On air: Did President Obama convince you?

We knew the figures yesterday. Now, after the speech, we know the reasoning, the strategy and the endgame. Are you impressed? Are you persuaded? And can it establish a democratic and stable Afghanistan, while keeping America and Afghan public opinion on board?

Reactions are mixed, many like Peter Feaver believe Obama’s decision is a brave one, the The Washington Post  said Obama’s decision was the  right one. Others picked up on his reference of Afghanistan not being Vietnam, and this blogger thinks the time table is crazy.

In Pakistan Shireen M Mazari a columnist for the Nation says: “we are always the popular whipping boy of the US when it needs to cover its own failures. That is why Obama is issuing threats to Pakistan while holding out carrots that are unattractive when weighed against the costs to be incurred in getting to the dangling carrots!”

So how realistic is Barack Obama’s strategy? and will the mention of a pull out date strengthen the Taliban  like many Afghans told us yesterday on WHYS?

97 Responses to “On air: Did President Obama convince you?”

  1. December 2, 2009 at 12:12

    When you are in a hole, don’t dig. Obama has just dug himself deeper into a hole. According to the British Chief of Army Staff, Sir Jock Stirrup, there are no Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. The Taliban has no history of attacking any foreign country. Yes, they allowed Al Qaeda to train in Afghanistan before 9-11. So, destroying the training camps there was the right thing to do, although the 9-11 terrorists got their training in Germany and the US, besides not one of them was a Taliban, let alone an Afghan. The Taliban has always been a local, fundamentalist organization interested in their local matters. Now, thanks to America and its allies, the Taliban is launching revenge attacks in Pakistan. Pakistan’s own destiny is to establish a full fledged Islamic state with Sharia law. No power on earth can thwart this.

    The Afghan society must be allowed to evolve and develop at its own pace; you cannot impose any form of social change on it with brute military force. You can train their Police and Military forces to do your bidding, but they will fall apart under pressure of the masses as soon as the foreign troops withdraw.

    Democracy is a western concept that evolved over several centuries. It is repugnant to Islam because an elected body that makes laws usurps Allah’s powers as the SOLE LAW-MAKER. Allah’s law as contained in the Quran and the Hadiths can only be interpreted and enforced by religious men, not elected members of a government. So this is seen by every true Muslim as a scheme by the infidel to wipe out Islam. DOES THE WEST UNDERSTAND THIS?

    Obama and his associates should find a face saving device to get out of this hole as fast as possible.

    • 2 Tom K in Mpls
      December 2, 2009 at 17:28

      The Taliban are active in Pakistan to support the ISS in their play for power to preserve the ‘old ways’. They have existed in Pakistan since the Pakistan started using them as a ‘covert’ force.

  2. 3 Nigel
    December 2, 2009 at 12:34

    You can stop Taliban from shooting but you cannot stop them from wanting their country to be free of Christian occupation. That need is not going to go away and at some time they will rise up again and the whole nasty cycle will start itself all over again. Our old people have a saying that “time is longer than twine”.

  3. 4 Chintan in Houston
    December 2, 2009 at 12:39

    18 months is too short a duration to make a difference. By the time all the armed forces arrive, get familiar with the area they will serve its almost time to go home. And since there seems to be an exit plan I am sure Al Queda can be very cautious during that time and come back strong after the troops leave.
    This surge is more likely going to be unsuccesful. But, i wish all the best to the armed forces from USA and Its allies in their operation.

  4. December 2, 2009 at 12:45

    I was listening to hear what our mission is in Afghanistan. Soo the mission is to leave in three years, and the best way to do that is to bring in 30 thousand soldiers?

  5. 6 Ibrahim in UK
    December 2, 2009 at 13:07

    He’s a politician. He talks the talk, but walks another walk.
    18 months from now when victory is not yet in sight, and the US still cannot afford to walk away from Afghanistan, another 30,000 troops will be sent after another strategy speech.
    As “Commander-in-Chief”, he is subservant to the lobbies and interest groups, just like every other US president before him.

  6. December 2, 2009 at 13:20

    Hello all,

    It’s Heba here working on the WHYS team today. Have a look at this great digest of opinion at Huffingtonpost.com


    Who do you agree with? Or perhaps, more importantly, who do you disagree with?

    December 2, 2009 at 13:51

    This obviously is one of the President Obama’s peace & security missions that continues to challenge the president; others being the Midle East (Palestinia/Isriael) and Iran (Nuclear). That said, he will need a clear vision of what has to be done including having a credible team of experts who among other things should spell out clearly what the real objectives and goals are for America, the allies, the wider world and the said regions in this conflict.

    Currently the Afghan conflict is not having popular global support becaus of the way it was initiated and not helped by erratic changes of mission definitions. He needs to see clearly the likely trappings for his presidency and the US army. It is not clear to me what according to the current plan is important. Is it the end of terror? Is it the establishment of a democracy for the unready? Is it business business protection? All in all something needs to be done even though this looks like the middle and not the near end protracted conflict.

  8. 9 gary
    December 2, 2009 at 13:51

    If analysis is based solely upon our interventionism, the average European, Easterner or African might be startled to discover the astonishing parochialism of the US population. Thus it should be easy to understand, but maybe still to disagree, with Mr. Obama’s belief that more force in Afghanistan might work. What I do not understand, is how any European leader could imagine this is a good idea. I am certainly not an anthropologist, but it is easy even for me to identify cultural similarities between the Pashto peoples and our own Appalachian folk. There is that same “We may be not able entirely to define our life style; but we can certainly define your costs in trying to change it.” sort of obstinacy. And your Mr. Brown must be flatlander, no Highlander would imagine the Pashto mountain folk could ever be conquered, because they themselves never were. You’ve got to “be” the enemy.

    • 10 Avi Nofech
      December 3, 2009 at 06:27

      Gary says that the Pushtu mountain folk can never be conquered.

      Actually NATO’s aim in Afghanistan is not to conquer them but to prevent Afghanistan from being used as a base for jihad attacks on other countries, including the neighboring Pakistan. Pushtu people doing what they like in their mountains are not a threat to anyone.

      It is not entirely correct that mountain folk can never be conquered. Norway has serious mountains but was conquered by Germany in 1940 in a few days.

  9. 11 steve
    December 2, 2009 at 14:08

    I’m still dumbfounded by the comment Ros read on air yesterday about someone feeling betrayed that Obama wasn’t ending the war in Afghanistan. All throughout his campaign, he said Iraq was a diversion, and we should focus more on Afghanistan, which would mean increasing troop levels, since he believed now and then that Afghanistan is the front line in the war on terror. The antiwar people were just so blinded with their “hope and change” that they didn’t even bother to listen to what Obama said.

    • 12 Louisa Arndt
      December 2, 2009 at 23:14

      Yes, I did hear Obama say that – and I had my concerns – but HOPED this was just campaign rhetoric intended to counter McCain’s warrior bombast. Obviously I was wrong, although IMO McCain would have been far worse!
      That said, Obama has FAILED to follow through on many other of his campaign assertions – gays in the military, closing Guantanamo – and his Justice Dept. is fighting in court IN FAVOR OF bush’s discredited policies!
      Maybe I/we were blinded, but I really think WE have a lot more credibility in asserting that “we had no choice” than does Obama now in his Afghanistan policy – if you can call this mishmash a “policy.”

  10. December 2, 2009 at 14:41

    Steve, are you pro-war ? Interesting…

    December 2, 2009 at 14:41

    The other thing that we need to see is that, America and the allies form what can be said to be the partisan forces in Afghanistan. Taliban and the Karzai and their sympathizers in the region are the other partisan forces. All these groups see their protagonists as the real enemy of stability and peace for Afghansitan. Their own citizens are as divided in opinion as the rest of us.
    What now needs to be asked is the final shape of Afghanistan. Some aspects of it are influenced by demographic & social Compositions which are not completely changeable. It is still going to remain a Muslim country and some sections of that society are going to remain affected by the horrors of the war. As for the rest of the world not assisting, there should be no blanket cover blame sinse this was said to be a NATO MISSION rather than UNITED NATIONS and this perhaps this affects the Afghans. Has president Obama taken note of this?

  12. 15 Jennifer
    December 2, 2009 at 15:05

    Re: Did President Obama convince you?

    No. Then again, I don’t think I was one who really believed in the great vision that is “change”. My opinion has always been that it’s easy to say what you would do IF but unless you are truly in the President hot seat you don’t know everything. Therefore, it’s not wise to make unrealistic promises. As it is this number is less than the number requested? So, we are not committed.

    This is just another let down for some who did truly believe rhetoric. I don’t feel betrayed.

    Sometimes you simply can not take the peaceful path. Why do some not realize that?

  13. 16 steve
    December 2, 2009 at 15:17

    I’m pro Afghanistan war because it’s necessary in the fight on terron, even Obama has stated this. Do I wish there were no wars? Of course, but we don’t live in an ideal world, we live in the world we have. Wars are sometimes necessary, and we know how appeasement turned out in 1939.

  14. 17 Roy, Washington DC
    December 2, 2009 at 15:24

    The speech pandered to Americans’ feelings about 9/11, so no, he didn’t convince me at all.

    He’s trying to fight a fire by throwing more gasoline on it.

  15. 18 Maccus Germanis
    December 2, 2009 at 15:25

    I really hope that it doesn’t deginerate into a man-hunt. Many resources can be wasted upon the capture of a singular leader of a single manifestation of a world wide ideology. Operational capability of our enemy was degraded without throwing large numbers of American troops into the lawless, but contained, tribal regions.

    The speech itself, wasn’t that bad. -If you overlook the unseemly personal focus that had to detail the most recent photo ops.- It is taken in context with the recent critism from Congress, of operations in Tora Bora, that make me apprehensive.

  16. 19 Dan
    December 2, 2009 at 15:36

    I was a supporter of Obama but have been severley disappointed as he is more interested in being a worldwide Rock Star bowing and aplologizing to the world than restoring America but he pretty much nailed it last night.
    Despite that he could not bring himself to use the words ISLAMIC terrorism he was quite right to note that the tribal areas of Pakistan is a pus filled sore whose toxic philosophy is a danger to the world.
    We need to work with Pakistan to restore order to the Tribal Areas and make those places inhospitable for Islamic terrorists whether they be al-Queada or Taliban and to upgrade the Afghani security forces.
    The additional 30,000 troops will help to accomplish this goal.
    Bush should have done this but was a horible war President.

    Iraq came out for the better for having the US removing Saddam. You will never admit it but your lives will be improved and now have a chance at a future.
    You did not have that possibility of a future under Saddam, Uday or Qusay.
    Afghanistan was destroyed by the Soviets and to paraphrase Winston Churchill said “America gets it right….after trying everything else first”.
    Obama seems to have gotten it right.

    • December 2, 2009 at 17:58

      Dan, I am sorry to note that your ignorance of Iraqi politics, past and present, and Islamic terrorism matches those of today’s politicians who have messed up the world. Please refer to my posting right at the beginning of this discussion.

  17. 21 patti in cape coral
    December 2, 2009 at 15:37

    I don’t think the speech changed anyone’s opinion. People have made up their minds already and people who are in disagreement with the war, strategy, or the president, are still in disagreement. Those who supported the president, the war, and his strategy are still in that camp. Both sides will find issues in the speech that support their opinion.

  18. 22 Julie P
    December 2, 2009 at 15:38

    Obama was very clear about being anti-Iraq war, which stopped once former president Bush reached an agreement with the Maliki government to end our involvement in August of 2010. However, Obama framed the war in Afghanistan differently. He believed that Afghanistan is the front line on war on terror and that Bush dropped the ball there. If anyone is surprised that Obama is sending more troops there, you simply were not paying attention. If anyone dislikes that his announcement that this is not open ended commitment and his approach to it, they may want to look at Bush’s handling of the exit from Iraq. Judging those two differently smacks of double standards.

  19. December 2, 2009 at 15:56

    I strongly disagree with Obama’s plan.
    I guess you would have to call me an absolutist. We have no legitimate reason for sending troops of this magnitude to any other country, for the reasons stated. A staff of advisors, from both military and private sector should be sent, to help another country get their act together and in exchange, our people would have access to any information, “actions” and facilities, so as to safe guard our interests. A relatively small number of troops and equipment accompanying these advisors and analysts should be sent ONLY to safeguard our visitors.
    If other countries are serious about needing help to rebuild their troubled system of government and infrastructure, they should produce all of the manpower needed.
    IF monetary assistance is also needed to accomplish these efforts, they should submit requests for such, subject to whatever level of open and free scrutiny desired by our advisors. If reasonable, and proven to be FOR our interests, funds could be allotted.
    Too many factions with hidden agendas are driving the past and current states of affairs of situations like this.
    Helping is fine, but only when it is help, not operation of a comprehensive nature such as this and has been done in the past.

  20. 24 Gary Paudler
    December 2, 2009 at 16:04

    In specific response to your question; did Obama convince me? Yes. He convinced me that he is in the thrall of interests that have nothing to do with the well-being of the United States. He struggled, and failed, to offer a coherent reason for increasing our investment in Afghanistan. I am a staunch (if disillusioned) supporter of Obama and I hold him to a higher standard that he did not come close to meeting with that speech.

  21. 25 T
    December 2, 2009 at 16:09

    Memo for Obama:
    Not everyone in the world wants “American” style democracy.
    The States and the U.K. have tried to control Afghanistan. And have failed. So how will this change that?
    Will he constantly change the “standards of success” in Afghanistan (just like the States have in Iraq)?

  22. 26 Robyn Lexington, KY USA
    December 2, 2009 at 16:26

    I think President Obama took his time, weighing his options before deciding the best avenue to take to end the war in Afghanistan. I agree with his statements about the threats that still exist. I know many people in the military that agree with this opinion. Is it the right decision? Only time will tell but at least its a change in policy. We have to do something to move towards leaving both Iraq and Afghanistan. I wish our troops and those of our allies good luck in this mission.

  23. December 2, 2009 at 16:27

    Obama faces a dilemma, Quit in Afghanistan and get impeached or worse, or try to save a situation made horrible by Bush and Cheney. Al-qaida is going to be a problem until the conditions that motivate it are ameliorated. The Taliban is at least a severe problem for Pakistan, and as a matter of global security we all need to be looking at the general challenge it represents. I think Obama greatly needs and probably has a global strategy, but perhaps he should not talk about it.

    Walkertown, NC

  24. 28 Tom K in Mpls
    December 2, 2009 at 16:46

    Well, he said what was expected based on experiments already tried in some areas. The troops worked on securing areas and sticking around instead of being diverted to a new hot spot. This allows the one area to grow. Having seen this, I recommended the take/hold/develop strategy on this blog. The thing I find comically absurd is the 18 month estimate. I realize this timeline was presented for the sole purpose of the short term appeasement the people that believe politician promises. But it is still funny. I would expect 5 to 15 years of a low volatility presence.

  25. 29 Mountain Adam, Portland, Oregon USA
    December 2, 2009 at 16:54

    I didn’t hear or read the speech. I give President Obama credit as a thinking man and am willing to go along with his plans as long as he continues to show wisdom as a whole.

  26. 30 Dan
    December 2, 2009 at 16:55

    @Sumshee Kirken
    I think you have forgotten that Afghanistan was the launch point for attacking America.
    They are a 7th Century culture.
    They have no infrastructure as it was destroyed by the Soviets.

    They have no Government to speak of
    The have no “act to get together”
    Your suggestion of sending a small number of troops to protect a legion of advisors is simillarly indicative of not understanding the threat of the radical Islamists.
    The threat is not adoloscents who will deface a storefront but assasins who revere death, destruction and the subjugation of a whole gropu and class of people.
    You solution is impossible as it does not recognize reality.

  27. 31 stephen/portland
    December 2, 2009 at 16:57

    Convince me of what? A positive outcome in this mess.

    No chance!

    When we leave the planes wont even be off the ground when the radical warlords and Taliban claim their rubble back.

  28. 32 DOLAPO AINA
    December 2, 2009 at 17:12

    This is a serious topic. It is kind of complicated if a person had not been following Obama’s comments during his campaign. The main issue is Afghanistan but somewhere along the way the previous administration self-diverted their attention.

    Now, you cant just rush into this country and rush out and expect results if you rush in, they would make you rush out. Obama should learn from Russia. I suggest they get it right this time, because there is reason to believe if not gotten right this time, it would be the last time for the West in Afghanistan.


    Dolapo Aina,

  29. 33 kamalanii
    December 2, 2009 at 17:20

    Let see!!! our troops, been waiting for almost 12 week’s for Obama to come with the plan? and the result are just like him nothing!!! but he have his nobel prize!!

    • 34 sally
      December 2, 2009 at 17:46

      can i get a peace prize too for escalating a war. bit like kicking a rotweiler to calm the situation.laughable. so they are going to take away his peace prize?

  30. December 2, 2009 at 17:24

    The success of the US troops in Afghanistan depends on combined efforts with the coalition forces there, at least to minimize the casualties. The Taliban are set on keeping the fight regardless of additional reinforcement.

    Considering 18 months as a period to break the back of the Taliban is just a look in a crystal ball which can be unsure if new events emerge.

    The hard task is to change the mindset of the Afghans who support the Taliban, cleanse the central government in Kabul from corruption, and put an end to drug cultivation which one of the great sources of Taliban source of money to get weapons. All this looks hard to achieve in 18 months as it has been going on for decades before the Bush and the Obama

    • December 3, 2009 at 10:26

      “Changing the mindset of the Afghans”? The driving force in that country, be it Taliban or Afghans as a whole, is ISLAM. This is what gives them their mindset; thier whole culture and way of thinking flows from it. Changing their mindset amounts to wiping out Islam and replacing it with Christianity. And that is what they think the West is trying to do. Just leave them alone and peace will flourish.

  31. 37 Alan in Arizona
    December 2, 2009 at 17:27

    Considering that the attrition of Afghans leaving the security force or being killed is greater than the number being recruited, obviously means we are almost finished training them to fight against us.

    They should be ready to start an offensive against us right about the time that Obama’s 1st Presidential Anniversary comes around.

    All we are really doing is converting them from Russian weapons to American made weapons. Much easier to get ammunition from a dead enemy that uses the same ammunition that you do.

    Obama would have been smart to retire a few Generals and pull us out now. Let them run their own country and just give them training on international commerce and bring therm into the 21st Century. Capitalism can convert anyone of any religion!!! Just show them the money and save our troops!

    • December 7, 2009 at 11:33

      @ Alan in Arizona

      You started well, but when you start talking about changing peoples’ ways through capitalism and the cursed money so dear to the West, you forget that Eastern cultures do not have the same values. If someone is willing to happily die in defence of his values, how do you buy him off? This is an insult to them.
      The West needs to understand the East and not try to impose its own values on them. America, Israel and their allies pose the biggest threat to world peace.

  32. December 2, 2009 at 17:29

    The success of the US troops in Afghanistan depends on combined efforts with the coalition forces there, at least to minimize the casualties. The Taliban are set on keeping the fight regardless of additional reinforcement.

    Considering 18 months as a period to break the back of the Taliban is just a look in a crystal ball which can be unsure if new events emerge.

    The hard task is to change the mindset of the Afghans who support the Taliban, cleanse the central government in Kabul from corruption, and put an end to drug cultivation which one of the great sources of income for the Taliban to get weapons. All this looks hard to achieve in 18 months as it has been going on for decades before the Bush and the Obama Administrations.

  33. 40 Lyle / Portland, Oregon, USA
    December 2, 2009 at 17:39

    President Obama’s speech last night to a large extent relied on the infantilism of political discourse in the United States today. It is striking that for all the time he spent collecting “information” about the situation in Afghanistan, he declined to mention the fact — widely and openly acknowledged by political elites — that U.S. interests there go far beyond fighting the Taliban and “extremism.” Central Asia is an oil-rich region, and there are competing interests over various pipelines there, both those that have already been build and those that corporate interests would like to build and/or control. If this were not true, it is highly unlikely we would be sending troops into a country described as one “where empires go to die.” The Taliban was not behind the 9/11 attacks; al-Qaeda did, and the two are not the same. Obama is now every bit as culpable in war crimes as Bush/Cheney are. This is a purely imperialistic enterprise, it will bring more devastation and grief to the Afghan people, and it will result in many more dead, maimed and paralyzed American soldiers.

  34. December 2, 2009 at 17:40

    Yes. Obama is giving Afghanistan AND Pakistan the time AND military / economic support to train and mobilize their forces in order to determine their own ultimate outcomes while international forces focus on routing Al-Qaida from the border region. It is what he said he would do during his campaign for which the majority of Americans voted a year ago.

    Will it work? I hope so, though I am not naive as to the odds. Was there any other choice? No. To pull out completely would hand the entire region on a polished, silver platter to a Taliband dictatorship and an Al-Qaida safe haven… to commit troops without a clearly stated end-game would cripple the US economically and assure ultimate defeat. The gamble is not on the international soldiers, but on the Afghan and Pakistani people themselves.

  35. 42 sally
    December 2, 2009 at 17:43

    no. but the us war machine and big oil does.

  36. 43 Chedondo, Johannesburg
    December 2, 2009 at 17:53

    I think Mr Obama axddressed nearly all sides of the problem facing the USA with regards to Afghanistan. Of course the Republicans don’t think so, but then they find reason to question his reasoning if he said the sun will rise tomorrow. And I don’t know why your correspondent in the USA found the speech flat. The man is sending 30000 young people into harm’s way and some of them will die – that is no time to be poetic.

    I hope Afghanistan will come to know peace, but if anyone thinks they can introduce democracy there they are sadly mistaken and the Afghans will only be too happy to show them error of their ways.

  37. 44 Tony from Singapura
    December 2, 2009 at 17:59

    It’s a no-brainer, there is no choice but to go in and do what is necessary to promote a government that can be dealt with. If Taliban recover their former position, the place will become a sanctuary for Al Qaeda again. (I dont care if Al Queda are not there now, they can always return).

    In hindsight – if all of the resources wasted omn Iraq had been directed to afganistan during the Bush administration we would not be having this conversation now. Oh and for good measure, had we left Iraq alone, Iran would not be feeling so bullish now.

  38. 45 rob z.
    December 2, 2009 at 18:15

    No american politician can come up with an easy way out that does not make the US look bad.I personaly don’t care if we look bad.
    I would rather we look bad now,than in 10yrs.
    One thing that would help, is if the west stops demonizing Muslims.
    Second thing,scale down major operations and let the intelligence agencies do thier dirty work; this would mean cooperation between the CIA and KGB,and who ever else has a stake in the fight against terrorism and international crime lords.
    Big military deployments aren’t going to give you Bin Laden,the US has forgot the lesson learned with Geronimo.

  39. December 2, 2009 at 18:18

    The USA has no other choice but to secure some level of political/social stability in the world since other nations in Europe and Asia are too self absorbed to play a serious role in stabilizing the world. All political/social instability will eventually seek to undermine democratic societies so be warned. Communism or Socialism has not worked. Perhaps instead of working with the men in these male dominated cultures we should support and pay the women to revolt and start underground freedom movements, sadly at the cost of many lives, but it just might work. The women and children suffer most in these senseless conflicts and religious power grabs. I have a few Afghan associates who are educated living in the west and are afraid to go back to rescue their country and loved ones because of the corruption and deceit they also believe that the USA is wasting tax payers money. Eventually the Afgans will have to decide if they want to join civil nations into the 21 Century or languish in the hardship and ignorance of their past. There is nothing that the USA wants or needs from the resources of that country that it cannot buy else where. I wish our President success in his effort and our noble soldiers a safe passage through this mission.

  40. 47 John in Salem
    December 2, 2009 at 18:25

    It’s easy for all of us to play armchair generals when we don’t have all the info or the responsibility to make the call.
    The only thing I AM certain of – beyond any doubt – is that when those of us who supported Obama start waffling because we’re uncomfortable with his decisions it will be picked up and amplified by those who hate him and in 2012 we will wind up with another White House full of neo-cons and be wondering how we let it happen again.
    For now, at least, he’s still got my vote.

  41. 48 Mufutawu-Yusuf Ajani
    December 2, 2009 at 18:26

    l will encourage president Obama to think twice over this issue of sending more U.S. troops to Afganistan,look Mr president l will say it is sometimes good to sit down with the enemy and talk.as you said in your campaign that ,you will give a friendly hand to the muslim world.l wish you do that to show the afgan people that you have a concious solution to their problems ,rather than though through military means.long live Islam Long live the peaceful people of the world.

  42. 49 Shannon in Ohio
    December 2, 2009 at 18:31

    Despite the president’s insistence to the contrary, Afghanistan is rapidly morphing into his Vietnam, complete with all of the warped logic that accompanied that quagmire. Then as now, Americans have been asked to believe that we must escalate in order to deescalate, all the while propping up a deeply corrupt puppet government.

    Obama is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t…and Pakistan refuses to clean its own house, which means this will only get worse.

  43. 50 archibald
    December 2, 2009 at 18:38

    He convinced me as much as any other politician. There are greater strings being pulled and until the public truly accepts that and demands more of their gov’t, “of the people…….”, we will all continue to be disappointed with the luke warm, diluted messages our leaders are “forced” to issue by those who are the true orchestrators of this debacle which is called our, “foreign policy”.
    Ask yourself why all presidents of the past 30 years sound so much alike in their diplomatic rhetoric amounting to virtually nothing as far as true progress. This is not a failure of the men as much as it is a failure to address what controls those men. We have the power, we just refuse to take it, because it is gonna hurt. Enjoy our continued disappointment.

  44. 51 Emmanuel Coleman, Accra
    December 2, 2009 at 18:39

    Its a pretty intelligent idea or ideas President Obama let opened about the strategy in Afghanistan. Am sure by virtue of the many criticisms he endured so far about this war, intelligent enough are the executive cabinets who sit to deliberate with him. They made sense enough and these will go a long way to effect the results the President made mention of. We pray for the safety of the troops and the safety of the Afghan civilians.

  45. 52 Bentley
    December 2, 2009 at 18:39

    The problem is with Pakistan and 50 nuclear weapons that they control. The west is afraid these bombs will fall into the hands of Islamic extremists The Pakistan government is not strong and the risk is real. The solution is not clear and Obama’s speach was smoke and mirrors and vague statements of what, why, and for how long.

    Portland OR – USA

  46. 53 ajmal karimi
    December 2, 2009 at 18:46

    u know what? america or other western nations will not be able to bring stability in afghanistan. what brings stability to afghan people is Islam. None elected president like karzai will not bring peace in afghanistan what brings peace in afghanistan is Islam, does obama and other governors know this`? if not then ask any uneducated afghan they know i even me know it

  47. 54 ajmal karimi
    December 2, 2009 at 19:03

    here is a promise for all of u, americans will loose the west will loose and afghans will win, Alexander the great has lost the war in afghanistan, the UK has lost the war in afghanistan, Russia has lost the war in afghanistan, America will loose loose and looseeeeeeeeee

    • 55 Bert
      December 2, 2009 at 19:24

      “Afghans will win”?? Which “Afghans” will win? They don’t even consider themselves a country.

      Who will win? The men who enjoy giving public lashings to girls or women who don’t behave according to their trumped-up rules? The men who throw acid in the face of schoolgirls?

      I can understand that it’s unlikely that US forces will achieve anything there, but to make this US vs Afghanistan is totally ridiculous.

      • 56 ajmal karimi
        December 3, 2009 at 16:59

        what about america? dont u see how americans drop bombs on innocent afghan people killing them with thier modern guns? we accept acids on our face we accept lashes but we dont accept modern guns

  48. 57 Joseph A. Migliore
    December 2, 2009 at 19:08

    Al Qaeda is no longer a threat in Afghanistan, they’ve been ousted since the battle of Tora Bora in 2002.
    I disagree with the President’s decision, this renewed strategy of increasing the troop levels to approximately 30,000 will not work in the long term.
    The administration should seek an immediate shift in strategy and in policy, from one of war waging in Afghanistan to a political solution, where the emphasis is placed on nation-building and with placing the a renewed focus on the reconciliation process for restructuring Afghani society.
    The Afghan people view the U.S. presence as an occupation, many civilians have been killed since the beginning of the conflict, it will be difficult for the U.S. and its allies to gain the support of the local tribal communities. Prime Minister Hamid Karzai, has little influence outside of Kabul, thus, we need to acknowledge the importance with engaging with the tribal leaders in an effort to establish a policy of long-term stability. The U.S. needs to engage in a meaningful dialogue with local tribal leaders and with the Taliban in all provinces, build their trust and place less of an emphasis for a U.S. and NATO long-term troop presence.

  49. 58 Bret A
    December 2, 2009 at 19:11

    Obama’s speech was compelling. I would like to believe more American soldiers could solve anything. But the truth is not a whole lot has been solved over there. We could destroy many terrorists but someone over there will always believe in the ideas of taliban and al quida. America should focus on our it’s own problems. In particular the economy and reform of marijuana laws.

  50. 59 Joseph A. Migliore
    December 2, 2009 at 19:12

    Al Qaeda is no longer a threat in Afghanistan, they’ve been ousted since the battle of Tora Bora in 2002.
    I disagree with the President’s decision, this renewed strategy of increasing the troop levels to approximately 30,000 will not work in the long term.
    The administration should seek an immediate shift in strategy and in policy, from one of war waging in Afghanistan to a political solution, where the emphasis should be placed on nation-building and with placing a renewed focus on the reconciliation process for restructuring Afghani society.
    The Afghan people view the U.S. presence as an occupation, many civilians have been killed since the beginning of the conflict, it will be difficult for the U.S. and its allies to gain the support of the local tribal communities. Prime Minister Hamid Karzai, has little influence outside of Kabul, thus, we need to acknowledge the importance with engaging with the tribal leaders in an effort to establish a policy of long-term stability. The U.S. needs to engage in a meaningful dialogue with local tribal leaders and with the Taliban in all provinces, build their trust and place less of an emphasis for a U.S. and NATO long-term troop presence.

  51. 60 Mahmood Rafique
    December 2, 2009 at 19:12

    This is another mistake by sending extra 30,000 troops, nothing is to be won, nothing is to be proved in Afghanistan. You know this is an interesting point that people just don’t understand the Tribal Culture in general and Afghanistan in particular. You just can’t dictate every society or country to replicate western democracy model. Well you can change perception of people through partnership, education and social development and not through guns.
    Afghanistan never been ruled by foreigners and invaders…..just look at the history. Please don’r re-write wrong history let diplomacy prevail.

  52. 61 Bert
    December 2, 2009 at 19:13

    Unconvinced, for a couple of reasons.

    The original goal was valid. Eradicate the Al Qaeda training camps and show the Taliban govt that they can’t support that sort of activity without consequences. AND, most importantly, we operated alongside the Northern Alliance, not as a foreign occupying power.

    But now, Obama owes us a much more detailed explanation of what he wants to do with the 100,000 troops in 18 months. And comparing Afghanistan with Iraq is not valid. In Iraq, it was the Sunni and Shia who FINALLY quit killing one another with reckless abandon that made the difference. In Afghanistan, does he really expect a similar internal change? Like what? Like the Taliban and the numerous Afghan tribes deciding to pull together? I don’t see that happening no matter what we think we can do in 18 months. And we are now occupiers, unlike originally.

    So, I am not convinced. This is Vietnam all over again.

  53. December 2, 2009 at 19:14

    President Obama came across as quite genuine.Let us not forget that this stratergy really has to work this time. His entire future depends on it.There was certainly not enough troops on the ground,up until now.Perhaps 30,500 more is still not enough,but they will make a big difference.If the peace is won,and America and Britain can then withdraw,with honour and respect;what happens after that,will be no concern of America or Britain.However,from what I have heard from Afghan refugees and Afghans living there now they do not want to live under the exteme rule of the Taliban.What ever way of life they want,it is not a Taliban way.I wish all the soldiers in Afghanistan all the very,very best.

  54. 63 Half-Not
    December 2, 2009 at 19:16

    This is the problem—in eight years, surely, the perpetrators of the attacks have been reconstituted. Al-Qaeda won that battle, it is over. The line has had too many curves to say we are seeking justice for nine-eleven with the current shape of the war in Afghanistan. We made too many missteps that can’t be corrected. It seems, we are still in Afghanistan because if we leave, things will be worse then when we began. We perhaps should not leave the country in a mess; and we might be required to clean up after ourselves—but, to suggest that the original justice seeking mission of the war, to punish those responsible for the loss of three-thousand lives, is still our mission is disingenuous. That is not the war we are currently fighting. This was made evident last night by Mr. Obama who certainly did not commit enough troops to accomplish the original mission. So what is this new mission? To placate the mass public with a compromise between right and left. Aim for the middle, sir! Well, sometimes half the ingredients won’t make the same cake.

  55. 64 Tom D Ford
    December 2, 2009 at 19:21

    There is an old saying in business, “Failing to plan is planning to fail”.

    Bush/Cheney failed in Afghanistan by failing to plan.

    President Obama has planned, has set up goals and deadlines to strive for and so now our soldiers have an idea of what their mission is and what and when they can strive for.

    President Obama has rejected the Bush/Cheney idea of never ending vague nebulous wars draining our military and our treasury only to benefit a very few Military-Industrial Complex Corporations.

    We finally have a logical and rational President and Administration.

  56. December 2, 2009 at 19:23

    Why didn’t Obama order sending 300,000 troops instead of 30,000 so the job can be finished in less than 2 months instead of 18?

    • 66 Tom K in Mpls
      December 3, 2009 at 02:16

      Because it is impossible to achieve a ‘military victory’. But troops can provide stability while the locals develop the ability to maintain their own stability.

  57. 67 Ms. Hill
    December 2, 2009 at 19:24

    Let’s wake up people, please. President Obama CANNOT disclose everything to us like we wished he could. I do not support any war, it is a waste of energy, resources and lives. If President Obama disclosed everything about this surge, what good would it do to even have one. This is a war people, wake up, we cannot disclose all of our strategies. I love hearing the points of view of everyone on the discussion, but we need to keep our wits about us.

    • 68 patti in cape coral
      December 2, 2009 at 19:44

      Thanks, Ms. Hill, I asked this question yesterday, even though I sounded dumb, even to myself.

      • 69 Bert
        December 2, 2009 at 20:10

        Yes, and I suppose we should have been saying that the entire time Rumsfeld was the SecDef.

        The older I get, the less I suscribe to this “they really know what they’re doing, let’s just trust them.”

  58. 70 John LaGrua/New York
    December 2, 2009 at 19:25

    Afghanistan is Obama’s Waterloo which will drain the US and end badly Waste of .resources , blood and treasure, will grow and the nation will decline economicaly .Distracted by this quagmire our competitors , the Chinese, will move forward to garner economic and geopolitical influence.The concept of US exceptionalism is outdated and is contining to lead us to actions which are pure folly.Our ability to order a multi-polar world is delusional.It is time to reasses our goals and admit our limitations.

  59. 71 Reverend LMF McCormack
    December 2, 2009 at 19:25

    The gentleman is wrong, the Taliban’s face is not only Afghani, It is a regional problem.
    Having afghanistan able to be a viable partner in helping remove the taliban from the region is a very good thing to work at, no?

  60. 72 okunade noah
    December 2, 2009 at 19:34

    The afghans did not choose to go to war with the taliban even though they where not comfortable with rule of the taliban govt.In as much as the us govt has started the war, they can not back out.I was thinking Obama was going to perform a miracle to bring back home all american soldiers as soon as he gets into power.

  61. 73 okunade noah
    December 2, 2009 at 19:35

    The afghans did not choose to go to war with the taliban even though they where not comfortable with rule of the taliban govt.In as much as the us govt has started the war, they can not back out.I was thinking Obama was going to perform a miracle to bring back home all american soldiers as soon as he gets into power.

  62. 74 obote ojok brian
    December 2, 2009 at 19:40

    the president has the opportunity now 2 show that his campaighn promises are coming to pass, and for him to pull out active troops from the middle east its only necesary that there is a serge before he can really pull out. i believe and see thhe presidents point.

  63. 75 J. Amoros
    December 2, 2009 at 19:47

    What do I think about Obama’s strategy? Hmmmm. What strategy?

  64. December 2, 2009 at 19:48

    It’s interesting how the Taliban became “insurgents” when they were once the government of Afghanistan before deposed by our illegal invasion. After 9/11 they offered to extradite bin Laden to a neutral country but Bush refused due to the hidden US agenda, for which Afghans and clueless US and NATO troops have died ever since.

  65. 77 Tom K in Mpls
    December 2, 2009 at 19:56

    The Taliban are a part of the local people. Because of this, they rate a voice equal to any other group or tribe in the country. The problem with the Taliban in this case,is they have successfully been using force to gain disproportionate power. I believe acknowledging this may help achieve a long term stability.

  66. 78 Alan in Arizona
    December 2, 2009 at 20:22

    Ms Hill is right! Obama can’t tell us everything. It’s all on a need to know basis. I served in the Air Force and I can tell you that there is far more going on than we will ever see or hear about unless some drastic calamity occurs that can’t be covered up.

    With that in mind we should all realize that no politician will ever speak the whole truth, much less any part of the truth that can be related to any other part. We will always be in the dark as ordinary citizens. Let’s just hope that the powers running this world will see fit to inform Obama at some point.

    • 79 Bert
      December 3, 2009 at 02:04

      Agreed about being in the dark. But that doesn’t mean we just blindly trust, either.

      Here’s what bothers me about the 35,000 additional troops number:

      The opponents wanted zero.
      The military leaders wanted 50,000
      The decision was 35,000.

      Maybe the Bush years have made me overly untrusting, but that sounds suspiciously like a politically-motivated number to me. Take the average, add a few for good measure, and that way everyone can be at least partially vindicated.

      Some might really believe that the number was obsessively derived, assigning specific tasks to each unit, and so on. I’m skeptical.

  67. 80 Dan
    December 2, 2009 at 20:29

    @Tom D Ford
    Wow…we agree. I must have done something wrong :))

  68. 81 Ronald Almeida
    December 2, 2009 at 22:19

    To me politicians are no different than Hollywood stars. I take both of them with no more than a pinch of salt.

    December 2, 2009 at 22:34

    It was a President Bush Mission of ‘you are either with us or the terrorists’. Why did Obama choose to make it his war? Where is Joe Biden with his vast knowledge on foreign policy?

    Obama has only managed to say that he is making a tactical withdrawal of US from Afghanistan though he is obviously not open about for security reasons. Who knows whether the troops will be sent there? That explains his troop surge though the key word is withdrawal. The only problem is how to save face and for America and allies to compensate for their losses.

    In the final analysis, it will be good to see the conflict in its wider perspective. India and Pakistan are now pretending to be peaceful states and yet it is true that these two states both support one form of extremism or another as long as the insurgency is hurting the protagonists. It is my feeling that without the two coming open about their hidden daggers, America and its allies will achieve nothing. Some of the deals that they are making with these regimes are serious blows to the desired outcomes.

  70. 83 JanB
    December 2, 2009 at 23:16

    I actually believe this strategy will work to achieve the goals Obama has in mind.

    He wants peace and stability by 2012 and I believe that’s what he will get.
    Afghanistan will still be primitive and corrupt with a semi-democratic government, but it will be no worse than Pakistan and Obama never said he wants to make Afghanistan into a paradise of freedom and democracy.
    The Taliban will be crushed (though they may find refuge in Pakistan), but of course the question remains whether all those troops and all that financial aid couldn’t have been better spent on something other than elevating a small, remote, medieval country into what will essentially be just another poor, unfree, but slightly modern Muslim country

  71. 84 JanB
    December 3, 2009 at 00:23

    “It’s interesting how the Taliban became “insurgents” when they were once the government of Afghanistan before deposed by our illegal invasion.”

    They only became the government by force and with the backing of Pakistan.
    They are a group from Pakistan that follows Wahabbist Sunni Islam and stand for Pashtuni nationalism.
    Now, seeing as this group is in fact from Pakistan, seized power by force and seeing as the Pashtun only constitute 40% of all Afghans, while 25% of all Afghans are Shiites (heretics who deserve the death penalty in the eyes of the Taliban), an informed mind would never call the Taliban’s rule any more legitimate than the current government, even if that informed mind would be okay with the way the Taliban run things.

  72. 85 T
    December 3, 2009 at 03:41

    What would convince me about Obama? If he actually accomplished the “change” that he campaigned on.

  73. December 3, 2009 at 06:28

    I don’t know how people listen or take words but I don’t see anything left out by President Obama in his speech. He explained why the US is in Afghanistan, the threats posed by Al-qaeda and Taliban combined, he outlined what he is going to do and for how long. What else do people want him to say?. He inherited the war after it has already been just like the economy. How can we expect him to play magic overnight and turn things around? I am not his supporter but I very much like his stands on Afghanistan because this cannot be continued forever. I believe that if the Afghan government and people are ready to help themselves, they will team up with the Pakistani people and join hands with the forces to root-out Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. It must be a concerted effort in order to succeed.

  74. 87 Leonel Contreras
    December 3, 2009 at 08:24

    Osama bin laden was right all along ,after years of killing .the US is still convince that killing the insurgents will finish the JOB,with only 12 terrorist the taliban or whoever destroyed the twin towers,have made more psychological damage in one day than the whole US army in 8 years and who knows how many billions dollars later and still there are a lot of orphans of the war who will attack any occidental interest just for the sake of hate towards western civilization .This game is becoming an eternal cycle, with no end on sight .Unless we change the policy of combating terror with terror this madness will never end.A different approach could be instead of tanks lets send hospitals,doctors, teachers,lets provide water and electricity services.I bet after one year ,many of our so called enemies will turn in to more cooperative partners

  75. December 3, 2009 at 11:43

    everyone concerned with the good welfare of innocent afghanees and america must understand obama…he actually meant to say that the presidency post in afghanistan must be scrapped and introduced back in 2013.


  76. 89 Moeka From Freetown
    December 3, 2009 at 12:16

    I am one of those who once believed that Obama will make a difference, but with what is happening and his current surged in troops have made him another George Bush. Believe it or not I use to think of Obama as the man who was ready to face world problems with a radical approach; like calling the Taliban and Osama to the round table, extending a hand of peace to all Muslim fundamentalist and encourage a two state solution to the Israel and Palestine conflicts. As my mother once said; The world will never get better again.

  77. December 3, 2009 at 12:47

    I am a fan of President Obama and think he possibly not as convinced as he was portraying on this one. While the poppy fields are still there fuelling crime and terrorism we can achieve nothing.

    The argument that the poor farmers will have nothing to grow if these fields are permanantly destroyed is the most stupid I’ve ever heard. Are we still to have to deal with wealthy terrorists and crime on our streets because we don’t want to upset the Afgans. Ridiculous! leace the fields there and so will the contact with crime and terrorism still be there. They must go first if western hearts and minds are to won over..

  78. 91 Amara from Nigeria
    December 3, 2009 at 13:55

    Let’s face it, President Obama is only being practical and has made it clear that he has no plans impose himself on the Afghans. The mission is to “do the job as quickly and as fast as possible” and then face the grueling economic crisis at home so Afghanistan can be for the Afghans. So far, he has been delivering on his election promises. I only hoped more troops were sent

  79. 92 Ibrahim in UK
    December 3, 2009 at 16:38

    The Taliban was an extreme solution to an extreme problem that existed at the time. Before 9/11, the World’s media did not care about Afghanistan; nor report on the crimes of the Warlords or what they did to women in broad daylight. The situation was so bad that the Afghan population greeted the Taliban with joy as a solution to the warlords.
    Today the problem the Afghans face is different. They have a highly corrupt and ineffective government supported by an unwanted foreign occupation army. The Taliban are increasingly looking like a credible local solution again:

    While the Kabul government remains ineffective nationally, there is very little Obama can do. Sending 30,000 more unwanted occupation soldiers may only exacerbate the problem.

    • 93 Ronald Almeida
      December 5, 2009 at 15:50

      Afganisthan has not only survived but flourished before greedy colonialists started exploiting and manipulating them. Leave them to their own devices, they know more about their country than any ignorant westerner could ever. The ignorant are always the one’s who think they know more.

  80. 94 mat hendriks
    December 4, 2009 at 01:38

    President Obama strategy is the only one with a real vision:

    His vision” how to create peace on earth.”

    -He is hard to them, who want to create a “crisis” situation in this world
    based on fear.
    -He has respect for his opponents.
    -He takes full responsibility for unforgiveble faults, created/maked under command of Mr. G. W. Bush (ex. president U.S.A.)
    -His vision of live is based on non-discrimination at all.
    -He is the only man on earth, able to worked with other world-leaders
    to become a better world to live on.

    With this man we all can win, all people of good means and handling.
    He deserves, that all Nations give him sometime time and space/help
    to explore his vision into reality.

    I wish him all the best.

  81. 95 Tan Boon Tee
    December 4, 2009 at 03:26

    Who would be convinced by a big dreamer, albeit a very smart one at that?

  82. 96 Tom K in Mpls
    December 8, 2009 at 18:32

    Was I psychic, or is it that obvious? https://worldhaveyoursay.wordpress.com/2009/12/02/obamas-strategy/#comment-184729 Karzai states it will take 5 years until Afghan forces can establish reasonable control. And 15 years until the nation can handle the financial burden. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8400806.stm

  83. 97 John LaGrua/New York
    February 3, 2010 at 19:43

    A recent documentary on the main US Marine base in Afghanistan shows the utter futility of this effort .Daily patrols out of base, IED everywhere ,lose marines come to base ,get shelled at night .Next day more patrols more IEDs ,more senseless causalities .On and on ! Hostile villagers giving our troops the “Stink Eye” While we try to win the hearts and minds..The mind that needs work is Obama’s This delay is a fig leaf too transparent to matter.There is no winning or losing here ,only self dellusion and shameful waste of lives and money.Get out and bury the MCCain/Lieberman war hawks once and for all.L’Audace”(deGaulle”

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