Drunkblogging Obama's Afghanistan Speech

4:39PM I'm watching CNN's online stream. And I'm so desperate after all these press conferences that I've decided to forego the usual, fancy name-brand martinis. Instead, I've taken a jug of McCormick and poured it over a large bucket of ice. One way or another, this is gonna be ugly.

4:44PM So you know, here's where I'm coming from. Most of my Army buddies disagree with me, but I always figured John McCain's formula of "muddling through" in Afghanistan was the right one. I couldn't see that we had any vital interests in that (not-quite-a-) country, other than as a place to kill bad guys who were trying to kill us.

But President Obama promised us a bigger war, and now he seems poised to give us a bigger war. Again. And it's on his premises that I'll judge his speech.

CORRECTION: His premises, but my vodka.

4:48PM CNN's web feed is surprisingly, refreshingly free of talking heads. Maybe Obama will forget to show up.

No, wait -- that would just lead to extra Anderson Cooper, and I'm not sure my liver could take it.

4:49PM Ha! The officer speaking is having to remind the cadets to stand and applaud, because President Obama "is our commander-in-chief." Think anyone had to remind cadets to be nice to the last president?

4:51PM I mean, he's STILL going on about protocol. Reminds me of a story I heard at BlogWorld last month down in Vegas. I can't give many details, but another Army officers had to remind his soldiers to applaud politely when Obama spoke. Not young, inexperienced cadets, but hardened battle veterans.

4:54PM Hillary Clinton is in attendance tonight, marking the first room she and Obama have been in together since the Democratic National Convention last summer. Even then, some protocol experts were uncertain whether the Pepsi Center would be big enough.

4:56PM Can't take the speech? Then why not wind down with very special episodes of "Hair of the Dog" and "Trifecta" on PJTV?

4:58PM The hold music CNN is playing between speeches was orchestrated for people who find the stylings of Spyro Gyra to be "too rambunctious."

5:00PM The hold music is off, it must be time...

5:01PM I'd really like to hear just one cadet shout, "Freebird!"

5:02PM Nice tie.

5:03PM "Our effort in Afghanistan." "The scope of our interests." He did finally use the word "war," but not before framing everything in academicese.

5:05PM Ode to the religion of peace? Check. (Bush did this one, too.) Reminder of untied effort, circa 2001? Check.

5:07PM Re-legitimizing the Afghan president he spent weeks delegitimizing? Check. Reminder that the Iraq War was a big Bush mistake? Check. Use of the phrase "responsible close" instead of "victory" in Iraq? Check. Time for third extra large cocktail? Check.

5:08PM Second reminder that the Afghan government is legit? Check -- but I didn't see that one coming. Karzai must not be polling well. In this country, I mean.

5:08PM "Troop levels remain a fraction" what they were in Iraq. True enough. 7/10ths is a fraction.

5:09PM OK, kids -- my browser is refreshing more slowly. That means our server is getting strained. Try not to hit "Refresh" more than every minute or two. Please!

5:10PM A THIRD reminder that the Afghan government is legit? Check, check, check. We get it.

5:11PM "A mission clearly defined and worthy of your service." Followed by the night's first "let me be clear." Everybody take a shot.

5:12PM "As commander-in-chief..." he's decided to send an additional 30,000 troops for 30 months.

That's not a strategic decision. That's a new-car warranty.

5:13PM Anyway, we've got the number -- the rest is fluff. So let's get on with the poking fun. And the drinking. Dear lord, the drinking.

5:14PM "I've seen first hand the terrible wages of war." It was at a late night photo op here in the US, where nine of ten military families said "no thanks" to the photo op. But still... Bambi is young. And being President is HARD.

5:15PM "We must increase the pressure on al Qaeda." I'm still not convinced that we can't do that by firing craploads of Hellfire missiles into Pakistan's NWFT. But that's just me.

5:16PM Deny AQ a safe haven, protect the government, strengthen the government. Fair enough. But how?

5:17PM "The fastest possible pace" for deployment. We sent a brigade a month to Iraq for that surge. And one per quarter for the current surge. See the Hair of the Dog link above for details.

5:18PM "July of 2011." Congrats, AQ. Keep your head down until then, and you'll do fine.

Again, these are not strategic decisions the President has made after ten months of review. This is kicking the can further down the road, but with a slightly bigger boot.

5:20PM "We're in Afghanistan to prevent a cancer... from spreading in that country." I thought it was to kill American-killing baddies. Although the tough talk about cross-border killing in Pakistan is tough, smart, and right.

5:22PM Obama sounded like he was going to get specific about what he was going to ask of our NATO allies a couple minutes ago... but then skirted it. Have we already been told "No more!" by Britain, Germany and France?

5:23PM Afghanistan is not another Vietnam! Well, of course it isn't. Obama would never have sent more troops to fight communists.

5:23PM "There are those..." First of the night! Everybody drink.

5:24PM "There are those..." number two! Shoot a double, folks.

5:26PM Camera shifted to Hillary, who looks more bored than the cadets, and more disdainful than Darth Vader confronting an Imperial Janitor who left a dustbunny trailing on Vader's cape.

5:27PM Great. We're going to fight with more soldiers... and less money? What do you want to bet that the Army and Marines won't get any fresh spare parts until 2015 at the earliest?

5:28PM "The nation I'm most interested in building is our own."

With all due respect, Mr. President, that's not your goddamn job. We, the people, build this nation. And we'd get back to doing just that, if you'd quit taxing and spending and regulating us back into Galt's Gulch.

5:28PM Did you know that we "can't kill or capture every" single extremist in the world? Huh.

5:30PM "Finally..." you'll excuse the lack of blogging while I give a silent prayer.

5:30PM "Respect for the dignity of all peoples" is what we're all about.

Again, it's governance-as-model-UN time in the Obama Administration.

5:32PM He talks of walls coming down and millions lifted out of poverty... and never once recognizes HOW THESE THINGS HAPPENED. It's magic!

5:33PM "We are still heirs to a noble struggle for freedom." Freedom to owe China extra trillions? Freedom to buy mandated insurance? What is this freedom of which he speaks?

5:34PM "...we were united." Well, yeah, until the going got hard -- that happens in war sometimes -- and people like Obama jumped ship.

5:35PM "The message we send in the midst of these storms is..." uh... "bring an umbrella?"

5:37PM Bad writing. Lame delivery. Tepid response -- from cadets ORDERED to be nice.

And a strategic vision equal parts High School Essay Content and low-rent public relations.

I hope you had as much to drink as I did.

5:42PM Bad writing. Lame delivery. Tepid response -- from cadets ORDERED to be nice.

And a strategic vision equal parts High School Essay Content and low-rent public relations.

I hope you had as much to drink as I did.

5:48PM You can find my final thoughts here -- but I warn you, it ain't pretty.