December 1st, 2009
08:37 PM ET
7 months ago

Obama: Firm timeframe for U.S. commitment necessary

President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he was setting a timetable for the U.S. military commitment in Afghanistan to raise pressure for progress.
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he was setting a timetable for the U.S. military commitment in Afghanistan to raise pressure for progress.

WEST POINT, New York (CNN) - President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he was setting a timetable for the U.S. military commitment in Afghanistan to raise pressure for progress.

In announcing the deployment of 30,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, Obama said he rejected the option of committing more forces for an undefined mission of nation-building without any deadlines.

"I reject this course because it sets goals that are beyond what we can achieve at a reasonable cost, and what we need to achieve to secure our interests," Obama said. "Furthermore, the absence of a timeframe for transition would deny us any sense of urgency in working with the Afghan government. It must be clear that Afghans will have to take responsibility for their security, and that America has no interest in fighting an endless war in Afghanistan."


Filed under: Afghanistan • President Obama
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Donald

    I agree 100 per cent with a timeline and timeframe. What our President said is that the time for the Afgan people to sieze their destiny is NOW! It is up to them to now decide what future they want for THEIR nation.

    The days of mindless open ended commitments are over. To our generals the time to hit the ground is now. You wanted the troops, you now have them but beware, President Obama will hold you accountable and that's the way it should be.

    December 1, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  2. In 3 years he'll be campaigning...

    Isn't it convenient? July 2011 will be the campaign season. Do you think his choice of 3 years is purely political or what?

    Obviously, 3 years is based on when he'll be campaigning heavily. The 3 year time-table is pure politics, "Straight up"!

    December 1, 2009 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  3. mjm

    There is a big difference fro having a timetable AND TELLING PEOPLE ABOUT IT!

    You express the urgency behind closed doors, not in public. You accomplish the mission WITHOUT showing your hand to the enemy.

    The only reason to openly state a timetable is political. He has to save face with the liberals while putting troops at greater risk with a timetable.

    Worse CC ever.

    December 1, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  4. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    It takes an Obama to clean up a Bush's mess and what a mess he left. Karzai had to be told Bush doesn't write your check and the American people won't be writing it anymore.

    December 1, 2009 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  5. catsavy

    Ok ,so now that he has announced a date for withdrawal.how do we know the Taliban won't head to the hills for a vacation and then return to slaughter everyone once the troops pull out.

    December 1, 2009 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  6. Commitment

    How about holding Afghanistans leaders to a firm time table to standup nd do the right thing, a time table to end corruption and a time table to have un-rigged elections ?

    December 1, 2009 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  7. lila

    I think the time line is not firm. what I heard was "based on conditions on the ground like Iraq". That was slipped in.. but it was a clear dog whistle.. it said.. "18 months is my goal.. but goals can need to be refined. Obama is taking the classic formula to success by setting a goal. Open end means dithering around. Obama has a goal.. Obama is goal oriented and that is one reason he is a winner. He sets a goal and keeps his eye on the ball. In 18 months if he is close to reaching his goal he will refine the time line to reach it. In 18 months if his goal is still far beyond reach.. we will not stay the course.. he will rethink the mission and what needs to be done based on conditions on the ground.

    I don't know why people can't understand Obama. He is so simple for me to understand.

    December 1, 2009 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  8. Don

    three years in "war time" is "infinity" since so many political and military changes can take place. This plan to withdraw troops can be considered merely a smoke in the eyes of the liberals (including those on the Nobel peace prize committee)!

    December 1, 2009 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  9. JIM

    PHOT OPS and long winded speaches BORING and expected.
    BLA BLA BLA OBAMA has never told the truth, Ill wait for his actions.
    CLIMATEGATE and the ECONOMY CNN you ignore the real stories.

    December 1, 2009 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  10. valwayne

    Great strategy for progress. Let the Taliban and Terrorists know that you are desperate to get out even as you put the troops in?

    December 1, 2009 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  11. New Yorker

    He's set a scenario that allows him to fail. This is a "war of necessity" as he proclaimed, and a war of necessity is a war that needs to be won.

    December 1, 2009 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  12. Joan

    He said he wants to BEGIN to withdraw troops in eighteen months. That will also be contingent with the situation on the ground. He did not say at all that he was ending the war then. Stop reading more into this and exaggerating the timeline. It is a guideline not a timeline.

    December 1, 2009 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  13. Shane

    I remember when Bush made hes war time speech everyone was up in arms about him not giving us a deadline and now we are putting it to President Obama for giving one.We need to look at the common sense part of strategy,they change. Bush was slammed many times for changing stratagy and contridicting him self. As war and battles change you have to change with it . Obama simply made a goal and is going to have to try to hold everyone to it.To do this he has to set a deadline even if he may not be able to stick to it. Also we are wanting to much out of every speech.This was much more of a why than a how speech. Which I am find with not knowing as long as our troops know the how.

    December 1, 2009 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  14. surprised??

    GENIUS!!!

    tell the enemy when we're leaving

    December 1, 2009 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  15. SSG C

    Mr. President don't worry the troops of the United States will work hard to acomplish the mission no matter what it is. It is our duty and honor to serve and defend the Constitution of the United States. We will make it happen as we have done for the last 234 years. AIRBORNE!!!

    December 2, 2009 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  16. Joshua College Station Texas

    Who can argue with that?

    I know Republicans will try.

    December 2, 2009 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  17. Dwayne

    Obama has made a decision. Deal with it. You don't like it? Get over it. If you're so intelligent and have all the answers, just out of curiosity, why are you not the President of the U.S.? He' doing exactly what he said he would do. Great Job Obama!

    December 2, 2009 12:18 am at 12:18 am |