President Obama's speech (here) has received some good press. It was good speech making. Obama has a well deserved reputation of being a man of letters.
But what has it clarified? A lot: here is a crucial excerpt in defining the mission statement and the necessity of sending more troops:
..."We must deny al Qaeda a safe haven. We must reverse the Taliban's momentum and deny it the ability to overthrow the government. And we must strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan's security forces and government so that they can take lead responsibility for Afghanistan's future.
We will meet these objectives in three ways. First, we will pursue a military strategy that will break the Taliban's momentum and increase Afghanistan's capacity over the next 18 months.
The 30,000 additional troops that I'm announcing tonight will deploy in the first part of 2010 -- the fastest possible pace -- so that they can target the insurgency and secure key population centers. They'll increase our ability to train competent Afghan security forces, and to partner with them so that more Afghans can get into the fight. And they will help create the conditions for the United States to transfer responsibility to the Afghans"...
I have one simple question, sir. General McCrhystal actually wanted 90,000 troops as we have learned from various leaks, though publicly he had called for 40,000.
If the 30,000 troops cannot "finish the job" with "job" now more clearly defined, will you still start withdrawal you say you will in mid 2011?