President Obama Speaks To U.S. Personnel In Afghanistan With Special Guest Brad Paisley. How Did YOU Spend YOUR Memorial Day?


 

By Jueseppi B.

President Barack Hussein Obama wheels down in  Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan for a surprise visit to address the troops for Memorial Day.

President Barack Hussein Obama wheels down in Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan for a surprise visit to address the troops for Memorial Day.

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President Barack Obama is greeted by U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham and Marine General Joseph Dunford, commander of the U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), as he steps off Air Force One at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan.

 

President Obama Slips Into Afghanistan to Visit US Troops

 

Published on May 25, 2014

President Barack Obama secretly slipped into Afghanistan under the cover of darkness Sunday for a weekend visit with U.S. troops serving in the closing months of America’s longest war. (May 25)

 

 

Obama walks to a waiting car with Cunningham as he arrives aboard Air Force One at Bagram Air Base in Kabul

 

President Obama, in Afghanistan, says he will make troop announcement soon

 

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama, on a visit to Afghanistan, said on Sunday his administration would likely announce soon how many troops the United States will keep in the country, as it winds down its presence after nearly 13 years of war.

 

Speaking at a briefing by military commanders at Bagram Air Base, Obama said one reason for his trip was to discuss the U.S. footprint for the rest of this year – when the bulk of troops are scheduled to be withdrawn – and afterward.

“We’ll probably be announcing some decisions fairly shortly,” said Obama, who flew into the main U.S. base in Afghanistan for a brief, surprise visit.

The trip on Memorial Day weekend, his fourth visit to Afghanistan, comes as Obama is buffeted by criticism at home that his handling of foreign policy has been too passive in dealing with crises from Syria to Ukraine and Russia. He is to respond to the criticism in a speech on Wednesday at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

 

Obama also delivered remarks to troops at Bagram, getting hollers from the crowd as he told them, “I’m here on a single mission and that is to thank you for your extraordinary service.” He was also set to visit wounded soldiers.

 

Obama walks with Dunford and Cunningham as he arrives aboard Air Force One at Bagram Air Base in Kabul

Obama left Washington under cover of darkness on Saturday night and flew for more than 13 hours to arrive at Bagram on Sunday night local time. He brought with him country music star Brad Paisley to provide entertainment for the troops.

U.S. President Obama is greeted by U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan during an unannounced visit to Bagram Air Base in Kabul

 

 

Wearing an Air Force One bomber jacket, Obama was also joined by national security adviser Susan Rice and special counselor John Podesta, who has a son stationed in Afghanistan.

 

U.S. President Obama greets U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan during an unannounced visit to Bagram Air Base in Kabul

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From NPR:

 

On Memorial Day Eve, President Obama Visits Troops In Afghanistan

 

By EYDER PERALTA

 

Under the cover of darkness and on the eve of Memorial Day, President Obama landed at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan for a surprise visit with U.S. troops.

After a concert from country music star Brad Paisley, Obama spoke before a rally of 32,000 Americans currently serving in Afghanistan.

Obama made a bit of news, saying he was hopeful that a new president in Afghanistan would lead to a signed security agreement that would leave a small number of American troops in the country after 2014. That agreement has been elusive under the government of Hamid Karzai.

Obama, however, mostly focused on thanking the troops and reminding them about the beginning of America’s longest-running war.

“To all of you, I’m here on a single mission and that is to thank you for your extraordinary service,” Obama said to resounding applause.

Obama got a few laughs with references to sports and his singing, but toward the middle of the address he became serious.

He said the U.S. is at a pivotal moment in its mission in Afghanistan. At the moment, U.S. forces are playing a support role to Afghan security forces. By the end of the year, the U.S. combat mission will come to an end.

“For many of you, this will be your last tour in Afghanistan,” Obama said, again receiving a raucous applause.

He then brought the story full circle. He talked about visiting the Sept. 11 memorial in New York City.

“We resolved to never forget and do everything in our power to prevent this from happening again,” he said. “This is why you are here.”

Obama said that it was U.S. troops and American civilians that helped put al-Qaida on “its heels in this part of the world.” It was American intervention that brought democratic reform and advances in public health, literacy and education for women.

“Even with all the challenges,” Obama said, “more Afghans have hope for their future and that is because of you.”

NPR’s Scott Horsley, who is traveling with the president, reports Obama also received an on-site briefing from his military commanders and will visit wounded servicemen on the base.

Scott continues:

“The show of support for men and women in uniform comes as Obama is trying to tamp down criticism at home over the treatment of veterans seeking care at VA hospitals. In his weekly address Saturday, the president said the nation must work harder to ensure that military veterans get the benefits they’ve earned. ‘They’ve done their duty,’ he said, ‘and they ask nothing more than that this country does ours.’

“On Wednesday, Obama is set to deliver the commencement address at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. That’s the setting where in 2009 he announced a troop surge that pushed U.S. force levels in Afghanistan to a peak of 100,000, while also setting a timetable for withdrawal. The president now has to decide whether any U.S. troops will remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014, with the limited mission of supporting Afghan forces and battling terrorists. Any such residual force is contingent on agreement from the next Afghan president.”

Obama made a similar trip to Afghanistan in 2012. He delivered a speech then in which he said that after more than a decade war, the U.S. was on a path toward peace.

The Los Angeles Times spoke to a “senior advisor” who gave the paper a preview of the speech Obama is expected to deliver on Wednesday.

The paper reports that Obama will outline a second-term foreign policy that is “interventionist and internationalist, but not isolationist or unilateral.”

The paper adds:

“Obama believes that ‘we need to put that to use in an international system that is sustainable and enduring,’ the advisor said, ‘and that can address challenges, from traditional ones like maritime and trade issues, to emerging ones like climate change.’

“Obama sees the U.S. moving out of a period of war and entering a new one marked by different global priorities, advisors say.”

Update at 3:05 p.m. ET. Additional Clarity To Come:

During a press gaggle aboard Air Force One en route to Afghanistan, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said President Obama wanted to meet with his ambassador and general face-to-face before making a decision on what troop levels should look like after 2014.

Rhodes was asked if he had made a decision regarding the troop level. He said:

“He has not made the decision yet. Again, I think he wanted to — he’s been consulting with his national security team. We had a NSC meeting on this topic recently. Again, he’ll be meeting General Dunford and Ambassador Cunningham.

“I do think that — I’d say a number of things. Number one, of course we still need a BSA to have troops here post-2014, although, again, both candidates have expressed their support for such a BSA. Secondly, I think that you can expect to hear additional clarity from the President about his thinking on Afghanistan in the coming days. He obviously has a series of speeches and engagements on national security, and he’ll certainly want to talk about Afghanistan in the context of the future of America’s foreign policy and national security priorities. And there’s a NATO Defense Ministerial on June 4th, where we will be coordinating with the Alliance. So you should expect to hear more from the President on Afghanistan after this trip.”

President Obama to Make Decisions Soon on Afghanistan

 

Published on May 25, 2014

On a surprise visit to Afghanistan, President Barack Obama promised a decision soon on keeping a small contingent of troops in Afghanistan to help protect gains made over nearly 13 years of combat. (May 25)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Obama Visits Troops In Afghanistan

 

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President Obama, In Afghanistan Says He Will Make Troop Announcement Soon

 

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Soldier documents fields of battle and of food in tintypes

 

Published on May 25, 2014

When Ed Drew was posted to Afghanistan, he took his tintype camera with him. Using the same techniques that created indelible images of the Civil War, Drew documented his colleagues in Afghanistan. Today, Drew chronicles a garden project for at-risk youth near his home town.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AP Top Stories for May 25….Love The AP minute:

 

Published on May 25, 2014

Here’s the latest news for Sunday, May 25, 2014: President Obama visits Afghanistan; manifes of suspected shooter Elliot Rodger; Pope Francis tours Holy Land tour; and on Memorial Day weekend, Rolling Thunder Review roars through Washington.

 

 

 

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11 Responses

  1. Thank you for this one, it is restorative after such a heart wrenching weekend.

    Amazing the photography of Ed Drew. Fascinating technique to learn it and in the ways he is using it.

    Like

    • Barack is going down in history as the best, and that makes the GOPukes so angry

      Like

      • Well I suspect there is more that makes them angry, but that is icing on the cake.

        Like

      • No, it’s just that. BBHO (before barack hussein obama) the GOPukes were just happy and dandy with unpaid for wars, inflation and all the hidden scandals you could imagine….not ABHO (thats After Barack Hussein Obama) ;-)

        Like

      • No I mean I suspect there is more about our President that makes them angry, the fact he is good at what he does is simply icing on the cake.

        Like

  2. I – love – this – post! The guy Ed Drew using the tin-type photography is awesome! I’m amazed he can do that out there. ;)

    Like

    • He amazed me as well, I heard about him back in 2011, but didn’t have the blog savvy then I have learned now so I had to include him when I came across his video.

      Like

      • I’m not blog savvy either so you’ll have to show me one day how to do this and get paid. :D

        Seriously, I love when you find these amazing people to shine a light on.

        Like

      • I don’t know how to get paid, I am doing this blog thing for education and for the gratification of spreading the knowledge I discover, and to piss off TeaTardedRepubliCANTS

        Like

      • Ha ha ha! I can see that! You are good at your job. :D

        Like

      • It’s good to be good at something huh.

        Like

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