How, oh how, are we not discussing the President's Afghanistan speech?
[S]tarting next month, we will be able to remove 10,000 of our troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, and we will bring home a total of 33,000 troops by next summer, fully recovering the surge I announced at West Point. After this initial reduction, our troops will continue coming home at a steady pace as Afghan Security forces move into the lead. Our mission will change from combat to support. By 2014, this process of transition will be complete, and the Afghan people will be responsible for their own security.
Note the drawdown of the surge forces concluding at the height of the 2012 campaign.
We do know that peace cannot come to a land that has known so much war without a political settlement. So as we strengthen the Afghan government and Security Forces, America will join initiatives that reconcile the Afghan people, including the Taliban.
I think there's a good argument to be made that any sort of settlement in Afghanistan will have to include the Taliban, but it's certainly contentious. Discuss.
The goal that we seek is achievable, and can be expressed simply: no safe-haven from which al Qaeda or its affiliates can launch attacks against our homeland, or our allies. We will not try to make Afghanistan a perfect place. We will not police its streets or patrol its mountains indefinitely.
This is my favorite bit. This was, after all, the original mission of our adventure in Afghanistan, before mission creep set in and we started dreaming of a Switzerland in the Hindu Kush. Don't worry, that's about the last line I liked.
We will work with the Pakistani government to root out the cancer of violent extremism, and we will insist that it keep its commitments. For there should be no doubt that so long as I am President, the United States will never tolerate a safe-haven for those who aim to kill us: they cannot elude us, nor escape the justice they deserve.
Nothing wrong with the content, assuming he actually means it. But how deeply weird is the "so long as I am President" caveat?
When innocents are being slaughtered and global security endangered, we don’t have to choose between standing idly by or acting on our own. Instead, we must rally international action, which we are doing in Libya, where we do not have a single soldier on the ground, but are supporting allies in protecting the Libyan people and giving them the chance to determine their destiny.
Well, I suppose that's one way to describe presiding over a stalemate with no end in sight.
And here we come to the really fun stuff.
America, it is time to focus on nation building here at home.
Mr President, I think we've had quite enough of that already.