From The Associated Press: The Text Of Obama’s Afghanistan Speech, December 1st, 2009

Full speech here.

Worth a careful read.  Here’s what’s likely the main reason Obama’s sending more troops:

“I make this decision because I am convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is the epicenter of the violent extremism practiced by al-Qaida. It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11, and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak.”


“We must deny al-Qaida a safe-haven. We must reverse the Taliban’s momentum and deny it the ability to overthrow the government. And we must strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan’s security forces and government, so that they can take lead responsibility for Afghanistan’s future.”

He outlines why, and also discusses Pakistan and the bigger picture, including false analogies with Vietnam (though there are still lessons to learn).  It strikes me as a good speech.   Obama is able to focus on the need to prevent extreme and violent followers of Al-Qaeda from plotting and planning attacks on Western targets from within Afghanistan and parts of Pakistan.

However, we are still stuck with what is likely endemic corruption, a land of tribes united by Islam (and an extreme version of Islam that’s gained power in the wake of Russian and foreign occupation) extreme poverty and a war-torn infrastructure.   We are in a hostile region with few good options and it’s reasonable to worry about getting in deeper.

Hopefully, we can stay aware of what’s at stake and what can go wrong going forward.  There doesn’t appear to be a clear end in sight.

Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

Related On This Site:  From Bloomberg: More Troops To Afghanistan? A Memo From Henry Kissinger To Gerald Ford?From The NY Times Video: ‘A Schoolgirl’s Odyssey’From The WSJ: Graham, Lieberman and McCain “Only Decisive Force Can Prevail In AfghanistanFrom Commonweal: Andrew Bacevich “The War We Can’t Win: Afghanistan And The Limits Of American Power”

See Also:  Philip Bobbitt Discusses His Book ‘Terror And Consent’ On Bloggingheads

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