2 May


Louise Annarino

May 2, 2012


Is it just me, or do you also find yourself surprised by talking heads’ commentaries? I often wonder if the commentator just watched the same speech or event I did. Our take-aways are usually quite different. Last night was no exception.


Earlier in the day, I watched president Obama and President Karzai  of Afghanistan sign a long-term strategic partnership agreement, President Obama acknowledging as he did so that there would be “difficult days ahead”; but, “By the end of 2014, the Afghans will be fully responsible for the security of their country.” This month NATO meets in Chicago and is expected to endorse a proposal to support a “strong and sustainable long-term Afghan force” (Obama).


Soon after, the president met with US troops at Bagram Air Force Base and addressed them with compassion and forthrightness. “I know the battle’s not yet over. Some of your buddies are going to get injured and some of your buddies may get killed and there will be heartbreak and pain and difficulty ahead. But there’s light on the horizon because of the sacrifices you’ve made.” He ended, “I could not be prouder to be your commander-in-chief.”


A few hours later, President Obama addressed the nation and the world in a more formal manner. “I will not keep Americans in harm’s way a single day longer than is absolutely required for our national security,” Mr Obama said. “But we must finish the job we started in Afghanistan, and end this war responsibly.” This is nearly identical language to that he used when he announced he would withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. About 23,000 of the 88,000 US troops currently in the country are expected to leave Afghanistan by the summer, with all US and Nato combat troops out by the end of 2014.

The agreement President Obama signed promises Afghanistan an on-going partnership, just as he pledged a strong and enduring partnership with the government in Iraq.

Seemed pretty clear to me that we are positioning ourselves for major troop withdrawl ongoing economic and structural support, continued military monitoring and force intervention to prevent a resurgence of Al Quaeda, as we did in Iraq. Is it a clean end like WWII? No, but we are engaged in different struggle for survival; one calling more for strong policing than for traditional military maneuvers.

Then, the media begins its spin, arguing as Chuck Todd, with his cynical smile, body language of disgust, and obvious prejudice in a truly exceptional Mr. Darcy pose that anyone who believes what the president said is simply “naive”. He and others continue today to insist President Obama’s trip, speech and the signed agreement are merely political. Of course they are political, but there is no merely  about it. When two heads of state and NATO agree after months of negotiation to chart a course for continued partnership and mutual security that is a political act. That is why we HAVE a president, to represent our best interest and negotiate relationships with the rest of the world. TO BE POLITICAL. The reason we televise their speeches and appearances is because we believe in transparency, not because it is an election year, and not because our president is self-serving.

Does Barack Obama hope to be re-elected? Of course. Is he campaigning? Of course. But he is also about our business at home and abroad. The man is simply doing his job; the job a strong majority of us elected him to do. And, he is doing it very well. Those prejudiced against him may find that too much to bear. They would, if they could, deprive those of us who support President Obama of our pride in him.

President Obama will bring our troops home, with a sense of responsibility to Afghans who tolerated our presence on their soil for much longer than they should have had to do so, thanks to president Bush’s inattention to the Afghans. Packaging lies to our congress and to us citizens, President Bush opened a second front in Iraq and abandoned the effort to find and kill Osama bin Laden. He asserted, as Mitt Romney asserted, that getting one man was not all that important. It is estimated President Obama has eliminated 30 of the 40 leaders of Al Quaeda , and we can expect that effort to continue. President Obama understands that simply eliminating the leadership is not enough, we must also offer respectful support and partnership to a country mired in such poverty, hopelessness, and shame that its anger leads to re-emergence of such leaders.

President Obama will bring our troops home, with a sense of responsibility to our troops and to their families. He and Mrs. Obama are leading efforts to assure they receive health care, education benefits, consumer protection, and to prevent the plight of homelessness. This is not a cynical, but a loving president. He is proud to be our commander-in-chief and we should be proud of him.



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