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December 01, 2009

Speech Thoughts - UPDATED
Posted by Michael Cohen

Perhaps not surprisingly, I had a somewhat different view of the President's speech than my blogmates here at Democracy Arsenal.  Just a few scattered thoughts below:

  • The back third of the speech was lovely and a wonderful description of what a progressive foreign policy might look like. But only a speaker as rhetorically gifted as President Obama could use an escalation of troop levels in Afghanistan as a time to call for a more modest and restrained foreign policy!
  • Where was the beef? Nothing on benchmarks, no explanation of what conditions on the ground would cause a delay in transfer of authority to the Afghan government, no clear sense of the Administration's expectations of the Karzai government. The American people deserved more specifics than they got - and less scare tactics.
  • The war on terror is back! I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that the President raised the specter of al Qaeda and 9/11 repeatedly, but it was unseemly and even crass. I thought we were going to de-emphasize the threat of al Qaeda terrorism in an Obama Administration.
  • Along those lines, I can't believe Obama conflated the Pakistan Taliban with the Afghan Taliban even though the former is at war with the Pakistani government and the latter is a recipient of its protection.
  • I note with great irony that he didn't use the word counter-insurgency once . .  or counter-terrorism
  • In the end, big on platitudes, short on substance. I can't say I walked away with a clear sense of what the strategy is for Afghanistan and whether the President even endorses the McChrystal review. Didn't we go through this exact situation 8 months ago? But again this is the public launch; hopefully more details will be forthcoming for Congress this week.

UPDATED: Here are a few additional thoughts over at AOL News


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Very informative post.Thanks for sharing updated thoughts with us.Your post made me to think on some of the issues.

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