Philosophical Multicore

Sometimes controversial, sometimes fallacious, sometimes thought-provoking, and always fun.

Obama’s Speech: New Afghanistan Strategy

Posted by Michael Dickens on December 4, 2009

The speech, as well as a transcript, can be found here. It is actually formatted very nicely, thanks to New York Times.

I am not a military strategist, but I do have my opinions, and I will share them here.


A minute and thirty-five seconds into the video, Obama mentions 9/11. It was sad, terrible, blah blah blah. Then we invaded Afghanistan and chased out the Taliban, implementing democracy and all that. According to this anecdote, that’s actually a pretty reliable account of events.

Apparently, we are going to be out of Iraq by 2011. Well that’s good news, I guess. Two years ago Obama said he would be out by 2010. Whatever, plans change.

When Obama took office, there were 30,000 soldiers in Afghanistan and 160,000 in Iraq. Then, apparently, troops in Afghanistan wanted more troops to effectively secure the slowly-declining situation. So Obama plans to send 30,000 more soldiers for 18 months. As much as I’d love to argue with decision, when you need more troops you need more troops. My main problem with it is that it costs a lot of money. A lot. We could be, say, saving the environment. Or implementing an improved health care system. Or, if you’re one of those Conservative types, a tax refund (yay! selfishness!).

Or, you know what? We could work on our national security systems. They’re pretty bad sometimes. Bruce Schneier could tell you all about how our security sucks (especially airport security). Maybe some investment in those areas would be a smart move.

Now I’m getting off on a tangent. Back to the speech: 40% of it is about how Obama does not make these decisions lightly, 40% is about how great our troops are, and 20% is legitimate material. For example, his military strategy. 30,000 troops will be deployed at the beginning of 2010 and train Afghan troops — apparently our troops are better than everyone else’s. The ultimate goal is to give the power over to the Afghan government, which seems reasonable, if perhaps less than realistic in the short term.

Additionally, troops from other countries will be helping. So that means it’s not just the stupid Americans getting into another war, because they actually have help. Unless other countries are just being corrupted by America’s warmongeringism (which, by the way, is now officially a word).

Okay, civilian strategy. It will be based on performance. What will? Obama does not explain this very well. But he does do some pandering to Afghan citizens. Ooh, and he looks at the camera. It looks like he got himself a third teleprompter. Delicious.

So Obama is going to get into Pakistan to try to surround Al Qaeda. Because Pakistan is a country too, and they need to be involved! They can’t just ignore these terrorists who are right on their border!

Responses to counterarguments (this is by Obama): “there are those who suggest that Afghanistan is another Vietnam.” But this time it’s different because we are supported by a “broad coalition of 43 nations.” And, more importantly, we were actually attacked by Afghanistan. (Not exactly. Whatever.) Sure, maybe we got attacked. So what? We don’t matter. In fact, we deserved it. Everyone in the world should bomb the crap out of the United States!

At this point, I am double-satirizing my own satire of political satires of Obama. I’m confusing myself. But I think confusion is good for people. We could do with a little more confusion in our lives. In fact, we should take a 30-minute meditation period every morning where we just non-stop confuse ourselves by as much as possible. It’s good for our health.

Some people want an open-ended strategy, says Obama. But we simply cannot afford that level of commitment. “America has no interest in fighting an endless war in Afghanistan.” I think what we really need to do is just stop with the whole “war” thing. We’ve had our fair share, now let’s calm down for a few centuries.

Obama paints the link between national security and economy. This is good. Maybe this will make people think twice before freaking out about security because, frankly, security is expensive. And there are simply better ways to protect people and save lives.

Wait, Obama just said “pillar”. Islam has pillars. Obama is a Muslim!!!1! OMGWTFBBQ

It sure is nice to have a president who actually wants to avoid war.


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