Author Topic: Obama invokes 9/11 as new Afghan troop mission pondered (Korea Herald)  (Read 302 times)

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Offline rangerrebew

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Obama invokes 9/11 as new Afghan troop mission pondered

 Updated : 2014-05-26 20:56

BAGRAM, Afghanistan (AFP) ― As he ponders leaving some troops in Afghanistan after the longest-ever U.S. war, Barack Obama harkens back to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks to justify more than a decade of sacrifice.

Whether the U.S. president is also using that imagery to justify longer U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, senior political aides will not say.

But Obama, in a surprise visit to Bagram Airfield outside Kabul on Sunday, did not sound like a man about to wash his hands of Afghanistan.

Aides hint the president will offer some “clarity” on his intentions in a major speech at the West Point military academy on Wednesday meant to put his foreign policy in a wider context.

On Sunday, he twice mentioned that he saw a poster of the Twin Towers in New York in a Bagram trailer complex where he got a briefing from top military and intelligence officials.

Obama mentioned Sept. 11 when talking to young troops, many of whom were mere kids when al-Qaida sent fuel-laden airliners on suicide missions against targets in New York and Washington in attacks planned in Afghan terror havens.

 
U.S. President Barack Obama addresses U.S. troops during a surprise visit to Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, Sunday, prior to the Memorial Day holiday. (AFP-Yonhap)

He said he had just visited the new Sept. 11 museum in the footprint of the World Trade Center Twin Towers in New York ― and there was a sense that he was squaring a circle in his mind on what to do next in Afghanistan.

“Once again, we resolved to never forget what happened on that September day and to do everything in our power to prevent something like that from ever happening again.

“That’s why you are here. That’s why you are here.”

Despite warnings last year that the White House would contemplate leaving no troops in Afghanistan after combat soldiers ship home by the end of the year, Obama said several times during his four hours on the ground Sunday that he was open to a future role for U.S. troops in a training and anti-terror capacity.

He simultaneously played the role of the commander-in-chief bringing troops home and the statesman who would not leave Afghanistan to its fate.

Washington has been frustrated for months by Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s refusal to sign a bilateral security agreement that would offer legal protections to a residual force of U.S. troops.

But U.S. officials believe assurances by his two potential successors, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani, that they would sign up.

Obama’s comments about Sept. 11 were not the only striking aspects of his rhetoric during his Afghan trip.

He candidly said he was surprised at the performance of Afghanistan’s fledgling armed forces, and stressed they were taking the lead in actions against the Taliban.

“I will be honest with you, it has gone better than I might have expected a year ago,“ he said.

While skeptics might question just how effective the Afghan force will be once Western troops have left, Obama’s bluntness was striking.

Defense officials have told AFP they are “encouraged“ that the president may be leaning toward a recommendation in the upper range of their hopes ― around 10,000 troops for a residual U.S. force.

There are political as well as strategic reasons why Obama may make that decision.

He was elected in 2008 on a platform of winding down foreign wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But he always made a distinction between the two conflicts.

He branded Iraq as a “dumb“ war, and recently in Manila said it was “disastrous.“

He argued that Afghanistan had been neglected because of Iraq and promised to fix it ― and as president sent tens of thousands of troops into battle.

There was always a suspicion that Obama’s bullishness on Afghanistan offered him political cover in being anti-war on Iraq.

But the Afghan fight has perhaps proven more bloody and protracted than he had hoped.

More than 2,300 U.S. troops have now died in Afghanistan and the Taliban is not yet defeated ― although the administration can credibly claim to have devastated the core of al-Qaida with ruthless drone strikes.

There is a clear sense that Afghanistan is “Obama’s war.“

While he pulled out all U.S. troops from Iraq and was unable to agree a residual force in a country descending back into an inferno ― that war will always be George W. Bush’s.

History would take a dimmer view of the current president’s complicity if Afghanistan tips deeper into turmoil ― and second term presidents are always thinking of their legacy.

Obama also risks being condemned by his own words if he leaves Afghanistan alone.

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20140526000636
« Last Edit: May 26, 2014, 04:09:53 PM by rangerrebew »
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Offline truth_seeker

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The fact that opposition jihadi forces attack Americans, other NATO forces and Afghani troops, is proof we have failed to completely disable them.

They have not surrendered unconditionally; ergo we have failed to win this war.

Walking out on unfinished wars is the American Post-WWII norm, not exception.

Offline flowers

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Didn't obama as a senator write a letter blaming America for 9/11? 


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They have not surrendered unconditionally; ergo we have failed to win this war.

Wrong sort of war, my friend. There is only one way to win this type of war, and it is not the classic nation/states mode of combat.

You make them too damned terrified to try anything.
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Offline rangerrebew

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You make them too damned terrified to try anything.

Do you mean turn parts of the desert into glass with intensive heat from a massive explosion? :whistle:
Abraham Lincoln:

There is no grievance that is a fit object of redress by mob law.
--January 27, 1838 Lyceum Address

Don't interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties. And not to Democrats alone do I make this appeal, but to all who love these
great and true principles.
--August 27, 1856 Speech at Kalamazoo, Michigan

Let us then turn this government back into the channel in which the framers of the Constitution originally placed it.
--July 10, 1858 Speech at Chicago

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"Do not be proud of this technological terror you have spawned. It is insignificant, compared to the power of the Force."  :tongue2:
Anyone who tells you you can't buy happiness has never been in a book store or an animal shelter.

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