Friday, December 4, 2009

Obama Sends out the Troops, Friday December 4, 2009

This past week, President Obama got up in front of hundreds of men at arms, officers, the millions watching on their televisions to announce that he will be deploying about 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Some will be out the golden gates before Christmas.

There are many different responses that are surfacing the news and net. A lot of people are disappointed. A lot of people are angry. But from what intel we've received, around 70,000 Americans are extremely happy. Who the hell are those people you ask? The troops already stationed in Afghanistan are expressing gratitude to Obama because they have been overworked and understaffed, kind of like the whole American working force is now. In a recent RedEye report, Americans are using more of their sick days and taking advantage of their employee mental health benefits due to their overload of work.

But sick days are not the nature of the army. So 30,000 extra troops is like a gift from heaven. Not only are we sending out more, NATO is hopefully going to add an extra 8,000 between 25 countries.

But a lot of initial American reactions were negative and disapproving. There were comments in the RedEye stating that people are disappointed that Obama is not "keeping his promises" or is "not concentrating enough of his own country". Political reactions were mixed.

But as a few days passed, the news analyzed the speech and whatnot and people simmered down. It didn't exactly help Obama's approval rate which was at the highest when he was elected at 69% and is currently (click on that its a good one) down to 46%, one percentage point higher than his lowest statistics.

In my opinion, Obama's speech was well done. I liked it because it was different from all the other "We're going to war!" speeches.

Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times observed that the speech differed in its techniques from many of Obama's other major speeches:
The speech was notable for Mr. Obama because unlike most of his other major addresses, it did not include any personal anecdotes. There were no specific stories of soldiers he has met or families he has consoled. Instead, Mr. Obama braced Americans for the difficulty ahead and sought to put the fight in the context of history.

Another reporter commented that he appreciated Obama's non-Reagan approach that would have resulted in a scripted sentimental story about a made up "grieving spouse - a young investment banker whose wife had died in the World Trade Center - who enlisted immediately after the attacks ... and then gave his life, heroically, defending a school for girls in Kandahar. Reagan would have inspired tears, outrage, passion, a rush to recruiting centers across the nation" writes Joe Klein.

Obama did it differently though which I thought was an effective (in the long run) approach. He reminded Americans that on September 11, 2001, 3000 people were killed in one day, a day that stunned the nation. He reminded all the 4,000 cadets present for his speech that even though some were only ten years old at the time, this is still a pursuing matter of security and safety for all American people.

I thought his biggest point was when he asked everyone to remember how united we were after those attacks. Everyone wanted to go to war, wanted to protect their nation, and kill the terrorists! There was a lot of intense emotion strummin' around the place.

But he made an excellent point. We went into this war because pretty much every American wanted it. But being such a fickle nation, people got bored with the news reports, with the "lack of action", with the US getting no where. Not that Bush's attempt to find Weapons of Mass Destruction was a complete circus; but I think Obama really hit home (like I said in the long run) with Americans by reminding them about their previous united emotions to destroy terrorists.

I say in the long run because with some made up sappy sob story, people become emotional and make an emotional decision but it doesn't stick. Emotions change from day to day. By saying, remember how you felt on 9/11, people can't change how they felt eight years ago; so by remembering that day we can once again become united.

Not only did I like the speech, Obama laid out five great points as to why we should send extra troops. One, hopefully in 18 months, we'll start pulling out. Two, by sending more troops, we can more efficiently train Afghan forces to protect their own country. Three, with the added troops we can do this all at an accelerated pace meaning we may be able to pull out faster than if we didn't send these forces. Four, we can more effectively cajole and push Hamid Karzai, fraudulent leader of Afghanistan, into running a successful and responsible government. Five, Obama listened to the request of our generals who are running the show out there. Making them happy will likely make our troops happy and therefore create a more united force to complete our task.

At least Obama basically has something more substantial to say than, they have weapons of mass destruction! and things like "Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."

I guess America will have to see how this pans out. Most have said that this will either make or break Obama's presidency.

Moral of the day: Buy a calendar of Bush's stupid quotes and then every day you'll remember that no matter what Obama does, it's better than Bush.