Obama's troop withdrawal speech: when politics trumps victory
President Obama's speech to the nation last night, announcing the withdrawal of the surge troops he sent into Afghanistan by September, 2012, was transparently political. The deadline has nothing to do with military strategy, for it comes in the midst of the fighting season. Transparently, it is related to the election which follows two months later.
Notably absent from the speech was any mention of General Petraeus or any of his other military advisors. The reasonable inference is that his military advice counseled against the withdrawal. Notably present was the personal pronoun, which was used about 3 dozen times. Obama is now openly mocked as "President Me, Myself, and I."
I found it somewhat bizarre, and quite telling, that he threw into the speech a reference to economic growth ("nation building here at home") on the same day that Fed Chairman Bernanke admitted he was puzzled as to why the economic growth was so poor. It certrainly made it clear this was a political speech.
The Taliban and Al Qaeda now have a clear idea of how long they have to hold on, and when to launch their counteroffensive.
The American public also knows they have a president who lets politics determine war strategy.