I do. Even though the President’s numbers on handling th economy aren’t great, they still are bttr than th Republican’s. And as the Dems are starting to actually go out there an talk about the Republican’s sabotaging th recovery in order to win, his numbers will get better and theirs will get worse. Plus, I fully expect the number to be down around 7.5-8% by November next year.

  18. Good morning BWD and TOAITR family. I was out till late last night. Have heard the speech yet. Just heard alittle of the PL rants and read comments here and at TOD. Sounds like the President we know and love. I do trust him! I know he knows all that is going on and can make decisions based on real knowledge. Not all the wanna be’s.

    I am off to work. Keep up the great work everyone.

  19. A lot of those complaining that he isn’t withdrawing enough are the same ones that said he wouldn’t withdraw anyone when he first announced the “surge” and said he would START withdrawing in July 2011.
    Let’s look inside the numbers. We basically have said we will be done in 2014, when the oficial NATO mission in Afghanistan ends. So in the first year 1/3 of the troops come hom. Sounds about right to me.
    Sure, I would love for us to get out totally, but I don’t think it is either practical or responsible right now to do that.
    A lot of talk is out there that in one year there will still be more troops than when he took office. Keep in mind, that a lot of those troops had already been set up to go by the former administration, they weren’t all ordered there by President Obama.
    Plus, as has been pointed out by others, a lot of attention is being paid to the numbers but not to the rest of his speech. I don’t think any President since Kennedy, and maybe not even him, have been better at stating what our country is all about and what makes us different than a lot of countries around the world. It isn’t that I wasn’t proud to be an American when Bush was President, but I didn’t feel proud about what we were doing in the world. This President makes me feel proud to be an American and proud of what we, as a country, are attempting to do at home and around the world.

  20. It is my basic nature. But in this case, if the Dems message the Republican strategy properly, they wil be forced to answer it. And they can’t.

  21. That’s true, and I fully expet anothr major draw down next year around the time of the conventions. Obama’s message has always been about doing things responsibly, he he is showing he mean it. This will resonate with independent voters.

  22. I don’t think talibans retaking afghanistan would be considered as ‘horribly wrong’ by americans or even rest of the world. Most will say we did what we could if they want to destroy themselves. The problem will come when they target other countries. Which I don;t think taleban is capable of any more. aq is a different kettle since they’re not afghanistan specific.

  23. I am savoring this time, and happily waving goodbye to neoconservatism. I’m grateful that VPB’s view prevailed, and rather than quagmire, we’re approaching drawdown.

    bwd, I can’t thank you enough for this compilation of incredibly thoughtful opinioon pieces. Compared with where we were 10 years ago, it feels as if this country has turned the page, and I can’t imagine this withdrawal taking place were McCain and Palin in the WH.

  24. The Atlantic’s Michael Cohen had a good article on the address yesterday with the main take away being (prior to announcing the surge 18 months ago-


    Inside the Oval Office, Obama asked Petraeus, “David, tell me now. I want you to be honest with me. You can do this in 18 months?”

    “Sir, I’m confident we can train and hand over to the ANA [Afghan National Army] in that time frame,” Petraeus replied.

    “Good. No problem,” the president said. “If you can’t do the things you say you can in 18 months, then no one is going to suggest we stay, right?”

    “Yes, sir, in agreement,” Petraeus said.



  25. Taliban never targeted other countries as far as I know (Well Pakistan Taliban did I guess, but they’re really ISI). They gave AQ safe haven out of friendship to Bin Laden when they fought the Russians together.

    I do agree that Americans are “over” Afghanistan and nation building there when you can’t trust anybody from Karzai down, and can’t trust the Pakistani’s for anything. Afghanistan is basically still living in the Stone Age, we’re not going to build a 21st Century democracy there, we just have to make sure it doesn’t become Somalia and call it a day.

  26. I don’t think it’s anywhere near a sure thing, but I think President Obama CAN with with 9% unemployment. FDR won reelection with higher unemployment. In this cycle, i think it will be a matter of people trusting Obama more than the Republicans. In just the past few months, a lot of people have seen just how sinister the GOP is on the state level. Nobody likes high unemployment; nobody likes high gas prices, either. But, by 2012, I think either the numbers will be down or people will understand that Obama is doing the best anybody can. He’s kept his word over and over.

    The GOP seems to like paointing out comparisons to GHW Bush–a president with a military victory who loses re-election due to a poor economy. But, Clinton would most likely have lost that election if Ross Perot hadn’t been in there to suck ovtes from Bush. I really doubt we’ll have a thrid party candidate who can pull too many votes from Obama. Most people have wisen up after the Nader spectacle in 2000.

    That’s what I hope for, anyway!

  27. I think the GOP is trying to make Huntsman likeable and quirky because they realize the economy isn’t going to bring President Obama down alone. President Obama’s personal likeability is around 70%, and people are not willing to pin the economy completely on him – especially given the GOP obstruction, the GOP House and the craziness of he GOP Governors who won in 2010.

    Dems need to back off laughing at the Huntsman zaniness and frame him as another mainline Republican with the same extreme ideas.

  28. “They will get white America back to work and leave AA and others out to dry then try to use that as a wedge to lose support.”

    And unfortunately we may play right into their hands and not support the only president in recent memory who IS actually doing things to help us. The bulk of burden falls on the state and local officials to use the stimulus money appropriately as has been allocated to them, and to think long as well as short term strategically regarding employment opportunites.

  29. No, I’m talking about an attack on our soil or a major attack on Pakistan. I know most people won’t care if Afghanistan goes under again but it will have far reaching affects. It won’t remain an isolated problem.

  30. Who is they?

    ” We are depression level and the President must address that, or he will lose the support.”

    Unemployment was high in the AA community before the Great Recession. Nobody care about then. Employment is always higher during a recession in the AA community. In fact it was much higher during the 1980s recession.
    I mean what can the predident do. Do he supppose to make companies hired AA’s? Does he purpose a black jobs plan that most certainly will failed in congress. It definitely get bash for single out one race. People can talk about high unemployment in AA communites but they never said the reasons why.

  31. I wonder if they’ll try and get something “anti-Obama” out of him at his CIA Head confirmation hearings. I can’t trust the guy – just something about him. I hope taking him out of the military element, where he was Boss Hogg and had many, many supporters and into the CIA where it’s a completely different animal and he won’t have all his boys around him might neuter him a bit.

  32. This is important, guys.

    “(Reuters) – Oil fell sharply on Thursday, with North Sea Brent down more than $6 per barrel, after the International Energy Agency said 60 million barrels of oil would be released from strategic stockpiles to help the global economy.

    The announcement comes after OPEC failed to raise production at a meeting on June 8 and despite assurances from OPEC’s biggest producer Saudi Arabia that it would lift supplies unilaterally”…more


    A more in depth article, however, is here:


    There are BIG market moves on this news.

  33. Darn. I forgot about the 2 links = moderation, and this is important

    “(Reuters) – Oil fell sharply on Thursday, with North Sea Brent down more than $6 per barrel, after the International Energy Agency said 60 million barrels of oil would be released from strategic stockpiles to help the global economy.

    The announcement comes after OPEC failed to raise production at a meeting on June 8 and despite assurances from OPEC’s biggest producer Saudi Arabia that it would lift supplies unilaterally”…more


  34. I forgot about this conversation he had with them before the Afgan surge. Thanks for posting the reminder of this conversation. It shows how this man really thinks about the long game.

  35. I wonder how this will translate at the pump. That is all the little guy cares about unfortunately.

  36. I think PBO will win even though unemployment will be in my guess closer to 8%. Ronald Reagan won when unemployment was high too. I think the president has done a lot more for the average person than RR did during his first term. I was just getting out of college and there were no jobs in 1982, interest rates were high, payroll taxes were high, bank failures, etc, and he got re-elected

  37. Doves are usually folks who are anti-war and Hawks are usually pro-war. So if you ever have someone ask you if you are a Hawk or a Dove this is what they are talking about.

  38. The African American unemployement rate does need to be addressed. I think the Democrats take advantage of the black vote sometimes. IMO it seems like some “groups” are getting their needs addressed, hispanics(immigration), gay people(DADT, DOMA), and I feel that a better education system is major thing that will benefit African Americans. However, I have yet to see something “major” happen with the education system, besides Race To The Top.

  39. I wonder if Maddow would like for the GOP to take control of the WH and congress? oh yea LOL.
    She should be cerefull.

  40. So its ok for it to be high, That argument just show what some blacks are beginning to think that the dems is just using us for votes and not addressing our needs. Its has been but it is now in depression levels,along with taking avway government programs that a lot of AA depend on. No matter how you put i know and we know that its not the president fault, this has been happening whenever anyone is in office and the dems the Cbc has not addressed it.

  41. Well, let’s wait and see how people feel next year. We are bailing out of Iraq at a constant pace. Remember this article? http://www.boston.com/news/nation/washington/articles/2011/05/30/dismantling_war_machine_is_final_us_campaign_in_iraq/?page=full If all goes according to that plan (and why wouldn’t it?) then by the end of the year we will be completely out of Iraq, lock stock and barrel. That will have an effect on people’s attitude. I believe that effect will be profound. If the Libya situation is resolved by that time as well, then people will have a lot more tolerance for the conflict in Afghanistan, especially if we’re seeing real progress by next summer. The last thing the Republicans want is for people to realize that our President actually knows what he is doing.

  42. Helping us is getting jobs and i know thats what he wants , but that is no what otheres want.

  43. They are the republicans and dems. I live it everyday and see it in my community. believe me its real whetehr you want to admit it or not.

  44. Apprently it was okay during the other administration, but I guess the first black president got to do something about employment in the black community. Did they do anything about AA employment during the Clinton, Reagan, Bush term in office? No But the current president got to address only AA unemployment. Why he can’t address umeployment for all races. How can AA unemployment be address when you don’t know the reason for it?

  45. How can they address it when they don’t know the reason that it is so high?

  46. Wow BWD. I would think you are more realistic. You seem to be following the PL bullcrap to a tee. If we all had your train of thought there would be no need to continue on supporting President Obama. Have you ever considered the TRUE reason for the numbers remaining high? If we get the truth out that the Rethugs are sobataging the economic recovery then we will be fine. Your blog/site is not as pessimistic as you seem to be. WOW!!!

  47. What are you talking about makesense? If Black America turns their back on PBO then it will set Black America back 5 decades you can believe that. A Teathug in the Whitehouse will gaurantee that most Civil Rights laws established since the Johnson 1960’s will be effectively obolished. AA will be playing with a loaded ooozy if they don’t vote for PBO. INSANITY……………….

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