President Barack Obama missed the perfect chance to explain his plans to bring American troops home from Afghanistan during his nationally televised speech from the war zone, the New York Times
claimed on Wednesday.
“The White House set it up as a big moment, but the president squandered the chance to fully explain his exit strategy from a war Americans are desperate to see brought to an end,” the Times said in an editorial.
Calling Obama’s speech from the Bagram Air Base “frustratingly short on specifics,” the liberal bastion of the establishment said, “Mr. Obama didn’t explain what the United States and its allies planned to do to improve the training of Afghan forces so they can hold off the Taliban. Nor did he explain what President Hamid Karzai plans to do to rein in the corruption and incompetence that are the hallmark of his leadership and that have alienated so many of his own people, playing into the hands of the Taliban.”
The paper said even the one thing that the trip did accomplish, the signing of a strategic partnership with the Karzai-government, “is also short on specifics.”
“We are increasingly concerned that Mr. Obama does not have a clear policy to ensure that the country does not implode once the Americans are gone,” the Times said.
The Times said the timing of the visit, to coincide with the first anniversary of the killing of Osama bin Laden, was “contrived,” but lauded the president for using “only a tinge of triumphalism.”
“Mr. Obama’s strongest argument for staying in Afghanistan for another two years is that it is the main base for continuing that fight and that, by 2014, the United States will be able to withdraw without seeing it turn once again into a haven for Al Qaeda. He didn’t make the case Tuesday night,” the editorial concluded.”
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