HE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Thank you, guys. Let me say [damn, no teleprompter…gonna have to go old school and use a notecard or these people will realize I don’t know who they are]…Multinational Force Iraq, Multinational Corps Iraq, Multinational Security Transition Command Iraq First Corps, America’s Corp Band: Thanks to all of you.
Listen, I am so honored.
AUDIENCE MEMBER [State Dept Official/appointee who is new in-country]: We love you.
THE PRESIDENT: I love you back. (Applause.) I am honored — I’m honored and grateful to be with all of you [and grateful that you all have cameras, or I wouldn’t have even flown over this place]. And I’m not going to talk long because I want to [get as many photos for the web] shake as many hands as I can. (Applause.) And I’ve been talking all week. (Laughter.) [It’s time words mean something-like when I told North Korea to STOP or I’ll have to say STOP again!]
But there’s a couple of things I want to say. Number one, thank you.
AUDIENCE MEMBER [member of traveling press corps]: You’re welcome.
THE PRESIDENT: You know, when I was at Camp Lejeune [to push back the timeline for withdrawal again] I spoke about what it means for America to see our best and brightest, our finest young men and women serve us. And what I said then is something that I want to repeat to you, which is: You have performed brilliantly [and ACCOMPLISHED] every mission that has been given to you.
AUDIENCE: [barely audible] Ooh-ah.
THE PRESIDENT: Under enormous strain and under enormous sacrifice, through controversy and difficulty and politics [Gosh I hope no one remembers “I opposed this war in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 06, 07, and again in 2008.”], you’ve kept your eyes focused on just doing your job [despite opposition to your doing your job from Democrats and me]. And because of that, every mission that’s been assigned — from getting rid of Saddam [which I opposed], to reducing violence [which I opposed], to stabilizing the country [which I opposed], to facilitating elections [which I opposed]– you have given Iraq the opportunity to stand on its own as a democratic country. That is an extraordinary achievement, and for that [now that I’ve successfully used your as tools to get elected] you have the thanks of the American people [including Democrats now-woohoo!!]. (Applause.) That’s point number one.
Point number two is, this is going to be a critical period, these next 18 [err, 19] months. […and it’s going to be even tougher for the 50,000 of you who will stay here indefinitely beyond those 19 months] I was just discussing this with your commander, but I think it’s something that all of you know. It is time for us to transition to the Iraqis [’cause, ya know, no one’s been trying to do that for the past six years, right?]. (Applause.) They need to take responsibility for their country and for their sovereignty [oh gawd, I hope no one notices that my speechwriter took that verbatim from a Bush speech in 2003]. (Applause.)
And in order for them to do that, they have got to make political accommodations [and do things that we American politicians would never do: work together rather than ramrod through legislation over minority parties]. They’re going to have to decide that they want to resolve their differences through constitutional means and legal means [or they can do it like today’s Democratic Party does ala Chicago-style politics]. They are going to have to focus on providing government services that encourage confidence among their citizens […and I’m not sure how to do that ’cause confidence among American citizens is waning at best].
All those things they have to do. We can’t do it for them [oops, more Bush speech taken verbatim-hope no one notices]. But what we can do is make sure that we are a stalwart partner, that we are working alongside them, that we are committed to their success, that in terms of training their security forces, training their civilian forces in order to achieve a more effective government, they know that they have a steady partner with us. [WTF?! How much did we plagiarize from Bushitler?]
And so just as we thank you for what [MISSIONS] you’ve already accomplished, I want to say thank you because you will be critical in terms of us being able to make sure that Iraq is stable, that it is not a safe haven for terrorists, that it is a good neighbor and a good ally, and we can start bringing our folks home [OMG, I think Rahm hired a Bush speech writer]. (Applause.)
So now is not the time to lose focus. We have to be even more focused than we’ve been in order to achieve success [which I opposed, but now that I’m President…I damn well support!].
The last point I want to make is I know how hard it’s been on a lot of you. You’ve been away from your families, many of you for multiple rotations. You’ve seen buddies of yours injured and you remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
AUDIENCE [traveling White House press corps photographer looking for pics of caskets to sell/make money off of]: Ooh-ah.
THE PRESIDENT: There are probably some people here who have seen children born and have been missing watching them grow up. There are many of you who have listened to your spouse and the extraordinary sacrifices that they have to make when you’re gone.
And so I want you to know that Michelle and myself are doing everything — (applause) — are doing everything we can to provide additional support for military families. The federal budget that I have introduced increases support for military families. We are going to do everything required to make sure that the commitment we make to our veterans is met, and that people don’t have to fight for what they have earned as a consequence of their service.
The main point I want to make is we have not forgotten what you have already done [In fact, we Democrats are only now noticing/supporting it], we are grateful for what you will do […and I no longer oppose it], and as long as I am in the White House [the most important thing], you are going to get the support that you need and the thanks that you deserve from a grateful nation [Including Democrats now!]. (Applause.)
So thank you very much everybody [for being the tools you were to get me elected]. (Applause.) God bless you [Oops, Markos Moulitas might take that as a call for Holy War]. (Applause.) God bless the United States of America [Oh man, Keith Olberman’s gonna say I’m trying to create a theocracy now]. (Applause.)
Just a couple points:
“They are going to have to focus on providing government services that encourage confidence among their citizens” – Translation: “The Iraqi government needs to stick it to the rich and make them pay their ‘fair share’ in order for the Iraqi people to have free child care, free school breakfasts, free schools, free education, free school breakfasts, free healthcare, free condoms, government-subsidized abortions, free after-school programs, Section 8 housing, food stamps, and good jobs that pay above minimum wage.”
“We are going to do everything required to make sure that the commitment we make to our veterans is met, and that people don’t have to fight for what they have earned as a consequence of their service.” – Translation: “I was hoping if/when you get back to the States that you’d be so happy just to be home that you wouldn’t mind paying for some of that health care that we promised would be free. I’ll wait a while, and try again in six months. Thanks for the great photo-op!”
One of your best. Thanks guys.
From President Obama and the Democrat led Congress to the US military:
“Come home all is forgiven” 😉
1) because he changes the “timeline” every 6-8weeks
2) because they realize if everyone left Iraq before the job was complete (as he advocated in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008), then they’d have to invade a 3rd time and it would be infinitely harder in those conditions
3) because 50,000(min) troops will remain in Iraq forever under the Obama plan
Like you said, you don’t trust him. Anyone who supports the missions in Iraq shouldn’t/has no reason to trust him either, and that’s particularly true for those who have to work so hard to do what he opposed before and asks them to do now.
Scott, I moved my post to another thread when I realized I had posted on the wrong place….sorry…I do appreciate your answer and you are right Obama changes his mind a lot,…
… more times than most change their socks IMO :).
LOL! I do it all the time too
What Obama advocated in 2003 was not going into Iraq in the first place. What we do, now that we are there, is another matter.
I’m a fan of the late Lt Gen Wm Odom (who was Reagan’s NSA Director). He said, from the very beginning, that, once the US left Iraq, the Sunnis would stop collaborating with the outside (Al Qaeda in Iraq) types and get rid of them. He had this right, only Petraeous got the Sunnis to do this by putting them on the US payroll — brilliant strategy, but same idea.
The other thing which Odom said is that what ultimately happens in Iraq will be the same, whether the US withdraws all troops in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, or 2017. I wrote before that I visited Turkey last November and that this is exactly what the Turks think, also. That smart Sunnis and smart Shiite clerics (as opposed to wanna-be martyr, Al Qaeda in Iraq types) are all just lying low, waiting for the US to finally leave. Working on God’s time, not on American (“next quarter”) time.
As Thomas Ricks has written:
Now, Obama is both astute and pragmatic. I’m sure that he realizes that the outcome of the Iraq War is ultimately beyond the control of the USA, but he doesn’t want to preside over helicopters evacuating the US embassy. He already “owns” the economy; he’s got to keep the country behind him on the economic front, and so he doesn’t want to “own” Iraq. Therefore, he’s happy to leave ownership of Iraq with the Bush administration and with the US miiitary, as long as it’s just simmering away slowly, on a back burner.
– Larry Weisenthal/Huntington Beach, CA
Note to the troops… hang on until 2012. It is a long run, but thanks for your service!
Larry, you’re right that in 2003 Obama opposed removing Saddam (which he now thanks US forces for doing), but in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008, Obama opposed staying in Iraq to do EXACTLY what he now thanks US forces for having done, and asks them to do now.
Odom was wrong, and Obama recognizes that or he wouldn’t advocate staying in Iraq.
How can you know this?
And what’s your personal opinion of the analysis of Thomas Ricks (quoted above)?
Obama’s doing what he’s doing because it’s the path of least political risk and because it prevents Iraq from being a distraction from his economic goals. He can’t be criticized for following the advice of the military, and the military devised their strategy to deal with conditions on the ground which existed because of Bush’s decision to invade. So Obama is basically taking a hands off approach to Iraq (essentially leaving it on autopilot), based on political pragmatism.
– Larry W/HB
“…based on political pragmatism.”
Now there is a core principle! Don’t do what you think is right based on ethics or morality, just do what is politically pragmatic. You must be proud but I have to give you credit – you’re being honest this time.
There is absolutely no contradiction in opposing the invasion of Iraq, or an ongoing troop committment to Iraq, and then later thanking the troops for bravely and dutifully performing the mission given them by their then Commander In Chief.
As Larry points out, Obama is avoiding a precipitous withdrawal. He is not making an indefinite commitment of troops. He has set August 2010 as the date for the withdrawal of approximately 100 troops and 2011 as the date for the withdrawal of the remainder of our troops. He is fulfilling his campaign promise to withdraw as carefully, as we went in carelessly.
I think the troops are hanging on until they can go home to their friends and family.
Odom was wrong. He suggests that Iraq can only be solved by Iraqis ALONE. Obama disagrees (for a myriad of reasons), and the Iraqi people have disagreed by their actions (understandably so). After 30yrs of tyranny (centuries really), they are reasonably fearful of literally Biblical reprisals if they stand up (see also Gen Bing West’s book, The Strongest Tribe). As such, they have been reluctant to stand up and resolve things on their own in such a way that would bring them peace and peace to the region. It wasn’t until the Awakenings started in 06 that things began to turn. I agree w Pres Bush and Pres Obama that Iraqis will in the end take care of themselves and be a peaceful nation, but Odom is wrong that ONLY they can do that. They have been terrorized in the worst possible manner, and need support. That’s what Pres Bush and US forces have been trying to do for years-to support them. President Obama opposed that, and now he not only supports it, but advocates it.
Odom is a man of outdated thinking. It’s like taking a master carpenter and asking him how to build a 100 story steel building. He’s simply not trained in the Middle East, in Holy War (and that’s what Jihad is), in terrorism, or in Iraq (and that’s been going on long enough now to have an entirely unique school of thought/training).
Larry, you say Obama’s just following the advice of his generals. Those are Bush’s generals. They advised Bush. I’m not saying he’s wrong now. I’m saying the SOB should have listened to them before when he was a Senator and professional campaigner. It might have hurt him politically, but helped us nationally in a war.
Dave, Bush said the same thing in 2003. He said the US troops had to stay in Iraq rather than withdraw too fast. He was always conditions-based rather than timeline based. Yet Obama opposed that strategy, and now he not only supports it, but ADVOCATES and thanks people for it.
You cannot wish for success, and oppose it.
How does one thank people for doing something, and then appear sincere for all the years he opposed their doing that same something?
Bears repeating, exactly!
Scott. He still a professional campaigner. Don’t know what he campaigning for but appears he has his eye on replacing Allah. That’s about as high as an Islamist can go. He wasn’t bowing to the king, he was going to the floor to kiss the kings feet and thought better of it. Almost fell when he tried to right himself.
The entire point of the Revolution was to prove that no man must bow down before another-especially an American bowing to someone else.
What will happen if the Sunnis do rise up after the majority of the U.S. forces leave (minus the 50,000 “peacekeepers?” If Iraq’s own forces are able to quell the uprising, then Obama would be able to claim that the overall timetable was correct, and will probably take the credit. But if Iraq’s government cannot suppress an uprising, what are Obama’s options? Withdraw the remaining troops, allow Iraq to fight a civil war, and blame Bush for mishandling the operation? Let the UN handle it? Or would Obama feel pressured into sending troops back into Iraq?
I’m not too sure that the Sunni population is all that willing to maintain the status quo.
He’d have to send troops into Iraq on a third invasion, but this time it wouldn’t be as part of driving Saddam from Kuwait, or WMD, or ties to AQ, or even humanitarian reasons. It’d be purely about oil, and keeping terrorist groups as well as rogue states like Iran and Syria from it. That’s why the 50,000 troops are not slated to be removed by XX/YY/ZZ date.