In Afghanistan Remarks, Obama Offers a Campaign Speech Not a War Update or National Security Strategy
Americans can be forgiven for wondering what exactly was offered up by their president as he announced his timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan Wednesday night. Quite naturally they would anticipate an update on progress made in the year and a half since he announced deployment of the surge – albeit half of the forces requested by his battlefield commander.
On that count, President Obama delivered as expected, reporting success and announcing the withdrawal of surge forces over the next year. That 30-second bit of information could have capably been delivered from the White House press podium or in a brief televised update from the Oval Office (which this president — unlike all recent predecessors — oddly seems to avoid).
Instead, the president chose to use the East Room of the White House to offer a fairly simple campaign speech, not a war update or national security strategy.
The construct is fairly straight forward – cite 9/11 post-trauma unity, blame Bush for breaking the country and the world, favorably review previously announced policy, minimize threats to America abroad, and refocus on revolution at home.
Obama cannot be blamed for misleading America. His call tonight to “wind down this war” and “focus on nation building here at home” comes straight out of the 2008 campaign. This is what you should expect when a community organizer is commander in chief.