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President’s Speech 06-22

I usually brush off presidential speeches. They are typically pointless, often full of party talk and overall uneventful. This one, for whatever reason, really got my gourd. The overall tone of this speech was to announce the withdraw of U.S. troops from Afghanistan; a positive note that should not be understated. This speech, along with some good news, was also chock full of misleading quips. Soon after it was over, I found the transcript here. I have taken small sections and commented as I felt necessary.

Our mission will change from combat to support.

I believe we’ve heard this lie before.

Of course, huge challenges remain. This is the beginning — but not the end — of our effort to wind down this war. We will have to do the hard work of keeping the gains that we have made, while we drawdown our forces and transition responsibility for security to the Afghan government. And next May, in Chicago, we will host a summit with our NATO allies and partners to shape the next phase of this transition.

We do know that peace cannot come to a land that has known so much war without a political settlement. So as we strengthen the Afghan government and Security Forces, America will join initiatives that reconcile the Afghan people, including the Taliban. Our position on these talks is clear: they must be led by the Afghan government, and those who want to be a part of a peaceful Afghanistan must break from al Qaeda, abandon violence, and abide by the Afghan Constitution. But, in part because of our military effort, we have reason to believe that progress can be made.

We will have to do the hard work because we are responsible, but when are we going to set definite limits on these “transitions?” Was it not then-Senator Obama and the same Democratic majority who were screaming for President Bush to fully withdraw. Now they sound more like Bush Cabinet members. The Boehner-led conservatives must be ECSTATIC to have a new section of believers. But certainly President Obama doesn’t believe we should continue a policy of being world police.

 Some would have America retreat from our responsibility as an anchor of global security, and embrace an isolation that ignores the very real threats that we face. Others would have America over-extend ourselves, confronting every evil that can be found abroad.

Like generations before, we must embrace America’s singular role in the course of human events. But we must be as pragmatic as we are passionate; as strategic as we are resolute. When threatened, we must respond with force — but when that force can be targeted, we need not deploy large armies overseas. When innocents are being slaughtered and global security endangered, we don’t have to choose between standing idly by or acting on our own. Instead, we must rally international action, which we are doing in Libya, where we do not have a single soldier on the ground, but are supporting allies in protecting the Libyan people and giving them the chance to determine their destiny.

COME ON! Where in the U.S. Constitution, and by what authority have we become the anchor of global security? I believe we ARE over-extended Mr. President. Withdrawing all troops and personnel from Afghanistan, Iraq, and North Korea – as well as all covert operations, is hardly embracing isolation. It’s called minding our own business, which we have been failing at miserably! Mr. President, would you care to guess which country is seen as endangering global security? One hint:  it ain’t found in the Mid-East.

Which brings us to Libya. Sure, perhaps we don’t have a single soldier on the ground, but what about the CIA operatives you sent over? Is this a step toward giving them the chance to determine their destiny? Seems like we are forever doomed to repeat the worst of our historical mistakes.

In all that we do, we must remember that what sets America apart is not solely our power — it is the principles upon which our union was founded. We are a nation that brings our enemies to justice while adhering to the rule of law…

I assume you are not referring to Guantanamo Bay as an example of bringing enemies to justice while adhering to the rule of the law. It’s also becoming more difficult to believe you have any interest in the true intent of our nation’s founding.

We protect our own freedom and prosperity by extending it to others.

Oh, so this is the reason we invade other countries.

We stand not for empire, but for self-determination.

Empire. Check. Self-determination. Check and check. It’s what we do.

That is why we have a stake in the democratic aspirations that are now washing across the Arab World.

That and oil. And I’m not sure I would say it’s washing across the Arab World. A slow drip at best.

Above all, we are a nation whose strength abroad has been anchored in opportunity for our citizens at home.

I can only assume these opportunities you speak of are warmongering and forced participation in tax appropriations, because there is no way you can stand there with a straight face knowing our current unemployment rate and be speaking of actual job opportunities. Those are all overseas.

Yes, there were some positives. We are going to withdraw troops. We are at least looking at ending these atrocities and speaking about taking care of our own citizens. However, we all know the abysmal rift between speech and action in the political realm.

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