Friday, February 27, 2009

Obama announces end of Iraq occupation

Today, President Obama announced his plan for ending combat operations in Iraq by the end of August 2010 and to withdraw all American troops by the end of 2011:
"Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end."
Near the close of the speech (complete text here), Obama reflected on the lessons learned from the Iraq misadventure:
There are many lessons to be learned from what we’ve experienced. We have learned that America must go to war with clearly defined goals, which is why I’ve ordered a review of our policy in Afghanistan. We have learned that we must always weigh the costs of action, and communicate those costs candidly to the American people, which is why I’ve put Iraq and Afghanistan into my budget. We have learned that in the 21st century, we must use all elements of American power to achieve our objectives, which is why I am committed to building our civilian national security capacity so that the burden is not continually pushed on to our military. We have learned that our political leaders must pursue the broad and bipartisan support that our national security policies depend upon, which is why I will consult with Congress and in carrying out my plans. And we have learned the importance of working closely with friends and allies, which is why we are launching a new era of engagement in the world.
Do I want this to happen sooner? Yes. Am I happy about the 50,000-man residual force expected to remain in Iraq from September 1, 2010 until the formal end of the occupation? No. But I'm overjoyed that we have a leader with a plan to get completely out of Iraq with no permanent presence there. He has at least put forth the correct strategy, which is how we exit by a specific time as opposed to how do we pursue a undefined notion of victory for an open-ended period of time...

The great Helen Thomas has the right of it: Why shouldn't Obama aim high?...

The MSM is shocked -- shocked -- that Obama is doing what he said he'd do. I've said it before and I'll say it again: If you listened to the MSM on the topic, in this country, the only things worse than being a victim of class warfare are talking about it and doing something about it. To all of you TV reporters and everyone else making over $250,000 a year, look at it this way: For ten years, you received a completely unjustifiable tax rebate that in some cases added up to $250,000. Now, the rebate has run out and you get to do your part like everyone else...

Ever with his finger on the pulse of reality, Pope Benedict informs Nancy Pelosi that Catholic politicians cannot  support abortion rights...

Obama's budget calls for restoring Gulf Coast wetlands:
Without offering specifics, President Barack Obama's first budget calls for continued financing to restore Louisiana wetlands, including a study to identify "the best ways to restore wetlands" destroyed or damaged by the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet.

Environmentalists contend that MR-GO killed thousands of acres of cypress wetlands and marsh, vital to helping the area absorb the pounding of hurricanes.

Eliot Kamenitz/The Times-Picayune

Friday's Choice:
Chris Isaak covers the Neil Diamond classic "Solitary Man" (1993):

And here's the man himself in 1971:


ZenYenta said...

I haven't heard what he said today. (I'm at work. If I have time, I can look, but listening might be pushing it.) But I can tell you that I'm thrilled with his budget. I don't know what will have to be sacrificed to get it through and that matters a lot right now, but the thrill comes from having a president who truly gets it. An awful lot of the media doesn't get it and a lot of the body politic doesn't either, but Obama does. You could tell during the campaign, by what he talked about, but more importantly by the way he talked about it. It's beens so long. I'm really overwhelmed right now. I never thought we'd see this day come.

K. said...

I'm with you. The speech Tuesday talked right past Congress and the MSM to the American people. The conventional wisdom types have never understood Obama's intent when he talks about bipartisanship. What he means to do is to move the debate to the left by connecting directly with the public and forcing Congress to move with it.

I quit second-guessing Obama politically a long time ago. He's way head of everyone on that score.

Roy said...

So much for the "liberal" media those guys at CPAC have been complaining about all week, huh? What cracks me up is these people have no clue what having an overwhelming mandate means. Obama doesn't have to compromise to satisfy some recalcitrant Republican Senators; in November the overwhelming majority of American voters voted in favor of the very things he's doing now. Why is the press surprised? Can you say "asleep at the switch"?

Now I'm waiting for all the "but you can't give out a timeline on Iraq" shrieks. Remember that refrain, especially after the Dems got the majority in Congress in '06? But there again, he has the clear mandate to do it. The neocons have been spoiled by having their own way for too long and having the power in the White House that enabled them to ignore public opinion. Now public opinion and White House policy have converged, and they just don't get it. "But you can't do that!" Oh yes we can!

K. said...

Hear, hear!

Patrice said...

Fantastic group of postings, K. You"ve quite cheered me up. I missed the news as I was painting - so hadn't heard about the Iraq deadline.

I'm amazed also at the fuss the press is making - coverage always seems to concentrate on the "impossibility" of Obama policies, questioning in the most negative way... as you all say: so much for any liberal bias. Apparently the newsmedia is full of naysayers period.

And thanks for the Chris Isaak... Yum.

K. said...

Thanks, Patrice. The MSM seems utterly dumbfounded that Obama is setting out to do what he said he would. He's going to have the country behind him in a big way, too.

I've always been impressed by Chris Isaak's cover of "Solitary Man," not to mention his good taste in other people's songs. That has to be the best song Neil Diamond ever wrote.