Reaction to Obama speech on Afghanistan

I think Obama did a good job, especially for a Democrat, on a major military speech. Democrats enter this territory with certain disadvantages. That’s why, I think, that Obama did a great job of using the pomp and circumstance of office, as Bush and other Republicans always do, to lend an air of dignity to the evening. Having it at West Point, in front of cadets, and all. As for substance, the speech was long, and probably intentionally so. Democrats are often seen as weak on defense, and a short speech would have been criticized as “thin,” and an indication that Obama didn’t know what he was doing (playing into the Republicans’ “dithering” argument). I think Obama wanted a long speech, around 35 minutes total, so show that he’s in command of the details, and thus the situation.

As for the details, again, I hate long speeches. But I thought the president did a good job of reaching out to Democrats who might be worried about his plans, and to Americans in general who simply aren’t sure it’s any longer worth it. He acknowledged the financial costs. He acknowledged that Bush’s intervention in Iraq took America’s eyes, and resources, away from the ball in Afghanistan.

In the end, I don’t think the speech really changes anything, as Chris Matthews just said on TV, the right is still going to hate him, and the left is still going to be ticked that we’re sending more troops. And the proof, in the end, will be whether things turn around in Afghanistan, or whether the next three years are a continuation of the bad news from a country that’s costing us good soldiers and good money.

Did anybody watch it, what did you think? Did it change your mind? Do you think it was a good speech, did he do what he needed to do?

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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