Over the past several weeks, President Barack Obama has taken fire from both sides over the presence of the U.S. military in Afghanistan. And on Wednesday night, he faced the American people in a short address and made clear his plans to draw down the U.S. presence in the central Asian nation.
However, immediately following the speech, on the coverage aired on the Fox News Channel, syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer noted the irony of a speech he deemed anti-war coming from a president that raised troop numbers in Afghanistan and also launched military strikes against Libya.
“This is a remarkable speech,” Krauthammer said. “This is a commander-in-chief who tripled the number of our troop in Afghanistan and launched us in the intervention in Libya delivering what is essentially an anti-war speech. This speech in which he said we have to come home and rebuild America. This is a speech in which he says the era of the wars is ending. This is a speech that prepares him for the presidential campaign as a man who is noting an inflection point in which he says it is the beginning of the end.”
Krauthammer noted Obama specifically mentioned his successful mission that led to the death of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden, but questioned the timing of such drawdowns that happen to occur at the height of a reelection bid.
“And he did that rather cleverly by twice citing and spending significant amount of time on the bin Laden operation as a way to saying, ‘Here is what i have done. If all of this is a result of 9/11, it is time to essentially come home.’ And he also included this detail about the withdraw of the surge troops to be completed in September implying that there was consideration of politics, the election next year and not what the commanders the ground had wanted which was driving the way he is withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan.”
According to Krauthammer, Obama was positioning himself as the anti-war guy with a peculiar choice of words.
“This is a man who is preparing the electorate to present himself as a man who is against the war and can end it without having used the word ‘success’ or ‘victory,’” he added.