It was a bravura performance.
It would be strange if I had not liked this speech. The policies involved are ones that I have advocated for years.
In straightforward, statesmanlike, dare I say soldierly, fashion, he laid it all out:
– Major combat forces out of Iraq in 2010.
– ALL forces out of Iraq by the end of 2011 (no bases)
– A regional approach to serious diplomacy
– Outreach to Iran and Syria
– A reasoned study of what the US should do about Afghanistan and Pakistan. (not completed yet)
– Congratulation to the armed forces for duty faithfully and successfully performed.
His words could not have been clearer, and the 2011 date was completely unequivocal. After that date it is up to the Iraqis.
No sooner had President Obama stopped speaking than the geeks and freaks assembled by MSNBC began to tell us that the plain sense of his words did not mean anything at all.
Before the president spoke, the same crew claimed that "the generals" would insist on a renegotiation (repudiation) of the recent US/Iraqi agreement on withdrawal. This was and is patent nonsense. The Iraqis played hardball with the United States last year over this agreement and got pretty much all they wanted. What possible reason could they have now for agreeing to "renegotiate" anything with us? They understandably want us out of THEIR country. There are still many here who can not believe that we have not acquired Iraq as a neocolonial possession, a "jewel in the crown of empire." Many of the media people are either challenged with regard to "the vision thing" or unable to deal with the idea of a selfless effort. Perhaps they should have made careers in finance.
The marines understood Obama. They did not applaud when he entered the room. They stood, of course, but they did not applaud. By the time he was finished they were with him 100%. Barry McCaffery (the sane man among the G&F crowd) said that Obama had spoken perfectly to a military audience, especially to combat people. I understand that. For such as they, things do "go bump in the night." McCaffery also said that his eyes filled with tears at several points. McCaffery is a hard man.
Mine too, general, mine too. pl