I know I rarely say this but read the New York Times today it effectively and fairly chronicles why and how the White House is fightin Fox News. The backstory that Ithink is impt for you to know shows an Admin. that is too worried about the media and not worried enough about doing what is right for the country.
Its good to see the rest of the media defending your right to ask questions gather news report the news and give our opinion even if it makes their life miserable.
read experts from President Bushes last speech to a military Academy and tell me he didnt know where Afganistan was heading:Together with our military, American civilian experts helped the Afghan people build their economy and provide basic services and expand health care as well as open up schools for Afghan girls and boys.
These were important successes, yet the enemies of a free Afghanistan refused to give up the fight. They sought to undermine the democratic government so they could regain the place of dominance they enjoyed in Afghanistan before September the 11th. With the help of their sanctuary in Pakistan, they ruthlessly attacked innocent Afghans across the country.
As the security situation changed, America and our Coalition partners responded with troop increases. At the NATO Summit in Bucharest in April, I told our allies the United States was deploying 3,500 more Marines to Afghanistan and that we would make additional forces available in 2009. I also called on allies to increase their force levels.
And during the past year, the United Kingdom, France, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Australia, Germany, Denmark, the Czech Republic, and others have sent additional forces to support the NATO mission in Afghanistan. These troop increases represent a "quiet surge" in Afghanistan.
In all, the number of American troops in the country increased from less than 21,000 two years ago to nearly 31,000 today. The number of Coalition troops -- including NATO troops -- increased from about 20,000 to about 31,000. And the number of trained Afghan army and police forces increased from less than 67,000 to nearly 144,000.
These troop increases have made a difference, yet huge challenges in Afghanistan remain. This is a vast country. And unlike Iraq, it has few natural resources and has an under-developed infrastructure. Its democratic institutions are fragile. Its enemies are some of the most hardened terrorists and extremists in the world.
With their brutal attacks, the Taliban and the terrorists have made some progress in shaking the confidence of the Afghan people. And in the face of all these challenges, the Afghan people are naturally questioning what their future looks like.
Afghanistan's success is critical to the security of America and our partners in the free world. And for all the good work we have done in that country, it is clear we must do even more.
As we learned in Iraq, the best way to restore the confidence of the people is to restore basic security, and that requires more troops. I am announcing today additional American troop deployments to Afghanistan.
In November, a Marine battalion that was scheduled to deploy to Iraq will instead deploy to Afghanistan. They will be followed in January by an Army combat brigade.
The mission of these forces will be to work with the Afghan forces to provide security for the Afghan people, protect Afghanistan's infrastructure and democratic institutions, and help ensure access to services, like education and health care.
They will show the citizens of Afghanistan that the government and its partners will stand with them in the battle against the Taliban and the extremists.
They will help clarify a stark contrast in Afghanistan. While the terrorists and extremists deliberately target and murder the innocent, coalition and Afghan forces risk their lives to protect the innocent.
Regrettably, there will be times when our pursuit of the enemy will result in accidental civilian deaths. This has been the case throughout the history of warfare.
Our nation mourns the loss of every innocent life. Every grieving family has the sympathy of the American people. I've given President Karzai my word that America will work closely with the Afghan government to ensure the security of the Afghan people while protecting innocent life.
As we deploy these reinforcements, America will take new steps to help the Afghan government mobilize more forces of its own. Afghan fighters are good fighters. If you talk to people who've been in Afghanistan, they'll tell you the Afghan troops are courageous. They just need some help.
Along with the Afghan government, the United States and our allies are now launching a new initiative to double the size of the Afghan army over the next five years.
We'll also work to increase the involvement of Afghan tribes. Local Afghan forces were key to our successes in 2001 and 2002, when we combined the 21st century capabilities of the American military with the courage of Afghan fighters on horseback.
In the period ahead, we will once again encourage Afghan security forces and Afghan tribes to take a leading role in the building of a democratic Afghanistan.
The Taliban and Al Qaeda will not be allowed to return to power. The terrorists will suffer the same fate in Afghanistan that they are now suffering in Iraq and they will be defeated.
In addition to these new military measures, we're stepping up efforts on the civilian side, increasing our civilian presence, with new personnel from USAID and the Drug Enforcement Agency, as well as the Foreign Service.
We're using provincial reconstruction teams of military and civilian experts to help local communities fight corruption, improve governance and jumpstart their economies.
We're using agricultural development teams to help Afghan farmers feed their people and become more self-sufficient. We're supporting Afghanistan's development strategy, which helps the democratic government in Kabul offer greater support for the provinces in areas like health and infrastructure.
We're working with the Afghan authorities to prepare for elections of 2009 and 2010. Recently, at an international conference in Paris, America pledged $10 billion over the next two years to support Afghanistan's development.
In all these ways, we're working to assure that our military progress is accompanied by the political and economic gains that are critical to the success of a free Afghanistan.
As we take these new steps in Afghanistan, we must also help the government of Pakistan defeat Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters hiding in remote border regions of their country.
These extremists are increasingly using Pakistan as a base from which to destabilize Afghanistan's young democracy. In the past year, the Taliban, Al Qaeda and other extremist groups operating in these remote regions have stepped up their attacks against the Pakistani government, hoping to stop that country's democratic progress, as well.
This morning, I called Pakistan's newly-elected leader, President Zardari. I pledged the full support of America's government as Pakistan takes the fight to the terrorists and extremists in the border regions.
Defeating these terrorists and extremists is in Pakistan's interest. They pose a mortal threat to Pakistan's future as a free and democratic nation. Defeating these terrorists and extremists is also Pakistan's responsibility because every nation has an obligation to govern its own territory and make certain that it does not become a safe haven for terror.
America and our NATO allies will continue helping Pakistan in its efforts to defeat the extremists. The same terrorists who murdered innocent civilians in Karachi and Islamabad are also plotting new attacks against the United States and Europe.
Each of these three places I have discussed today -- Iraq, Afghanistan, and parts of Pakistan -- pose unique challenges for our country. Yet they're all theaters in the same overall struggle. In all three places, extremists are using violence and terror in an attempt to impose their ideology on whole populations. They murder to impose their dark vision of the world.
In all three places, America is standing strongly with brave elected leaders and determined reformers and millions of ordinary citizens who seek a future of liberty, justice, and tolerance.
Defeating our enemies requires success on the military front. Together with our allies, we've made substantial progress toward breaking up terrorist networks, and we will not rest until they are destroyed. Defeating our enemies also requires success in the ideological battle.
We must show the people of the broader Middle East a better alternative to a life of violence and despair, and that alternative is based on liberty. History shows that people who are given the choice between freedom and tyranny will choose freedom. And history shows that freedom will yield the peace we all want.
There will be difficult moments in the work ahead, yet we can be confident in the outcome. With faith in the power of freedom, we will transform nations that once harbored our enemies into strong and capable allies in the war on terror.
With faith in the power of freedom, we will prove that the future of the Middle East belongs not to terror, but to -- but to liberty. And with faith in the power of freedom, we will leave behind a safer and more peaceful world for our children and grandchildren.
I thank you for all you do to keep America safe. I thank you for your service and freedom's cause. May God bless you, your families, and our country.
so much for being out of touch