Tuesday, December 01, 2009


Liveblogging the President's Afghanistan Speech

I'm a USMA grad - class of 94. I've spent a lot of time in Eisenhower hall. It looks like they covered up the orchestra pit to create the thrust stage. That's my theater geek side showing through.

It's 7:01 CDT, so I'll start my comments here...

7:02 - It really looks like he's got a teleprompter problem.

7:03 - Recalling 9/11. A little history to introduce this as the "right" war.

7:04 - Once again defending Islam. Invoking the Congressional use of force. Also invoked Article V of the NATO treaty.

7:05 - I would guess the shots of cadets are intended to keep him from looking like he's playing teleprompter ping-pong.

7:06 - "Bringing the Iraq War to a responsible end." By the way, cadets don't clap at political points. That single clapper you heard was probably part of the entourage.

7:08 - "a fraction of the troops that were in Iraq" - so he's blaming Bush for not properly resourcing Afghanistan. OK.

7:09 - Objectives: kill Taliban/AQ leaders, have an election. Those aren't strategic objectives.

7:10 - First talk of securing the population.

7:11 - Never had an option in front of him to deploy troops before 2010. But, the longer you wait, the further in the future the deployments have to be made. 18- month deployment. Embrace the suck.

7:13 - I have signed letters, I have read letters, I have visited...stay classy, B.

7:14 - Shinseki, Gates, and Clinton. Shinseki is the king of not lowballing troop levels.

7:15 - Goal: disrupt, defeat AQ and Taliban. And other stuff.

7:16 - Rapid deployment, train Afghans, transfer responsibility, then a miracle happens....poof...world peace!

7:17 - Addressing corruption, addressing agriculture. Why am I thinking that I'm not hearing anything else here. There was only 1 reference to securing the population.

7:18 - He's got a 3rd teleprompter in front of the camera riser.

7:21 - He's addressing Pakistan but not listing many specifics, it seems to me.

7:22 - Dismissing the Afghanistan/Vietnam comparison. 1. Coalition fight, 2. Unpopular insurgency, 3. We were attacked from Afghanistan.

7:24 - He wants the Afghans to have a sense of urgency. Good luck with that. Sit down. Have some chai. We'll get to business sometime next week.

7:25 - "Cannot ignore the price of these wars". He's trying to blame the wars for our inability to recover economically. I don't buy it.

7:28 - Damn you Stephen Green!

7:29 - Another promise to close GTMO.

7:30 - Sounds like the wrap up. Recalling America's past achievements.

7:31 - UN, NATO, and the World Bank in the same breath? Really?

7:32 - Once again, cadets don't clap. You can make them laugh, though.

7:33 - If you're wondering why the cadets look so enthused, they should be doing homework right now. Losing 2 hours of homework time for a guest speaker really disrupts a timeline.

Overall, some tough talk. Not a lot of specifics beyond announcing 30,000 troops and an 18 month timeline. I didn't really hear what his vision was, though. He says our resolve is unwavering....we'll see.

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Hey Steve..this is Steve H your Beast room dog....enjoyed your live blogging.

I'm teaching here in Sys Eng, but the faculty didn't get many seats so I'm following things from home. Cadets are sooo smoked here in Lesson 37 of Fall Semester that I think they saw this as just "another requirement." Most the one's I spoke with today were as cynical as ever about the 1600 formation to move to Ike.

With Courage We Soar!
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