Saturday, February 28, 2009

Obama's Iraq Withdrawal Speech

President Obama is the greatest political speaker I've ever heard, and that includes J.F.K., whom I happen to be old enough to have heard live, and of course many times since his assassination. I found the following comments about the troops both sincere and satisfying. What do you think? Are these comments adequate? Are they sincere?
I also want to acknowledge all of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. That includes the Camp Lejeune Marines now serving with - or soon joining - the Second Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq; those with Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force in Afghanistan; and those among the 8,000 Marines who are preparing to deploy to Afghanistan. We have you in our prayers. We pay tribute to your service. We thank you and your families for all that you do for America. And I want all of you to know that there is no higher honor or greater responsibility than serving as your Commander-in-Chief.

One of the impressions I had during the campaign was that he is sincere, at least more than your typical politician. I have had some doubts since his taking office, but I'm still holding onto hope. Whenever a politician speaks like this, naming hard dates and clear goals, he leaves himself dangerously open to failure and criticism. It's bold. If his intentions are not sincere, then saying things like this would be nothing short of foolhardy. What do you think?
As a candidate for President, I made clear my support for a timeline of 16 months to carry out this drawdown, while pledging to consult closely with our military commanders upon taking office to ensure that we preserve the gains we’ve made and protect our troops. Those consultations are now complete, and I have chosen a timeline that will remove our combat brigades over the next 18 months.

Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.

After those comments he went on to talk about the "transition period" and our being "advisors" in Iraq. I thought, "Oh, brother, here we go again." But, the President went on to make it right. He continued with these remarks.
Through this period of transition, we will carry out further redeployments. And under the Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqi government, I intend to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011. We will complete this transition to Iraqi responsibility, and we will bring our troops home with the honor that they have earned.

He told the troops they would receive a pay raise, earning an explosion of cheers and applause from the Marines in attendance. He went on to describe the heroic deaths of two young Marines who died to protect their comrades. The crowd was hushed, tears welling up. Overall, it was one of his best speeches. What's your opinion? Did you think he was sincere to name dates like that, or foolish? What was your overall impression?


  1. Obama is the leader of the democratic party and has a responsibility to satisfy a domestic audience with statements like he made on Friday. Mid term elections will be here before you know it, so yes he had to announce a date for Iraq combat operations to end and no it was no foolish. It is more foolish to believe what he says though.
    The era of great leaders like Lincoln and Roosevelt are over with the age of the television. With the use of telepromters displaying the words written by his speech writers, Obama is a great politician. He is however not a great leader as he has shown with nominating two former defense industry lobbyists to have the second and third highest jobs there. In addition to this mistake, under his leadership he has failed to address the future of America with only asking for 5 billion dollars for high speed in the proposed budget, while spending tens of billions of dollars on future weapon systems America will not need.As I said in my posting yesterday, the economy is more important than the military. The head of US intelligence even said it in testimony before congress.
    The SOFA agreement between Iraq and the US will allow military forces to remain in Iraq on large city like military bases. Anyone who thinks the military is leaving Iraq in the next 30 years is mistaken. The US will be there until the oil runs out or America can no longer fund the military bases there due to bankruptcy. The key phrase that highlights this are the words: our combat mission in Iraq will end.This does not include the thousands of support troops, corporations like DynCorp and Halliburton, and thousands of military contractors supporting an overstretched military.

  2. President Obama is the greatest political speaker I've ever heard He is obviously raised a bit higher in comparison to the boob who proceeded him.

    It is interesting that, on this subject of troop withdrawal, he seemingly cannot please those folks who dwell on the fringes of the political spectrum. But then, he never will and America is best governed from the middle, where most of the citizens live.

  3. I'm pleased with the withdrawal.

    As for speeches, they're all just window dressing.

    I judge both Obama and Bush and everybody else on their actions, not their words.

    Talk is cheap.

  4. He told the troops they would receive a pay raise, earning an explosion of cheers and applause from the Marines in attendance.

    there are times when reading Gibbon only makes you more worried about the state and future of your country. how many of the later Roman emperors did the same thing, to the same effect? will we ever have to worry that our presidents might find themselves forced to increase the donatives of their legions, like those emperors did?

  5. I think the pay raises are more in line with an attempt to give the military a realistic wage for the task they are expected. If you are going to have an armed force that relies on recruitment and not a draft, then they must be paid a realistic wage, or you have to scrape the dregs of society to fill out the ranks and lower standards which is what has been going on for too long. Look at the attempts by the former administration to cut the bottom line on military benefits and health services.

    This is not an example of drifting into a late Roman empire collapse scenario, though, for a lot of desparate conservative drama queens, we are on the brink of immenent chaos. Bill O'Reilly is now projecting the total collapse of social order and our cities being controlled by armed biker gangs out of his Mel Gibson fantasies.

    If you want to find a historical model to be depressed about regarding the state of our military, perhaps you should look more to recent times, when a rich citizen could buy his way out of service by providing someone to take his place. We do not have a draft now, but for the most part, the body of the armed forces are from the poor and lower middle class.

    The rich do not and will not fight except in families that have a military heritage and they are fast tracked to officership.

    The Armed forces have always a been a caste system.

  6. give the troops a pay raise?....... yeah sure, I believe him.

  7. Il Principe said, "The key phrase that highlights this are the words: our combat mission in Iraq will end."

    He went on to say, "I intend to remove all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011." Do you think he's still hedging and planning on keeping "advisors" there even after that? You're predicting another Viet Nam, are you?

  8. Mike W. said,"give the troops a pay raise?....... yeah sure, I believe him."

    Are you suggesting that he won't or that he'll authorize an insignificant one?

  9. I am predicting and will be vindicated during the time of the 2012 elections there will still be about 50,000 US troops in Iraq. In addition to those troops, there will be about 30,000 military contractors working in Iraq and the Emerald City. I am not predicting another Vietnam, I am predicting another Korea, Germany, and Okinawa Japan. Once a military outpost is created, it will be there for decades. I am basing this conclusion on the actions of the USA during the last 6 decades.

  10. "I am basing this conclusion on the actions of the USA during the last 6 decades."

    Imagine that, basing future conclusions on the lessons of history. Inconceivable!