An ObamaSpeak Translator: The Presidential Address on Afghanistan
For there should be no doubt that so long as I am President, the United States will never tolerate a safe-haven for those who aim to kill us: they cannot elude us, nor escape the justice they deserve. Translation: Iran doesn’t count.
My fellow Americans, this has been a difficult decade for our country. We have learned anew the profound cost of war -- a cost that has been paid by the nearly 4,500 Americans who have given their lives in Iraq, and the over 1,500 who have done so in Afghanistan -- men and women who will not live to enjoy the freedom that they defended. Translation: Obama 2012: Anti-war Again.
Thousands more have been wounded. Some have lost limbs on the field of battle, and others still battle the demons that have followed them home.
Yet tonight, we take comfort in knowing that the tide of war is receding. Translation: We’re retreating.
Fewer of our sons and daughters are serving in harm's way. We have ended our combat mission in Iraq, with 100,000 American troops already out of that country. Translation: I’m not comfortable with the word “victory.”
And even as there will be dark days ahead in Afghanistan, the light of a secure peace can be seen in the distance. These long wars will come to a responsible end. Translation: The President will not be answering questions at this time.
As they do, we must learn their lessons. Translation: ?
Already this decade of war has caused many to question the nature of America's engagement around the world. Some would have America retreat from our responsibility as an anchor of global security, and embrace an isolation that ignores the very real threats that we face. Others would have America over-extend ourselves, confronting every evil that can be found abroad. We must chart a more centered course. Translation: I have no definable policy. Don’t ask me about Libya vs. Syria.
Like generations before, we must embrace America's singular role in the course of human events. Translation: It is what it is.
But we must be as pragmatic as we are passionate; as strategic as we are resolute. Translation: I have no definable policy.
When threatened, we must respond with force -- but when that force can be targeted, we need not deploy large armies overseas. Translation: Lawyers.
When innocents are being slaughtered and global security endangered, we don't have to choose between standing idly by or acting on our own. Instead, we must rally international action, which we are doing in Libya, where we do not have a single soldier on the ground, but are supporting allies in protecting the Libyan people and giving them the chance to determine their destiny. Translation: Kinetic. Military. Action.
In all that we do, we must remember that what sets America apart is not solely our power -- it is the principles upon which our union was founded. We are a nation that brings our enemies to justice while adhering to the rule of law, and respecting the rights of all our citizens. Translation: To my base: I wanted civilian trials.
We protect our own freedom and prosperity by extending it to others. Translation: Uh oh, here we are talking about prosperity. Danger! Danger!
We stand not for empire, but for self-determination. Translation: That’s what the people from the Non-Aligned Movement told me to say.
That is why we have a stake in the democratic aspirations that are now washing across the Arab World. We will support those revolutions with fidelity to our ideals, with the power of our example, and with an unwavering belief that all human beings deserve to live with freedom and dignity. Translation: As long as it doesn’t require troops.
Above all, we are a nation whose strength abroad has been anchored in opportunity for our citizens at home. Translation: Here we go, pivoting to the economy. Ugh.
Over the last decade, we have spent a trillion dollars on war, at a time of rising debt and hard economic times. Translation: I inherited this economy.
Now, we must invest in America's greatest resource -- our people. Translation: Spend, spend, spend!
We must unleash innovation that creates new jobs and industry, while living within our means. Translation: I choose not to define “our means.”
We must rebuild our infrastructure and find new and clean sources of energy. Translation: Chevy. Volt.
And most of all, after a decade of passionate debate, we must recapture the common purpose that we shared at the beginning of this time of war. Translation: Let’s all unite behind me!
For our nation draws strength from our differences, and when our union is strong no hill is too steep and no horizon is beyond our reach. Translation: My election prospects right now don’t look too good.
America, it is time to focus on nation building here at home. Translation: Great New Society Deal Spend Spend Public Option.
In this effort, we draw inspiration from our fellow Americans who have sacrificed so much on our behalf. To our troops, our veterans and their families, I speak for all Americans when I say that we will keep our sacred trust with you, and provide you with the care, and benefits, and opportunity that you deserve. Translation: Except being able to vote while active duty.
I met some of those patriotic Americans at Fort Campbell. Translation: OK, I was supposed to give this speech at Fort Drum, but I like it better here at the White House.
A while back, I spoke to the 101st Airborne that has fought to turn the tide in Afghanistan, and to the team that took out Osama bin Laden. Translation: I like the troops! I really, really do!
Standing in front of a model of bin Laden's compound, the Navy SEAL who led that effort paid tribute to those who had been lost -- brothers and sisters in arms whose names are now written on bases where our troops stand guard overseas, and on headstones in quiet corners of our country where their memory will never be forgotten. Translation: Plouffe, you magnificent bastard.
This officer -- like so many others I have met with on bases, in Baghdad and Bagram, at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospital -- spoke with humility about how his unit worked together as one -- depending on each other, and trusting one another, as a family might do in a time of peril. That's a lesson worth remembering -- that we are all a part of one American family. Translation: Socialism.
Though we have known disagreement and division, we are bound together by the creed that is written into our founding documents, and a conviction that the United States of America is a country that can achieve whatever it sets out to accomplish. Translation: I threw that b**** in the ocean.
Now, let us finish the work at hand. Let us responsibly end these wars, and reclaim the American Dream that is at the center of our story. With confidence in our cause; with faith in our fellow citizens; and with hope in our hearts, let us go about the work of extending the promise of America -- for this generation, and the next. Translation: Social Security will go insolvent for our kids’ kids.
May God bless our troops. And may God bless the United States of America. Translation: My staff insisted I say this.
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