Skip to main content

By the end of next year, America’s war in Afghanistan will be over.

Hot on the heels of his meeting with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai yesterday, President Obama explicitly tied the draw-down of troops in Afghanistan to nation-building at home—with a specific call to address gun violence in America:

After more than a decade of war, the nation we need to rebuild is our own.

As we do, we have to care for our troops and veterans who fought in our name. We have to grow our economy and shrink our deficits. Create new jobs and boost family incomes. We have to fix our infrastructure and our immigration system. We have to protect our planet from the destructive effects of climate change—and protect our children from the horrors of gun violence.

While admitting it's not an easy list of items he meant to address, the president told listeners that if our soldiers can lay their lives on the line for years in the Middle East, surely the rest of us can do them proud by rebuilding the country and having services in place to help them with their transition home.
These, too, will be difficult missions for America. But they must be met. And if we can summon just a fraction of the determination of our men and women in uniform, I know we can meet them. And I intend to work as hard as I know how to make sure we do.
To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
The White House
January 12, 2013

Hi, everybody. This week, I welcomed President Hamid Karzai to the White House to discuss the way ahead in Afghanistan. And today, I want to update you on how we will end this war, bring our troops home, and continue the work of rebuilding America.

Over the past four years, thanks to our brave men and women in uniform, we’ve dealt devastating blows to al Qaeda. We’ve pushed the Taliban out of their strongholds.  And our core objective – the reason we went to war in the first place – is now within reach: ensuring that al Qaeda can never again use Afghanistan to launch attacks against America.

The 33,000 additional forces that I ordered to Afghanistan served with honor, completed their mission, and – as promised – returned home last fall. This week, we agreed that this spring, Afghan forces will take the lead for security across the entire country, and our troops will shift to a support role. In the coming months, I’ll announce the next phase of our drawdown. And by the end of next year, America’s war in Afghanistan will be over.

This progress has only been possible because of the heroic sacrifices of our troops and diplomats, alongside forces from many other nations. More than a half million Americans – military and civilian – have served in Afghanistan. Thousands have been wounded.  More than 2,000 have given their lives.

This remains a very difficult mission. The work ahead will not be easy. Our forces are still in harm’s way.  But make no mistake – our path is clear, and we are moving forward.  Because after more than a decade of war, the nation we need to rebuild is our own.

As we do, we have to care for our troops and veterans who fought in our name. We have to grow our economy and shrink our deficits. Create new jobs and boost family incomes. We have to fix our infrastructure and our immigration system. We have to protect our planet from the destructive effects of climate change – and protect our children from the horrors of gun violence.

These, too, will be difficult missions for America. But they must be met. And if we can summon just a fraction of the determination of our men and women in uniform, I know we can meet them. And I intend to work as hard as I know how to make sure we do.

Thank you.

 

###
EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  February 6 is the Great Ronald Reagan's 102nd (4+ / 0-)

    Birthday.

    Now taking suggestions on how We, the American People, can Commemorate our Platnimum President.

    Notice: This Comment © 2013 ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 07:03:27 AM PST

  •  Predictable Republican response.... (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skillet, TexasTom, shigeru, rebel ga, wader

    ...from Republibot  Senator Deb Fisher (freshman, Nebraska): Taxes don't raise enough money to impact the debt, the problem is runaway spending.
    I have a question for her: if taxes don't raise money, where are all the funds coming from that run the government?

    •  The problem is growth...or the lack thereof.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rebel ga

      get off the talking points Goopers....no one's buying it...you lost.....get over it.

    •  Paying republican Senators and Congress.... (4+ / 0-)

      membersfor doing nothing--except obstructing, filibustering, and threatening to filibuster  seems to be one of the biggest wastes of federal tax dollars.  Their salaries should be the first thing on any spending cut list, IMHO.  
       

      •  So True, kurious. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wader, kurious

        If the gop won't work why should they get paid?

        I've worked a little in the past five years. Part time. Every job wanted me to do the work of at least three people for minimum wage!

        The last job, was a govt training program.

        The owner/host agency, boss ordered me to do the work of four people, he literally barked orders at me. Do this, you're doing it wrong, lift this heavy stuff even if you're a five ft 2 physically disabled woman, etc.

        He immediately hired someone to replace me when I'd done ten years (that had never gotten done) amount of work.

        He constantly complained about me. Let her (my imminent replacement), do absolutely nothing while fawning all over her. And she's a total idiot. But so is he.

        Then fired me after six weeks, when he didn't need me anymore.

        And the dude was totally psychologically abusive to me the entire time I worked there!

        i have a Bachelor's Degree and 18 Graduate credits.
         

        Brought To You By That Crazed Sociologist/Media Fanatic rebel ga Be The Change You Want To See In The World! Gandhi

        by rebel ga on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 10:28:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  "Where are all the funds coming from (5+ / 0-)

      that run the government?"

      ...Not to mention financed the last Republican president's little overseas adventures in Afghanistan and Iraq.

      It's funny...the Republicans don't seem to be against taxation as long as the money is being used to kill people...

      It's only stuff like feeding people, creating jobs, rebuilding roads, you know, those anti-American kinds of things, that they don't like very much. Funny, that. :D

      Climate activists unite: we need a symbol. A name. A vision. Join the discussion.

      by Eowyn9 on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 07:37:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right you are Eowyn9 . To be fair, the President (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eowyn9, allenjo

        and Congress have experience funding stimulus projects, just need to do here what they have been doing abroad

          The Secret Building Boom of the Obama Years

        America Begins Nation-Building at Home
        (Provided Your Home is the Middle East)
        By Nick Turse

        A billion dollars from the federal government: that kind of money could go a long way toward revitalizing a country’s aging infrastructure.  It could provide housing or better water and sewer systems.  It could enhance a transportation network or develop an urban waterfront.  It could provide local jobs.  It could do any or all of these things.  And, in fact, it did.  It just happened to be in the Middle East, not the United States.

        The Pentagon awarded $667.2 million in contracts in 2012, and more than $1 billion during Barack Obama’s first term in office for construction projects in largely autocratic Middle Eastern nations, according to figures provided to TomDispatch by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Middle East District (USACE-MED).  More than $178 million in similar funding is already anticipated for 2013.  These contracts represent a mix of projects, including expanding and upgrading military bases used by U.S. troops in the region, building facilities for indigenous security forces, and launching infrastructure projects meant to improve the lives of local populations.

        The figures are telling, but far from complete.  They do not, for example, cover any of the billions spent on work at the more than 1,000 U.S. and coalition bases, outposts, and other facilities in Afghanistan or the thousands more manned by local forces.  They also leave out construction projects undertaken in the region by other military services like the U.S. Air Force, as well as money spent at an unspecified number of bases in the Middle East that the Corps of Engineers “has no involvement with,” according to Joan Kibler, chief of the Middle East District’s public affairs office.

        Move Single Payer Forward? Join 18,000 Doctors of PNHP and 185,000 member National Nurses United

        by divineorder on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 08:06:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  GOP.....getting smaller by the minute. (4+ / 0-)
  •  End of the counterinsurgency plan and on to (4+ / 0-)

    the Biden counterterrorism plan in Afghanistan.

    President Obama, January 9, 2012: "Change is hard, but it is possible. I've Seen it. I've Lived it."

    by Drdemocrat on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 07:08:22 AM PST

  •  I usually watch these on CSPAN (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OleHippieChick, FiredUpInCA

    along with the predictably moronic GOP address. And I've noticed that CSPAN tend to edit the WH video to make Obama appear in extreme closeup, to the point where he looks ominous and threatening.

    Take a look at last week's address. First the official WH version:

    And now the CSPAN version:

    Why would they do this? Notice that in the few seconds of the start of the GOP address at the end of the Obama address, the GOP speaker (Dave Camp) isn't in close-up. I suppose that this is in "CNN made Obama's skin appear darker!" territory, but this has been going on for some time and I'm puzzled as to why they'd do this. Technical reasons or something else?

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 07:19:21 AM PST

    •  I tweet-linked your comment to c-span (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kovie

      and asked them what their intentions are. Maybe they'll reply.

      I ♥ President Obama. ~ Yes, we did. Again.
      NOW: Hands off SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid. NO Grand Bargain.
      Rich pay a bit more. DoD take a bit less. End war on Afghanistan sooner.

      by OleHippieChick on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 07:38:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The above example wasn't even the worst (3+ / 0-)

        I've seen some where the only parts of Obama's face that were in the frame were from his forehead to his chin. It had this creepy "Big Brother" quality to it that I had a hard time believing was due to lousy editing.

        I've long sensed that CSPAN has a subtle but clear RW tilt, especially in its programming, which while certainly containing much progressive content, has tended to have much more conservative content, and engaged in much false equivalence, e.g. "If we're going to have Katrina vandel Heuvel on, then we have to have Ann Coulter on too". It's WJ guests tend to skew right, with the average guest being a center-right insider pimping establishment mantra.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 07:49:53 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  SHAME. Brian Lamb is having a shitfit somewhere. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kovie

          They haven't jumped to answer my twitted query either. I assume the worst.

          I ♥ President Obama. ~ Yes, we did. Again.
          NOW: Hands off SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid. NO Grand Bargain.
          Rich pay a bit more. DoD take a bit less. End war on Afghanistan sooner.

          by OleHippieChick on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 08:13:15 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I always assumed that Lamb leaned right (0+ / 0-)

            Worked for Nixon and all.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 08:32:13 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I first made acquaintance with c-span (0+ / 0-)

              when they broadcast the Iran-Contra flapdoodle. Lamb was devotedly non-partisan and made a point of stressing the neutrality of c-span. They had a rep.

              I ♥ President Obama. ~ Yes, we did. Again.
              NOW: Hands off SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid. NO Grand Bargain.
              Rich pay a bit more. DoD take a bit less. End war on Afghanistan sooner.

              by OleHippieChick on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 08:43:47 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Me too, glued to it in college (0+ / 0-)

                But that was live coverage of congressional hearings, which doesn't lend itself to much bias. I'm talking about how they fill up all that time when congress is not in session and there's only so much taped congressional proceedings you can show. E.g. guests on WJ, panels, book readings, etc. These, IMO, have tended to lean somewhat right for years, well before Lamb retired.

                "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                by kovie on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 08:56:28 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, WJ infuriated me many many times (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kovie

                  over the years. I don't watch anymore but can believe, like all else, that it's worse than ever.

                  I ♥ President Obama. ~ Yes, we did. Again.
                  NOW: Hands off SocSec, Medicare and Medicaid. NO Grand Bargain.
                  Rich pay a bit more. DoD take a bit less. End war on Afghanistan sooner.

                  by OleHippieChick on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 09:08:53 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

    •  A guess (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      winsock, kovie

      The White House video is widescreen and high definition, whereas CSPAN is obviously showing a 4:3 standard definition downconvert.

      The aspect ratio difference accounts for cropping on the sides, but not on the top and bottom of the screen.  However, high def has 1080 active lines per frame, whereas standard definition has only 480 lines per frame.  And while a good conversion will use all 1080 lines of the original to derive the 480 lines for standard definition, my guess is that CSPAN is not using a good converter.  The easiest way to convert would be to take the middle 960 lines and convert those down to 480, since that would simply require combining two lines from the HD original to get the standard definition version.

      If this is what they're doing, the content in the top and bottom 60 lines would get chopped off.

      Note that I'm not excusing this -- by now, decent downconverters can't be expensive, so if this is the cause then CSPAN really needs to update their equipment.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 08:50:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Perhaps (0+ / 0-)

        But given that CSPAN is owned and run by the cable and satellite industry, it's hard to imagine that they don't know how to do this properly. Then again, for months now my TW CSPAN feed has had a distinctly left-channel imbalance that I don't get on other channels, so maybe they really are that incompetent.

        Still, I can see how a mouthbreather watching Obama's weekly addresses might view him as some evil tyrant come to take away their gubs.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 09:56:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I am a big critic of the Pres....but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MargaretPOA, divineorder

    at least he has a clue on how not to fight a terrorist.   I just wish he had done this sooner.  

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 07:20:09 AM PST

  •  My republican alter ego... (0+ / 0-)

    I oppose any legislation that might in any way, shape or form benefit the American people unless we can find a way to do it without spending a penny on them now or any time in the future so let's go ahead in time (Mitt's magic underwear time machine) and restore our future to being the future of the past....without spending anything on it.

  •  good thing the war is ending on schedule (3+ / 0-)

    Back in the day someone would wave a white flag, nowadays our wars are run like a corporate project. Which they are, and that is the real problem we need to solve.

    "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

    by US Blues on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 07:37:52 AM PST

  •  Once again, Obama continues to clean up the (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ModerateJosh, Leo Flinnwood

    mess "W" got us into.  

    Why do I feel like Obama's presidency has been spent cleaning up and undoing all all the Bush/Cheney f**k-ups.  

    He should get a guarantee on ANOTHER 8 years to try and accomplish the things he campaigned on but that the GOP continues to stonewall.

  •  Rebuild America??? (0+ / 0-)

    Surely you jest. The goal of this Republican Congress is to destroy America, not rebuild it. Get ready for more GOP obstinance.

    We really need to vote these assholes out of office.

    Only the weak & defeated are called to account for their crimes.

    by rreabold on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 07:54:58 AM PST

  •  They will still continue to use drones (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SpecialKinFlag, snoopydawg

    all over the place, right?
    Cause America loves its drones

  •  Past time I'd say. (0+ / 0-)

    And can we please include a component of prosecuting the people who lied us into war and who cheated us into recession? Thank you.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 08:00:10 AM PST

  •  And let's rebuild it green (3+ / 0-)

    With no fracking or drilling.  Wars kill but so does poison and climate.

    An idea is not responsible for who happens to be carrying it at the moment. It stands or falls on its own merits.

    by don mikulecky on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 08:04:09 AM PST

  •  About damned time, and not soon enough! /nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  We will never leave Afghanistan... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snoopydawg

    ...not so long as there's oil there. [see fn 1]

    Just like our so-called 'withdrawal' from Iraq. And at last year's US invasion of Libya. Oil. Plain and simple.

    I learned certain ways of looking at the world thirty, forty years ago, and they worked. It was a lot of effort acquiring that knowledge and expertise, but it explained international affairs just fine. Did then, did now.

    But now, I'm too old, and too tired, to go through such an expenditure a second time. Imperialism is imperialism, it just is. It only looks like things change -- and certainly they don't change enough to require that I change.

    [1] Or nickel. I'm not sure which, but I am sure it doesn't matter. Or the gas pipeline. But that's quibbling over details.

    "Politics is not the art of the possible.
    It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable" J.K. Galbraith

    by Davis X Machina on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 08:18:47 AM PST

  •  indeed, "Home" has gone (0+ / 0-)

    to hell in a hand-cart.

    If that was your inference Mr. President, you were spot on.

    Let's fix this place, not that one.

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 08:19:15 AM PST

  •  My effective tax rate is 39% (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    winsock, squarewheel

    and I work 12 hours a day. I only can get one significant deduction at tax time.

    My neighbor, who makes 215K, has an effective tax rate of 17% He has dozens of tax deductions calculated to lower his income for tax purposes.

    I pay for his gambling wealth with my work income. Simple as that.

    I only ask the Democratic members of Congress and the Predident of the United States who will get the peace dividend? I suspect... the answer will be the same as it has been since Saint Ronald Reagan.

    The wealth of the nation will go to to those who make money from gambling income, and those who depend on work income will be taxed more.

    Anyone who claims there is any other issue in this Great United States has his head up his groundhog hole.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 08:43:34 AM PST

    •  A financial transaction tax (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OregonOak, squarewheel

      would be a step in the right direction.  Currently, it's pretty miniscule (0.0034%), but if the FTT were raised to .025% - .5% (perhaps a bit less for bonds and derivatives) we could easily raise $150-200 billion in annual revenue without placing an undue burden on anyone.

      Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

      by winsock on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 09:10:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Right. And how about eliminating some of those (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        winsock, squarewheel

        deductions the rich get and we dont get? Seems to me the whole budget deficit problem is a sham when you look at the giveaways for those who really dont need them.

        Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

        by OregonOak on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 10:21:56 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, that is what (0+ / 0-)

          irks me the most.  I do not care how much money others make, but I care about special tax advantages and loopholes that require a Rolls Royce to drive through.  Same goes for corporate welfare.

          Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.

          by winsock on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 10:33:18 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  amazing how the 1% can write the laws (0+ / 0-)

          you'd think, base on number of people voting, that wouldn't be possible, wouldn't you.

          Yeah, voting matters. kind of.

          big badda boom : GRB 090423

          by squarewheel on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 12:00:36 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Address the "War on Drugs" properly (0+ / 0-)

    ..and gun violence will go down across the nation.

    In Mexico too.

    Poor people have too much money and vote too often. Republican platform plank, 1980 - present

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 08:53:18 AM PST

  •  Nation Building starts HERE (0+ / 0-)

    Our country has gone downhill for a long time with little investment in infrastructure like bridges, roads, high speed trains, educaton for our children and sophisticated science for quite some time.  Meanwhile, Congress fiddles away its time with trying to cut women's health care, threatening shut down and passing completely silly bills recognizing this or that place, person or thing.  

    THAT is really the outrage we should be screaming about...NOT taking away our guns.  I'd gladly give up all my guns and my family's guns for a better investment in our nation's future.  

    Citizens have not been told but we are falling rapidly behind the progress of other developed countries.  Not a good sign.  

  •  About time. We have been trying to destroy it (0+ / 0-)

    since the Reagan era.

    If... the machine of government... is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law. ~Henry David Thoreau, On the Duty of Civil Disobediance, 1849

    by shigeru on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 09:24:02 AM PST

  •  We were ready to do this in Jan, 2009 (0+ / 0-)

    Mr. President.

    But builders need tools. Unless we're going to stop having a capitalist society, you can't get anything done without money. Without spending money.

    We aren't going to get one damned thing on your list done unless you stop being allergic to spending money.

    You remind me of the king who demanded that the farmgirl spin straw into gold.  Or the Egyptians who demanded that the Israelites make bricks without straw (straw always comes into it somehow!)

    if necessary for years; if necessary, alone

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 10:08:13 AM PST

  •  the deficit is shrinking (0+ / 0-)

    what's wrong with him that he doesn't understand that it's the deficit relative to gdp that matters ?

    build the economy and you shrink the deficit.

    big badda boom : GRB 090423

    by squarewheel on Sat Jan 12, 2013 at 11:58:46 AM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site