Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html en-gb 30 Sat 27 Dec 2014 09:49:40 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html Scott0962 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=97#comment42 re. #31. At 00:19am on 01 Sep 2010, Andy Post wrote:"As far as our enemy's choice of tactics is concerned, asymmetrical warfare is largely ineffective. The comparison to Vietnam that Mark makes doesn't hold water. The Vietcong and the NVA fought a conventional war for the most part. They went toe to toe with our troops and inflicted significant casualties. That's what won them their country."You better read some history. The Vietcong inflicted casualties to be sure but were beaten every time they stood up to our troops in Vietnam. The Tet Offensive which was intended to demonstrate their power was a disastrous defeat for them in military terms although the press turned it into a propaganda victory for them. Even the North Vietnamese regulars had very little success against American troops in the face of overwhelming artillery and air support. It wasn't until American troops withdrew that the North Vietnamese regular army backed by artillery and tanks defeated the ARVN and united the country. Unlike North Vietnam, the Taliban have no seaports or rail lines connecting them to outside sources of supply, anything they use has to be carried in on their backs or on pack animals, that limits their selection of arms significantly unless they can convince Afghan units to defect and bring their heavy equipment with them. Wed 01 Sep 2010 16:53:02 GMT+1 Scott0962 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=95#comment41 He may be commander in chief but Obama shows an appalling lack of leadership in the role. Telling the 50,000 American troops still in Iraq that their comrades died and they are still deployed there because of a mistake is hardly the way to lift their spirits or inspire them to greater effort. In spite of his attempts to gussy it up with talk about America being more secure his remark was a slap in the face to the friends and families of the 4,400 American service people who lost their lives there and to the thousands more who were maimed and wounded. And it certainly won't help relations with our allies either. "Sorry, it was all a big mistake. Too bad about your casualties, we'll do better next time. By the way, could you lend us a little more help in Afghnistan?" I wonder if they'll remember how glad they were to see Bush out and Obama in. Wed 01 Sep 2010 16:33:27 GMT+1 tuulen http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=93#comment40 "There are parallels with the wind down of operations in Afghanistan." -MMPerhaps there could be parallels with the attempted wind down of operations in Afghanistan, but the overall scope of the conditions and the military objectives in Afghanistan appear to be quite different to those encountered in Iraq. For instance, in Iraq there was, and currently is, considerable conflict between various factions, notably between Suuni and Shia, not to ignore the troubles the Kurds could encounter, too, but the conflict in Afghanistan appears to be directly between the Taliban and the invading military forces, as Al Qaeda appears to be all but insignificant in the current conflict, other than as a military objective. The invading military forces might outnumber the Taliban by something like five to one, but perhaps Afghanistan could also have become a sort of magnet, to attract militarized Taliban supporters from Afghanistan and from other lands near to Afghanistan, and so the invading military forces apparently could now face a virtually unlimited Taliban faction, one with no known or definite number of activist reserves.The odds of "striking a deal" with the Taliban seem remote, frankly, as apparently the Taliban base their own ideology on an ancient religion, one which could afford to ignore any current Western political objectives. Such resistance to the objectives of the invading military forces apparently leads to but one conclusion, that the military forces must completely eliminate any Taliban resistance. Yet, even if all of the current Taliban personnel were eliminated, there remains the influence of their legacy and of the predominant ancient religion, all of which could in the future re-ignite a new but similar Taliban faction, to once again populate Afghanistan. To compound the difficulties, it appears that the official government of Afghanistan is willing to comply with Western standards of conduct, and is willing to attempt to contain and control the Taliban. Yet, that government's authority apparently goes little further than the boundary limits of the capitol city at this time, and, worse, that government also has a widespread reputation for being corrupt.In short, this pursuit appears to be a genuine quagmire for Western interests. Wed 01 Sep 2010 02:29:12 GMT+1 american grizzly http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=90#comment39 Typical liberal response, take a cheap shot at Bush, and claim Obama hasn't had enough time. How lame! Even Obama changed his tune on the people who have had enough. Obama said they had the right to complain. No kidding! Then Obama wants to reach across the aisle, maybe he knows more about the coming election than most? Hmmmm. Well the Democrats that are in my town attempted to raise taxes (every year now to date has succeeded), but now it was not enough. The council attempted to raise them twice in this year, the town financial meeting could fit the entire townspeople in when they voted not to accept it, they had to rotate them inside to vote. Oh, by the way the Democrats did not call it raising taxes, they called it "A language correction." The only problem was the people didn't buy it, the Democrats denied they knew, but the council of the other town, whom we share a regional school knew well over a year ago (That leadership didn't try to scapegoat the State). The State cut funding (what else is new) and told well in advance all towns. The Feds have stimulated State governments, now the States have cut off the towns. The list of houses for sale is skyrocketing, but guess what no one is buying.....Final note, my company laid off 23 more workers. From 500 workers down to 137 in about two years, no end in sight at this point the majority occuring after Obama took office with the Progressive tide of Van Jones, and the ACORN types, healthcare, stimulus, bailouts, war, trillions to Pakistan and others. Solution hire more IRS agents, 1099's to be filed with any purchase over $600 by businesses, among other dragnets to feed government..Rather than create jobs. A Bush Tax cut for those in the middle who earn under $200,000 a year, if they have a job. To put it bluntly, it just sucks out here in America these days. I can only think of one quote for Obama, it fits."Obama must be the greatest engineer in the world since he has drained, ditched, and damned the United States since being elected." A paraphrase of a Kansas farmer. Wed 01 Sep 2010 02:15:53 GMT+1 american grizzly http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=88#comment38 Good now bring them home and repel the foreign invaders of the US. Sent our troops right to the border. Lets secure our own country and future. Wed 01 Sep 2010 01:49:40 GMT+1 Bro_Winky http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=86#comment37 33. At 00:39am on 01 Sep 2010, LucyJ wrote: President Obama is a smart man, Harvard and all that, but we need someone to pick up the pieces and make our economy whole again.We also need him to stick up for America and be as patriotic as possible.-----------------“Patriotism is fierce as a fever, pitiless as the grave, blind as a stone and as irrational as a headless hen.” - Ambrose Bierce Wed 01 Sep 2010 01:40:07 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=83#comment36 35. At 01:21am on 01 Sep 2010, HabitualHero wrote:Every time the words "Bush" and "right" are used in the same sentence, an angel loses its wings.Fortunately, this is a rare occurence.____________Not as rare as you might think. Bush and "right wing" often appear in the same sentence.Somewhat predictably, though, with only a right wing things begin to spiral down ...... to a warmer place than that to which your Angels may be accustomed. Wed 01 Sep 2010 01:08:54 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=81#comment35 33. At 00:39am on 01 Sep 2010, LucyJ wrote:"President Obama is a smart man, Harvard and all that, but we need someone to pick up the pieces and make our economy whole again.""We also need him to stick up for America and be as patriotic as possible."____________When General De Gaulle unilaterally and precipitously ended the war in Algeria, France had been going through many similar economic problems to the ones America is going through now. It also had a situation of political polarization not entirely unlike what is found in America now, although, of course, with peculiarly French characteristics.Despite the stupidity, and clumsiness, and the foolishness of De Gaulle's actions*, once France was out of Algeria, to the surprise of many (including many French), France's economy took off just as if they had cut loose a millstone.You may not think President Obama has done well on this, but he has only been in office about 18 months. Armies are about logistics, and logistically speaking, getting an army of 160,000+ troops out of Iraq, in 18 months, is remarkably fast even accepting that 50,000 troops are still there in one capacity or another.The rule of thumb is that it costs roughly $1m per year to support an American soldier in a combat zone deployment. The pull-down in Iraq has been something over 100,000 men since January 20, 2009. That's $ 100B.*De Gaulle botched it so badly that the French Army attempted to have De Gaulle assassinated, that assassination attempt subsequently forming the backdrop for the very good film "The Day of The Jackal". Wed 01 Sep 2010 00:30:16 GMT+1 HabitualHero http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=79#comment34 #5 "He also will not admi(d)t that Bush was right"Every time the words "Bush" and "right" are used in the same sentence, an angel loses its wings.Fortunately, this is a rare occurence. Wed 01 Sep 2010 00:21:01 GMT+1 rodidog http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=76#comment33 " Yet it is another achievement for which President Obama will probably get little credit."And rightly so. It was the Bush surge that changed the direction of the war. It was the Bush negotiated withdrawal from Iraq of American troops which Obama has followed. To credit Obama for this achievement is like crediting Truman for winning WWII. The fact that Obama did not cut and run, as many hoped and or feared, is a credit to him and for that he should get credit. Wed 01 Sep 2010 00:13:04 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=74#comment32 BTW, by experience, I really meant economy experience.President Obama is a smart man, Harvard and all that, but we need someone to pick up the pieces and make our economy whole again.We also need him to stick up for America and be as patriotic as possible. Tue 31 Aug 2010 23:39:36 GMT+1 Interestedforeigner http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=72#comment31 Mark wrote:"For George W Bush it was unfinished business, which in its execution amply demonstrated why his father and Mrs Thatcher decided against finishing the job."..."As Iraq descended into civil war, a battle between ethnic factions Bush senior and Mrs Thatcher had foreseen, ..."____________Strongly disagree with these statements.What the Junior Bush administration demonstrated was not that intervention in Iraq was necessarily a bad idea, but the incompetent intervention in Iraq was a terrible idea.I do not believe for an instant that the reason the French were stopped 15 minutes short of Baghdad had anything to do with any carefully considered assessment by the governments of the US and UK that Iraq would descend into civil war. That strikes me as pure fantasy.At the time the western allies had 550,000 troops in Iraq, and broad world-wide support for their actions. Finishing the job would have been easy, and would have saved many, many lives. Tue 31 Aug 2010 23:23:45 GMT+1 Andy Post http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=69#comment30 Mark:The military is in excellent shape. It's ability to fight two wars on the other side of the globe without having to ask the rest of country for anything more than a few care packages is impressive to say the least. The quality of the American soldier is as good if not better than ever before. These guys are well educated. They are also highly motivated to fight.As far as our enemy's choice of tactics is concerned, asymmetrical warfare is largely ineffective. The comparison to Vietnam that Mark makes doesn't hold water. The Vietcong and the NVA fought a conventional war for the most part. They went toe to toe with our troops and inflicted significant casualties. That's what won them their country. This business of walking into a marketplace and setting off a bomb strapped to your body is spectacular, but militarily speaking it's worthless. Don't believe me? Let's take a look at our historical casualty rates*:WW II: 2600/weekCivil War: 1730/week (Union only)WW I: 1100/weekKorea: 230/weekVietnam: 140/week1812: 90/weekMexican: 85/weekIraq: 10/weekRemember, we're a country of 300 million people. That provides a huge pool of prospective soldiers (even allowing for the fact that most of the population is not eligible).Clearly, the casualty rates the military experienced in Iraq has been far below that which Americans have accepted in the past. Indeed, rather than being diminished, we seem to be more powerful than ever before.I don't see our wont to use our military might diminished one bit. Indeed, I'm afraid that we may choose to use it more, especially since we now are employing more and more robots to do the fighting for us.Perhaps a rediscovery of our isolationist tendencies would be best. I can only hope.________________* Very rough calculations. Tue 31 Aug 2010 23:19:09 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=67#comment29 Mabel wrote: it is an imperative expense to unify the nutty nation. -------------------------------------------------------------------------Well, in that case, Obama fits right in!!! ;) Tue 31 Aug 2010 23:15:21 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=65#comment28 Simon21 wrote: How would experience be relevant here? The present President has more experince than anyone he is likely to face in 2012. That does not automatically mean he is the best-------------------------------------------------------------------------Simon, if a Dr. suddenly had to operate on your body because you had appendicitis and needed your appendix taken out (all hypothetical- point being made that you needed an operation for whatever reason), would your rather it be a Dr. who had done it many times before or would you rather have a student who was doing it for his first time and using a book as a manual?The Dr. with experience. Thought so.How do you know who Obama is going to face in 2012? Care to make predictions? Or maybe we should ask the psychic octupus from Germany? Tue 31 Aug 2010 23:07:54 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=62#comment27 ref #25colonelartist wrote:Well I know the Kurds are grateful the liberation of Iraq.-----------------------------------------------------------------------Yes, sure. they feel very liberated when the turkish military pounds them with bombs...____________What do you expect from a islamist prime minister in Turkey who also supported the Gaza hate flotilla Tue 31 Aug 2010 23:04:47 GMT+1 mabelwhite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=60#comment26 #12 Maybe redecorating makes him appear to be more Christianly and capitalistic to the frequently washed and perfumed masses - it is an imperative expense to unify the nutty nation. Tue 31 Aug 2010 22:33:04 GMT+1 mabelwhite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=58#comment25 #14 Yes that is what is there with or without the "surge" Sarge. Hopefully temporary, and rapidly replaced by the Iraqi people with the most enlightened and rational secular civil law the world has ever seen. Why shouldn't such a thing come from Baghdad, near to the cradle of civilization. Tue 31 Aug 2010 22:26:52 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=55#comment24 Well I know the Kurds are grateful the liberation of Iraq.-----------------------------------------------------------------------Yes, sure. they feel very liberated when the turkish military pounds them with bombs... Tue 31 Aug 2010 22:20:39 GMT+1 Curt Carpenter http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=53#comment23 I think "How will Obama mark end of Iraq war?" should have read "How will Obama mark the start of America's pretending that the Iraq war has ended." Or something along those lines.In the interest of accuracy.Forgive my skepticism, but I watched the helicopters hover over the American embassy in Saigon, and it soured me permanently against sudden unilateral declarations of war's end. "We have declared a great victory and (more or less) left the field" springs to mind.I think President Obama is a smart and wise man, and that he too knows that declaring "the end" of the Iraq war may be a little premature. This will make his speech tonight interesting: he has to steer a course between Scylla and Charybdis. A test of Presidential speechifying indeed. By the way: Do the people of -Iraq- think the war has ended? Tue 31 Aug 2010 22:19:15 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=51#comment22 ref #21the torture fanatics and perverts in the US army who had themselves photographed grinning over corpses covered in cling film.Pretty much said all you needed to know about the US "liberators"_______________Poor little terrorists get humiliated.Their humiliation is negligible to the thousands in Iraq saved fromn their terrorismHard for you to understand islamic terrorism is responsible for the deaths in Iraq not the liberation from the allied forces. Tue 31 Aug 2010 22:11:09 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=48#comment21 20. At 10:34pm on 31 Aug 2010, LucyJ wrote:I'm just happy and relieved that we are drawing down for the sake of everyone involved. Tired of hearing about the insanity and comments from people who don't like us because of this when we are some of the best people in the world. They have no idea..."-------------------------------------------------------------------------News to you, there are some pretty good Iraqis, Chinese and Swiss.Self praise is no praise.-------------------------------------------------------------------------What is our lesson learned?That one bad president can really muck things up and getting one after that is not experienced only prolongs the maddness...------------------------------------------------------------------------How would experience be relevant here? The present President has more experince than anyone he is likely to face in 2012. That does not automatically mean he is the best Tue 31 Aug 2010 21:53:27 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=46#comment20 18. At 10:16pm on 31 Aug 2010, MagicKirin wrote:ref #13But a salute goes to the way americans dissociated themselves from the whole mess and created their own reality...__________You mean the terrorist supporters like the woman who become a celberty on her sons blood or that the second rate actor Madona's first husband was a publicty stooge for Saddam?"---------------------------------------------------------------------Gibberish. Like the torture fanatics and perverts in the US army who had themselves photographed grinning over corpses covered in cling film.Pretty much said all you needed to know about the US "liberators"------------------------------------------------------------------------Well I know the Kurds are grateful the liberation of Iraq.-------------------------------------------------------------------------And the Iranians are even more delighted. So much for sanctions. Tue 31 Aug 2010 21:35:28 GMT+1 LucyJ http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=44#comment19 I'm just happy and relieved that we are drawing down for the sake of everyone involved. Tired of hearing about the insanity and comments from people who don't like us because of this when we are some of the best people in the world. They have no idea...What is our lesson learned?That one bad president can really muck things up and getting one after that is not experienced only prolongs the maddness... Tue 31 Aug 2010 21:34:28 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=41#comment18 5. At 7:47pm on 31 Aug 2010, MagicKirin wrote:He most definitely will not utter George W Bush's famously premature words "mission accomplished". ______________He also will not admidt that Bush was right and he was wrong about the surge.-----------------------------------------------------------------------Really in what way was Bush "right". Iraqis are being butchered, Iran is in political control and the country has no government.Yes it has been a great success. Tue 31 Aug 2010 21:29:57 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=39#comment17 ref #13But a salute goes to the way americans dissociated themselves from the whole mess and created their own reality...__________You mean the terrorist supporters like the woman who become a celberty on her sons blood or that the second rate actor Madona's first husband was a publicty stooge for Saddam?Well I know the Kurds are grateful the liberation of Iraq. Tue 31 Aug 2010 21:16:41 GMT+1 Simon21 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=37#comment16 Ending the Iraq war is no small accomplishment.It would be Mark but the war is not ended, 50,000 foreign troops and huge amounts of equipment remain.American troops can still kill without any reference to iraqis and of course the oil and economy remain under US control.The Iranians are probably relieved and will continue to give the government its orders. Tue 31 Aug 2010 21:10:18 GMT+1 berult http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=34#comment15 There are absolutely no glory in wrapping up what is felt to have been inglorious at the outset. The President must distance himself from his own achievement, forfeit and tether success to his predecessor with the same implacable foresight and logic he deployed when the dice of war weren't even thrown on Sadam Hussein's fate. George Bush and his administration own Irak from beginning to end. President Obama is nothing but the liquidator of a failure of Statesmanship.The Laurel of dignified Page Turning alone is worthy of being worn, for it offers the prospect of a more dignified and respectful approach to Foreign Policy, and by projection in the People's mind, to Domestic Policy as well. The President has to set the sails for an enduring, forward looking, enlightened Presidency; far, far from the muddy waters of a best forgotten era in American geo-politics. And be always wearied of the economics of it all. Tue 31 Aug 2010 20:55:58 GMT+1 KB_AustinTX http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=32#comment14 Viet Nam times 5 ... when will we learn? Tue 31 Aug 2010 20:43:31 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=30#comment13 his suggestion included a promptly commenced phased withdrawal of combat troops (rather than an increase in combat troops - the "surge"), and an increase in restructuring and detente resources to restore civil order, stabilize policy with the neighbors Iran and Syria, and address the internal risk of civil/religious war.------------------------------------------------------------------------An american martial law in Iraq. Tue 31 Aug 2010 20:43:00 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=27#comment12 Like the sideliners support their brave soldiers for motivation hpurposes, obama will also make a motiviantional speech for the sideliners so that they in future, in afghanistan, pakistan and iran, would do the same..just Cheer..It would be like a pep talk speech of a coach of some team...But a salute goes to the way americans dissociated themselves from the whole mess and created their own reality... Tue 31 Aug 2010 20:41:10 GMT+1 Fluidly Unsure http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=25#comment11 @mabelwhite: I think this is the wrong time for a redecoration. I wonder how many Americans are putting-off improvements in their life so they can better survive the current economic tidal wave. He is widening the chasm between him and his constituents.@SaintDominick:No photo-ops? Why would he suddenly change the way he does things?Dignity? I do see a little now and then. However I see a ton of insulting arrogance most of the time. The amazing thing is that I feel more connected to GWB now. (The person, not the mistakes) Tue 31 Aug 2010 20:34:08 GMT+1 colonelartist http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=23#comment10 President Obama's character and sense of dignity suggest his approach to end this horrible chapter in our history will be low key and dignified. ------------------------------------------------------------------------Low keyed and americans? Incase you havent notice,not even their french fries are low keyed...Its a speech for the americans..so it will highlight american point of view, as far as iraq is concerned, he will say that its up to the iraqis...and some sarcastic iraqi would say, if it was up to iraqis, americans would not have to invade and occupy the country to get rid of saddam.. Tue 31 Aug 2010 20:23:05 GMT+1 Pete in Chapel Hill http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=20#comment9 I wanted to support Alisha's comment of disagreement with the claim that this war did not change the way the US saw itself. The atmosphere and attitudes have changed enormously since I arrived here (as a foreigner) in Washington in 2003... I believe the American public is much more aware of the limits and constraints of military power in occupations and a world of "asymmetric warfare". Granted, I thought these lessons had been learned 35 years ago in Vietnam, but perhaps some lessons have to be learned again and again. Frustrations in Iraq and Afghanistan and with the economy have made Americans much more conscious of limits and constraints upon their role in the world, and their options for constructive action. The endgames of both wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) have been painfully predictable to some of us for years, and it has become apparent to more Americans now. That has been a fundamental and painful change towards wisdom in how the country sees itself. Tue 31 Aug 2010 20:19:28 GMT+1 SaintDominick http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=18#comment8 President Obama's character and sense of dignity suggest his approach to end this horrible chapter in our history will be low key and dignified. Quite frankly, I'll be surprised if he engages in the kind of photo-ops his predecessor loved and benefited from. Tue 31 Aug 2010 19:42:51 GMT+1 mabelwhite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=16#comment7 I think as to the "surge", Obama's comments and debate were a little too subtle, he wasn't clearly "agin' it", nor clearly "fer it", nor has it yet proved a long-lasting success (ie, if the "surge" only works for so long as we have vast numbers of troops on the ground...then for how long do we intend to keep vast numbers of troops on the ground?). The way I read it he promoted a completely different policy approach - his suggestion included a promptly commenced phased withdrawal of combat troops (rather than an increase in combat troops - the "surge"), and an increase in restructuring and detente resources to restore civil order, stabilize policy with the neighbors Iran and Syria, and address the internal risk of civil/religious war.http://www.ontheissues.org/celeb/barack_obama_war_+_peace.htm Tue 31 Aug 2010 19:41:25 GMT+1 jonyinternational http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=13#comment6 Hi Mardell,Ending the Iraqi war and bringing the soldiers home in an orderly manner is a great achievement; yet the partisan Americans who cannot see beyond their noses cannot applaud this president. It is easier to start a war but ending it and bringing home the soldiers is not easy. One would have expected numerous accolades across the party lines to this President for this great achievement. Despite his other numerous achievements, Glenn Beck calls the president a racist; Rush Limbaugh makes a mockery of the president of the greatest nation on earth and The Tea Party insults the President because he is black. Americans have forgotten the gloom and the uncertainty of the twilight of October 2008 when the economy of the great America was at the precipice under the watch of George W President. It was Obama's ascendancy that saved the economy from the brinks. Obama has achieved within two years what George W. Bush could not achieve in 8 years. Ending the vicious war in Iraq and bringing back the soldiers is such a great accomplishment that it should be celebrated in American media. Is America ungrateful? Like-wise, other achievements of this president have been ignored because of partisan politics. Obama was able to get health insurance cover for all Americans - an achievement that eluded all American presidents for 70 years including the mighty Bill Clinton; although, the Republicans denied the Americans the golden opportunity of a single payer option which is the ideal of any national health care. In the economic sector, he brought positive reforms to control the greed of the Wall Street; the same Republicans blocked an opportunity to get the best out of this reform. Obama has saved millions of Americans from home foreclosure but the Banks sabotaged a good part of this program. For the first time in the history of the US, the unemployed got unemployment benefits beyond 26 weeks. It would have been ideal for the unemployed to receive continuous assistance until they find job. If Europe is able to do this, why is America with a larger economy not able to treat its citizens like-wise? When will the Americans be grateful to this president? Tue 31 Aug 2010 19:22:16 GMT+1 baircash http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=11#comment5 Disagree that we have not felt the war. How many have died in this venture? Their family/friends? Pres Bush would not let Americans bear witness to those killed in battle coming home. Out of sight out of mind. Plus, it was an unfunded war the that Republicans kept off the books. Republicans conveniently forget that this war was their contributuon to the deficit. Maybe if we make it mandatory that these ventures be funded, we wouldn't be so cavalier about sending our soldiers off to war. Tue 31 Aug 2010 19:00:45 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=9#comment4 He most definitely will not utter George W Bush's famously premature words "mission accomplished". ______________He also will not admidt that Bush was right and he was wrong about the surge Tue 31 Aug 2010 18:47:09 GMT+1 mabelwhite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=6#comment3 I like the oval office redecoration - a bit more serious looking but just short of drab. I also still very much like the 2002 speech. http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Barack_Obama's_Iraq_Speech Tue 31 Aug 2010 18:39:13 GMT+1 hms_shannon http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=4#comment2 But much more importantly the regimes in Iran and North Korea pose a similar challenge to America and its allies, as did Saddam Hussein.-----------------------------------------------Who is going to sort that little lot out? Reminds me of the book,Haunted house, by Hugh Go First... Tue 31 Aug 2010 18:33:49 GMT+1 Alisha http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=2#comment1 Great article, but I believe the war has changed the way America sees itself as a country as much as it has changed the way the rest of the world sees America. Tue 31 Aug 2010 18:20:14 GMT+1 mabelwhite http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/markmardell/2010/08/president_obamas_speech_on_ira.html?page=0#comment0 "I don't oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war."A quote from Barack Obama's speech at an anti-Iraq war rally in Chicago, October 26, 2002. Tue 31 Aug 2010 18:19:20 GMT+1