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  • Morning Bell: It's Time for Reality, Not Deadlines, in Iraq and Afghanistan

    Tonight President Barack Obama will deliver a prime-time Oval Office address on Iraq. Acting as President of the United States, the leader of a country, not a movement, tonight would be a perfect time for Obama to give due credit to those commanders who made the current progress in Iraq possible. He should thank General Ray Odierno, who implemented the counterinsurgency strategy that led to the dramatic decrease in violence in Iraq, General David Petraeus, who oversaw all coalition forces in Iraq during the surge, and President George W. Bush, who had the courage to explain the new strategy to the American people at a time when it was extremely unpopular to do so.

    Unfortunately, if the Weekly Address President Obama delivered from his rented vacation home on Martha’s Vineyard is any indication, none of that will happen. Instead of uniting the country behind our effort in Iraq, this is how President Obama chose to open his remarks: “As a candidate for this office, I pledged I would end this war. As President, that is what I am doing. We have brought home more than 90,000 troops since I took office.” The President’s love affair with first person singular pronouns aside, this is just plain false. Throughout the campaign, candidate Obama promised the progressive movement that he would “immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq,” specifically calling for the removal of “one to two combat brigades each month.”

    Fortunately, when Obama finally took the oath of office, he did not “rely on some plan that he’s crafted as a presidential candidate or a U.S. Senator,” as his former adviser Samantha Power predicted. Instead, he adopted a less ambitious 19-month drawdown that promised combat would “end” by August 2010. In truth, the Administration’s self-imposed “end of combat” is a semantic distinction that does not adequately reflect the situation on the ground. Hostile Iraqi and foreign forces in Iraq have not ended their attacks on allied forces.

    On August 12, Iraq’s top military leader, General Babaker Zebari, warned that Iraqi security forces will not be able to fully secure their own country until 2020. “If I were asked about the withdrawal,” he said, “I would say to politicians: The U.S. Army must stay until the Iraq Army is fully ready in 2020.” The President should acknowledge this need for continued military assistance, signal that the U.S. remains firmly engaged as a dependable ally, and dispel the growing perception that Washington is intent on a quick exit regardless of the dangerous consequences of such a gamble.

    Instead of sending these calming signals, President Obama seems intent on giving sustenance to our enemies by sticking to arbitrary and unrealistic political deadlines. For Iraq, Obama again made clear on Saturday that he plans to remove all troops by the end of 2011. And in Afghanistan, President Obama still maintains that he will begin drawing down forces by July 2011. One would hope that the Obama administration would have learned from its abject failure to close Guantanamo Bay that arbitrary political deadlines are a fool’s errand.

    As a candidate, Barack Obama could afford to indulge in irresponsible rhetoric about “ending” the war in Iraq without regard for the disastrous consequences of losing that war. But as President, Obama should act decisively as the nation’s commander-in-chief and protect vital American interests by successfully finishing the jobs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Quick Hits:

    • According to CBO numbers published this month, the cost of Operation Iraqi Freedom was $709 billion, while the projected cost of the stimulus is $862 billion.
    • The Justice Department has filed another lawsuit against Arizona, this time claiming that community colleges acted illegally in requiring noncitizens to provide green cards before they could be hired.
    • Acknowledging that majorities still oppose Obamacare, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius promised “a lot of reeducation” for the American people heading into the midterms.
    • Education Secretary Arne Duncan urged government employees to attend a rally held by Rev. Al Sharpton last Saturday.
    • According to the Washington Examiner President Obama and Democrats got 88 percent of contributions by TV network execs, writers and reporters in 2008.
    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    36 Responses to Morning Bell: It's Time for Reality, Not Deadlines, in Iraq and Afghanistan

    1. Walter R. Dixon says:

      Well whatever he says is not to be believed for a minute.

    2. Frank Morgan, Newhal says:

      This WWII Marine and retired Systems Scientist (Lockheed 1958-1987) is very pleased with your excellent analysis and recommendations directed to improving our collective will.consistent with our constitution

    3. Blair Franconia, NH says:

      The Taliban said that all they have to do is wait us out. We're leaving in July 2011 and

      they know it. Haven't we seen this bad movie before?

    4. MJF, CT says:

      Mr. Obama has proved time and time again that he is a complete idiot when it comes to the REAL issues of State. All he will ever be is a 2nd rate community agitator.

    5. Ken Jarvis - Las Veg says:

      It takes a LOT of GUTS

      for HF to write about "REALITY"

      This is PROOF THAT HF

      HAS A LOT OF GUTS.

      Love? NO.

      Compassion? NO

      Understanding? NO.

      HATE – YES – GOT IT BY THE TON.

      LVKen7@Gmail.com

    6. Christopher Popham S says:

      Gosh! After draining our treasury into Iraq and Afghanistan and after watching the

      flag-draped coffins being delivered to loved ones, our 'leaders' still talk of success

      in these God-forsaken middle eastern countries. It will never happen.

      Are Americans really paying attention, or are they jut too distracted with the daily

      grind of job, family, soccer games and so much more.

      I spoke with two 'independents' yesterday, who do not watch much news.

      They were not even aware of the deaths of 18 of our troops in Afghanistan in the

      past few days. They knew nothing of the first lady's extravagant vacation to Spain

      and the cost to the taxpayer, and like most of us, just tune out whenever there is

      empty rhetoric spewing out of Washington.

      What's going on here? Why are people so dismissive and in denial?

      Are there so few of us, who actually pay attention to what is going on?

      I fear for the Constitutional sanctity of the United States. I fear for our economy and

      the dangerous direction in which Congress and the Administration appear to be

      taking us. Are you paying attention? Do you care?

      Good luck, America.

    7. Lowell E. McCoy, 112 says:

      Obama was not prepared to be president of the United States and he has not learned anything on the job. He does not have the good of our country at heart, nor the right attitude toward our Constitution, very contrary to what he claims. He is a wolf in sheep's clothing!

    8. Stan W., Washington, says:

      What remains to be seen is this. If BO sends US combat troops back into Iraq—-it now becomes HIS war. No GWB to blame it on, just good old "I did it". Also, it can go down as another presidental blunder. Furthermore, we are increasing troop strength in Afghanistan; so, we're far from done completely.

    9. william Rodgers, ala says:

      Looka like Obama went to the new progressive school. Where I went thw word LEADER didn't have an I in it.

    10. Dr. Joseph Foster/ F says:

      I,I,I,… The Democratic Party and the President in particular was ready to withdraw and run for home. What was the motivation for the strategy then and the strategy now. We must assess the strategy in terms of the last year and a half of apologies and speeches where the President has characterized the US as a nation needing forgiveness for its behavior on the international stage. Is our presence in the middle east a matter of economy or civil duty based on our judeo-christian beliefs that "all men are created equal;… endowed by their creator with certain unalienable Rights,… Life,Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." Probably both but it is clear that our presence is slowing changing the lives of millions of people. The President's message today sends a strong message to those who would do us hard and re-enslave those we have spent our effort to free. We no longer have the stomach for this and if they can just hold out for a couple more months after almost a decade of war; they win. Make no mistake; Iraq is not free of even internal danger much less those outside that would reinstate a theocracy. There is reason to believe that the President and Democratic party want to teach the military a lesson. The fight is simply not worth fighting. How sad! He is turning victory into another Southeast Asia Conflict.

    11. Eunice Logan, Kentuc says:

      The combination of doubling down on ROE and continuing the "deadline" talk is giving the Taliban encouragement. The violence is escalating. My USMC son is over there (Afghanistan), just taken out of combat after having his truck blown out from under him the maximum number of times allowed.

      People ask us about how to substantively support the military. My answer as a Marine Corps mom is "VOTE CONSERVATIVE!" When our son called home yesterday, he had been through an explosion and a machine gun battle. What was on his mind? Besides the fact that he was being forced to leave his buddies behind, he wanted to know how the political battles were going here at home. He knows his country is being stolen out from under him and the rest of our fighting forces while they are overseas. They are left completely defenseless in this regard, uncertain that their ballots will even be counted properly. They are coming home to joblessness and central planning. They need HOME to come home to, not a foreign entity.

      If you are not involved in working for a conservative candidate, get out there and get busy. If you have not donated to a conservative candidate, give them something, even if it's only a quarter. We need all hands on deck. We owe it to our kids, our grandkids, and yes,to ourselves to do the BEST we can to stop the current lunacy.

      Thank you very much for letting me vent. I needed that!!!!

    12. Southern Girl, MS says:

      Mr. Jarvis, why do you read HF if you HATE it so much. Seems you're the one with the hatred. Just because conservatives disagree with the President and current administration does not prove hatred nor racism as so many people love to proclaim. Quit using the hate and racist cards – it is getting very tiresome!!

      As for the article, they are right on!

    13. ThomNJ says:

      Not sure what Ken Jarvis meant in the latter part of his statement….

      Anyway, Iran must be ecstatic.

    14. Norm Klevens says:

      The departure of troops whose assignment is solely combat does not mean all troops with combat training have departed. And the Status of Forces Agreement calling for the 08-31-10 withdrawal was signed by GWB. The military, led by General Patreus defeated the enemy and Ambassador Crockett was successful at diplomacy that paved the way. Now Iraq has not formed a government after their most recent election. Where is Hillary and George Mitchel to guide and push toward the formation ? A W O L. If Iraqis cannot accomplish this the country will collapse and be taken over by Iran. And the efforts of men and women who gave their lives and those who will live their lives with prosthetic limbs will be for not. The so called Commander in Chief, who, along with his political party told the enemy in Iraq for years that America should abandon the field and retreat caused the prolonging of that battle, will sit in the white house telling us, he won. This man child is in the oval office, at least partly because America fought in Iraq because of the way the Obama media portrayed that battle. What a travesty I, for one will not be watching. [How's that for compassion ?]

    15. Louis, Texas says:

      I wonder which created more jobs… Operation Iraqi Freedom or the democrats' stimulus package. I'm betting it wasn't the stimulus.

    16. 2dokie oklahoma says:

      God have mercy on all those left to help the Iraqis expand the stability in their society. This experience only reinforces the idea that every presidential candidate should be required to have military service experience. Otherwise, there's a terrible experiencial gap in the individuals' ability to make wise, rational decisions affecting the lives of our preciose youth. Otherwise, we're forced to conclude that the President holds politics more valuable than lives.I hope not

    17. Timpclimber Provo, U says:

      The Iraq war was a bloody, financial mistake. True, Sadam was a repressive, murdering dictator but then the majority of the leaders in the middle east past and present have been that way. Sadly iraq will probably follow the path of Vietnam. And thinking we can build a unified nation out of Afghanistan? We are living in fantasy land. To paraphrase MacArthur, Only fools try to fight a land war in that area.

    18. Judith in Michigan says:

      Mr O & Co will never admit to making an error in judgement, or any error, for that matter. They will never praise someone else either. Nor will they acknowledge a "Reality" that doesn't feed their self-aggrandizment. It just doesn't exist. Those kind of actions are not in the lexicon of Narcissism.

      We can implore this administration to use better judgement and common sense, but that is a futile exercise. So, in the final analysis, with this kind of mentality in Washington, The United States of America will be the biggest loser of all.

    19. John Arizona says:

      Our President, the king of community organizers as our Commander in Chief. What in the world were the people who elected him thinking? It must be the Democrat thinking: "Let's elect two incompetents and see what happens" – BH Obama and Al Franken. What a disaster the Democrats are making of this country!!

    20. toledofan says:

      I guess for all of us it's really hard to predict the future, but, we know, from past exoperience, everytime you show you hand and let the bad guys know your plan, disasters usually happen. I hope, in this case, it doesn't, but, the odds aren't in our favor. I don't think the Administration and some in the Democratic Party have any idea of what's at stake or what the consequences of withdrawing too fast will be. But, I guess because this was G. Bushs' warm what the heck, right, so what if we leave. I think with a strong presence and a determination to do whatever it takes to keep Iraq free would have made some difference in Iran. I think that they knew we were going to slim down and, basically, used that to thumb their noses and continue with the reactor. History will show that Obama made some big mistakes and we will pay dearly over time.

    21. dENNIS gEORGIA says:

      It will never happen, nom praise for the Generals, the troops on the ground, the citizens if Iraq, and most defenitely not for PRESIDENT BUSH. This whole speach will be covered in the words "I", which he is already famous for. There will be no mention of the surge under MR> BUSH, no mention of those that paid with their lives, nor the wounded. I may be suprised if he does mention those that fouight, died and suffered, but if it does happen it will only be "lip service", in order to get political points.

      This country is in sad shape, we do not have a leader, just someone that is good at organizing for the radicals of this country and the dems. WE MUST VOTE IN NOVEMBER!!!!

    22. Dennis, Texas says:

      I won't be watching, he literally makes me sick.

    23. KC - New Mexico says:

      What an idea! For Obama to give due credit to those commanders, including President George W. Bush, would require leadership on his behalf. Giving credit to the Generals and the President who made the current progress in Iraq possible is doubtful. Obama is too much of an “I” person and only wants to take all the credit. Too bad for those that were wounded or those who died in this unfortunate so called “war”. I wonder if Obama will thank them. At lease President Bush had the guts to do something instead of bowing to our enemies. Obama is just not a leader that America needs – nationally or internationally.

    24. Bill Dana NC says:

      It seems my son getting blown up three times, once in Iraq and twice in Afghanistan, and all the brave troops who lost their lives doesn't seem to mean a thing to this so called president of ours.

    25. Ted Stein says:

      Your argument reminds me of the mosque argument. Should we allow two blocks, twelve blocks? How many years ago would we have accepted an exit by 2011, two, three, the day we invaded? I fully understand the argument on both sides. If we don't establish a timeframe, we will be there indefinitely.

    26. Newsprism says:

      Like Bush, Obama needs to maintain a balance. On the one hand, he needs to keep the enemy aware of our resolve to complete the mission. On the other, he needs to keep our allied government aware that we're not their permanent security force. It's a difficult balance that requires a subtle mix of military might and diplomacy. The "deadline" can't be firm, but it can't be so fuzzy that al Maliki or Karzai can take advantage of our patience and good intentions.

      Carping and demonizing don't help at all, btw. Bush deserves credit for going against popular opinion with the surge in Iraq; Obama deserves credit for maintaining continuity with most of Bush's policies. Neither Bush nor Obama is stupid or weak. http://www.newsprism.com

    27. Jill Maine says:

      BHO does not value America, Americans, liberty and freedom, the Constitution etc. I see disaster ahead thanks to this moron of a President.

    28. Pingback: It’s time for reality, not deadlines, in Iraq and Afthanistan

    29. Ron, Cole Camp says:

      He says the same tripe over and over.

    30. g_ma toledo says:

      Our commander in chief is not BO, it is our Lord Jesus Christ, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He controls history. He put BO in office as a warning to us that we forgot our first Love,God,and He is standing at the door knocking.We are close to 3rd. cycle of discipline(Leviticus 26).Wake up sleepers! When the pivot of believers go so does the nation

    31. Gary Alaska/Nevada says:

      Just more lying nonsense from Obama. All they've done is change the name of the units. They still have weapons, and are now just targets, more Americans will die for nothing in Irag.

      Fourteen Americans have DIED in Afghanistan, in the last couple of days, for NOTHING, zero, zip. Our troops need to be home to protect our Constitution.

    32. Norm Klevens says:

      Anyone who says a timeline is a good thing in a war ought to take a bus somewhere. One does not tell the enemy when you are going to leave the field to them. The fine people who wrote about their sons who volunteered deserve more than politicking and a desire to get reelected. It has nothing to do with understanding one side or the other in some argument. It has to do with VICTORY, something this president heretofore didn't want to discuss and yet he send fine young men and women to fight. And here's an alert for you; the USA rebuilt Japan and Germany after we defeated those who attacked us and we are still there as well as South Korea. A timeline is good for a construction project or an airplane trip; not war.

    33. Richard L. Turner Pe says:

      Conn Carroll would make an excellent top advisor in an enlightened conservative administration. It is ironic that he displays so much more common sense than the Obama admin.

    34. Drew Page, IL says:

      Mr. Jarvis, it seems that you may be in need of a bran muffin or two before responding to the articles here on the HF post.

    35. Ron Hert, California says:

      With all of the stacks of proof that Obama is a Muslim and is a sympathiser to their agenda-as well as expressing his allegiance to Islam, why is there any surprise or unexpected thought on what Obama will say? Based on what Obama has done for the past year-Obstruction of Justice for Muslim investigations, even getting them out of jail and sent back to Libya. Dropping charges against the bombers-USS Cole, and many other examples of support for our enemies. When the newly elected Conservative Senators take over the Senate, hopefully one of the many issues to clear-will be the Impeachment of the Muslim-Traitor-Obama. Also, we may have to impeach Federal judges as well. I pity this nation if the election is stolen in the courts by the Democrats and Obama. I pray for peace, but peace never comes free and easy.

    36. Jasa Bulliner/Illino says:

      Obama is a great president, however he was bombarded by previous mess ups from the previos presidents? Many people can not accept the fact he is an african american, so that explains many of the hostile comments. Bush is the one who started this war, and left the next president a mess to clean up! Honestly, McClain could not have done a better job!!!!! Obama is great and is tripping to only please the American country; consequently, their are billiions of people and one single man running our country? Doesn't, quite had up right? Okay so let's not act out of character because everything isn't going according to his plans; he is trying the best he can. Give the man a chance. BTW i am a senior in highschool! I pay very close attention to how the country is being ran and what Obama takes blame for, even though he didn't contribute to the previous preisdents fuck ups.

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