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BLITZER’S BLOG: What we didn’t hear from President Obama in Afghanistan
May 2nd, 2012
01:16 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: What we didn’t hear from President Obama in Afghanistan

By Wolf Blitzer, CNN

Washington (CNN) – It was good that President Obama went to Afghanistan to thank the U.S. men and women serving in the military under very dangerous circumstances. I could see on their faces at Bagram Air Base that they were thrilled to meet with the commander in chief.

Unfortunately, some of the nearly 90,000 American troops still in Afghanistan will be killed or severely wounded. Others will come back to the United States suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and other long-term ailments. The costs of this war will continue long after all U.S. combat troops are out of Afghanistan at the end of 2014.

Obama certainly understands all of this. He says “there will be difficult days ahead” and “the enormous sacrifices of our men and women are not over.”

In his remarks to the troops and later to the American public, he made his case for a long-term strategic partnership with Afghanistan. But the president should have been more transparent in discussing the costs of his strategy. Unfortunately, there is so much he did not say.

He never mentioned how much American taxpayers will have to spend over the next two and a half years maintaining tens of thousands of troops in Afghanistan. The numbers are staggering.

It costs roughly $2 billion a week to maintain the current level of 90,000 troops. That’s more than $100 billion over the next year alone. Even with the scheduled troop reductions, U.S. taxpayers are going to have to shell out at least $200 billion between now and the end of 2014.

On the issue of troop levels in Afghanistan, the president said: “Last year, we removed 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Another 23,000 will leave by the end of the summer.”

That, of course, is accurate.

Here’s what he didn’t say:

When he took office in January 2009, there were 36,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. He basically tripled that number to well over 100,000 troops.

Now, there are 90,000, and that number will go down to about 67,000 by the end of this summer. But that’s still nearly twice as many as when he took office.

I think it’s fair to say that Afghanistan is now clearly his war.

The president also didn’t tell us last night how many troops will remain in Afghanistan starting in 2015. He didn’t tell us whether those troops will have immunity from Afghan prosecution. He also didn’t say how many billions of dollars U.S. taxpayers will continue spending in Afghanistan until 2024, when the newly signed U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement expires.

He didn’t give us the answers to those questions because he himself doesn’t know the answers. All those sensitive issues still have to be resolved in negotiations with Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s government.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, by the way, has been very vague in outlining what he would do in Afghanistan. He issued a rather bland statement last night after Obama’s speech.

In recent months, Romney has dodged the tough questions, usually saying only that he will want to consult with his commanding generals on the ground before announcing his own strategy.

In my opinion, that’s not good enough.

We know what Obama wants to do in Afghanistan. Now, the American public will want - and will certainly deserve - a lot more specifics from Romney, given the enormous stakes in American blood and treasure.

Watch "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer" Wednesday from 4-6pm ET on CNN for more on President Obama's Afghanistan visit.

Follow Wolf Blitzer on Twitter: @WolfBlitzerCNN

RELATED STORY: Obama vows to 'finish the job' in Afghanistan

Post by:
Filed under: Afghanistan • Barack Obama • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (165 Responses)
  1. johnwerneken

    We have ousted the original Taliban Government and Saddam. We ought to have skedaddled forthwith. Drones at the Al Quada make sense, to Hell with Pakistan; hunting Osama was a waste of time. Whatever was accomplished, was accomplished long ago. Bush’s mistakes: (1) pity on Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead of delighting in just ruining those countries and ensuring that they could not annoy others for a generation, we set out to rebuild them, foolishly; (2) once we did that, it was a short step to worrying about the inevitable return of chaos, an even bigger mistake. Get the heck out; let that part of the world just go to Hell.

    NOTHING has been accomplished by Obama, except one thing: for the time being, he has thankfully made it respectable in America for the United States to wage war more or less as where when and against whomever it so pleases. For which I DO thank him, it was overdue.

    May 4, 2012 at 1:53 am |
  2. Griff

    "Does the US Government know what a 'Means Test' is??? Because that is a Socialist idea of running Government."

    May 3, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • vicky bennett

      My son is active military. He has 3 yrs to go, and I would rather he do it under MITT ROMNEY as our new President.

      Obama in leadership position is rathr frightning...

      May 4, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  3. Griff

    "Borack Obama does not have any funds You do!!! Obama has nothing but the wage you pay him!!!

    May 3, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  4. AAC

    If you recall, then-candidate Obama held positions that didn't survive the test of reality once he was elected. Closing GITMO is one such position.

    I would prefer that candidate Romney refrain from taking positions that are not well-thought out and simply pander. He should recognize that he will face a learning curve and refrain from offering specifics until that learning has occurred.

    May 3, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  5. ditty1991

    where's the article reporting Obama's executive order placing international laws on us citizens?

    May 3, 2012 at 9:40 am |
  6. Paul B.

    There's a lot we're not hearing about Afghanistan. Were this a Republican president, the casualty count would be front page news, above the fold, on the NYT daily. But that's the way it is, eh?

    Truth is, we don't know what either of the contenders is going to do. Obama is obviously playing visual games for electoral purposes, while Romney doesn't have all the facts yet to make the hard decisions. Large advantage: Romney.

    May 3, 2012 at 9:35 am |
  7. Dave

    I was disgusted last night when I watched the NBC report on the Bin Laden killing. They said it was not political, but it was amazing to see how the media constantly focused on Obama. What about Bush's intelligence policies? What about the efforts of the CIA? What about the soldiers? These were ignored or barely mentioned. I wonder why the media does not say anything about the economy? About debt and deficits? About Solyndra? About GM and our wasted tax dollars? About the doubling of the health care costs?

    May 3, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  8. superlogi

    He went to Afghanistan, simply for a photo-op and to draw attention away from his pathetic domestic record. Oh, and to spike the ball, yet again. That's it.

    May 3, 2012 at 8:59 am |
  9. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Wolf you sound as though this prolonged and costly war is President Obama's fault! Please get with the program Wolf! We're still spending billions in Afghanistan and continuing to suffer outrageous casualties simply because the previous administration led by the current GOP deliberately and recklessly abandoned and prolonged the Afghan war to invade Iraq! Wolf, President Obama is trying to do what the GOP failed to do and that is to stabilize Afghanistan ASAP so we can get to hell out! Wolf, please, please get with the program!

    May 3, 2012 at 8:09 am |
  10. james

    What we didn;t hear was "I Quit"–

    May 3, 2012 at 7:25 am |
  11. Larry Couch

    It is interesting that Wolf says that what Mitt Romney says is not enough. The level of information available to a candidate vs. what is available behind the desk in the Oval Office is dramatically different. Candidate Obama said a lot of things about Iraq and Afghanistan, but once he was behind the desk, his actions, responses, and plans clearly changed! Romney is saying what he can based upon what he knows now. He is also saying that he will need to consult with those in military positions once he is President. That makes complete sense.

    May 3, 2012 at 2:33 am |
  12. GreenDream

    CONGRESS IS WORKING AGAINST U.S. CITIZENS!

    Our college degreed collect unemployment, as Congress approves work visas and brings foreigners in to displaced U.S. citizens in their jobs.

    May 3, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  13. Mitts chief campaign manager is comical Ali

    He will have to consult with the commanders??? Ok, so if Obama is already doing that... WHAT DO WE NEED YOU FOR????? Can anyone picture flipflopping/indecisive Mitt answering that 3 am phone call?

    May 2, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  14. ForeignAffairsExpert

    For everyone saying the Mr. Romney can't make a decision/plan/statement because he doesn't have access to the data on Afghanistan... I have an idea.... Mr. Romney can consult with his Foreign Affairs Policy Expert, Mr. Richard Grenell, and with Mr. Grenell's expertise, Mr. Romney can then devise a.... oh wait..... What do you mean Mr. Richard Grenell is no longer available? Why would anyone allow a Foreign Policy Expert to resign in the midst of a foreign policy debate issue?!?!?

    May 2, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
  15. Rick

    No cost is too great, whether it be blood or money to keep the USA safe.

    May 2, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Tannim

      Except that keeping the USA safe has ZERO to do with Afghanistan. The biggest enemies to the safety of the Aermican people are the US government and their corproatist allies like Monsanto.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:00 am |
    • vicky bennett

      In that case Rick, we must have a new president. Everything Mr. O does threatens America.

      May 3, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
      • Changyeon

        By Daniel Henninger in the Wall Street Journal (February 14th, 2008): Strip away the new coat of paint from the Obama message and what you find is not only faaliimr. It's a downer.Up to now, the force of Sen. Obama's physical presentation has so dazzled audiences that it has been hard to focus on precisely what he is saying. Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Can what?Listen closely to that Tuesday night Wisconsin speech. Unhinge yourself from the mesmerizing voice. What one hears is a message that is largely negative, illustrated with anecdotes of unremitting bleakness. Heavy with class warfare, it is a speech that could have been delivered by a Democrat in 1968, or even 1928.Here is the edited version, stripped of the flying surfboard: Our road will not be easy . . . the cynics. . . where lobbyists write check after check and Exxon turns record profits . . . That's what happens when lobbyists set the agenda. . . It's a game where trade deals like Nafta ship jobs overseas and force parents to compete with their teenagers to work for minimum wage at Wal-Mart . . . It's a game . . . CEO bonuses . . . while another mother goes without health care for her sick child . . . We can't keep driving a wider and wider gap between the few who are rich and the rest who struggle to keep pace . . . even if they're not rich . . . Here's his America: lies awake at night wondering how he's going to pay the bills . . . she works the night shift after a full day of college and still can't afford health care for a sister who's ill . . . the senior I met who lost his pension when the company he gave his life to went bankrupt . . . the teacher who works at Dunkin' Donuts after school just to make ends meet . . . I was not born into money or status . . . I've fought to bring jobs to the jobless in the shadow of a shuttered steel plant . . . to make sure people weren't denied their rights because of what they looked like or where they came from . . . Now we carry our message to farms and factories.

        June 29, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Bruce Pennington

      Do you truly think America is safer with our continued presence in Afghanistan? Only hours after Obama left there was a concerted attack by the Taliban (they admitted their responsibility) to show that they're still around and kicking. With our current policies restricting how our troops must WAIT to be fired upon before defending themselves, how do we expect to
      "win"?

      May 3, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  16. Bill McGowan

    Many Americans no longer believe anything this totally deceitful commander in chief say's. Why don't you folks at CNN just post a link to a complete unedited copy of this new Security agreement with the Afghan's. We can read, and don't need
    your one sided analyses of that document. Let your viewers read it.

    May 2, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • Pitbull

      You are absolutely correct.

      May 2, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
      • Cleide

        People in America have to awaken to the retlaiy of their corrupt military industrial complex owned by the CFR and IMF World banksters, if you want to be a real patriot in the USA, you gotta STOP serving in the army(Watch Beyond Treason) and learn how to defeat the shadowy govt at home and at the UN, the war on terror(no face and no name enemy) cannot be won with WMD nor with precision weapons, the real terrorists ar eright at home, start educating yourselves

        May 21, 2012 at 5:04 am |
      • Luca

        This is a smart blog. I mean it. You have so much knowledge about this issue, and so much paisson. You also know how to make people rally behind it, obviously from the responses. Well done!

        June 28, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • db

      Before then, in 2007, Mitt Romney had said he would not move heaven and Earth to find Osama bin Laden. He did clarify his statements a couple days later and also in a debate, saying that getting bin Laden was important, but so was focusing on other top tier al Qaeda leaders. But the more damning statement came afterward, when he strongly criticized then-Sen. Obama for saying he would go into Pakistan to get bin Laden without the help of the Pakistanis if he had actionable intelligence to do so. Romney called those statements "ill-timed" and "ill-considered."
      Mitt Romney needs to learn that words matter. When he says in no uncertain terms that he would not in fact order a mission in Pakistan without the knowledge of the Pakistanis, and then criticizes his opponent for saying he would, why should we not judge him on exactly those words?
      So Mr. Romney, if you would like to now take back those words and concede you were wrong, you should do so. But don't expect the American people to buy into your faux anger when your opponent is questioning how you would have acted when you yourself have provided the words that lead to that legitimate doubt.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  17. American

    I think this was very biased blog. Wolf did you ask Bush jr all these questions that you are asking now, to Bush Jr when he declared iraq and afghanistan wars. I think you are smart enough to know that why obama has to increase troop level. Because Bush literally ignore the afghan war and put all resources in Iraq while actually we should be in afghanistan looking for Osama. If Obama has to increase troop level to fix bush,s neglected war, that does not make it Obama war.

    May 2, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • AAC

      How typical. Every time Obama is criticized or questioned, Bush is dragged into it.

      President Obama is the president now, and it is he who is responsible and subject to criticism.

      What matters now is what Obama does. That is why HE is the subject of this article.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  18. Manning El Paso, TX

    President Obama should hire Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s to deal with House Speaker John Boehner because he just negotiate another 10 years worth billions of taxes of payers money. I think they will have put Boehner mental institution, I think he is going bananas on this one.

    May 2, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • jack

      for blitzer to be a report he obviously has a bad memory and that the reason why obama added more troops to afghanistan is because 1. we still haven't killed bin laden 2. al queda was doing alot of attacks 3. we still needed to train the afghan army before handing it over to them and another thing the taliban is still out and trying to take over there government. If the US is going to want to finish the job then we need to do it the write way. So we dont end up with the same problem we had before. i think blitzer should do more thinking before he posts terrible blogs like this. And for the guy who listed all obama changes, you really dont know how things work economically and you dont know history and you dont know easy math and you really dont know anything about politics because if you did you wouldnt have posted anything that stupid either.

      May 2, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  19. Leigh2

    I agree with another poster. Obama has the resources and the intelligence available to him as President to factor into decision making. Romney does not ~ so the reason for him being somewhat vague with some sort of definite plan in mind. You can't make educated and informed decisions without having what you need readily available to you ~ especially with regard to foreign policy.

    May 2, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Howard

      Since 2008, under Obama ... the mediocre, and mediocrity has been elevated to a position of undeserved power.
      In November, when all of you obama stooges are neutered, you will once again be returned to your little lives of mediocrity ... where you belong.

      May 2, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Steve

      I am not sure when, but I believe it is after the nomination is secure, but he will start to receive intelligence briefings. At this time is when we need to start holding Romney accountable for his plans. Please correct me if I am wrong.

      May 3, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • mcskadittle

      not have security briefing didn't stop romney from saying he would go to war with Iran

      May 3, 2012 at 9:22 am |
    • Tannim

      If Obama was that smart, he would have ended the wars four years ago with a simple CIC order, but didn't. The guy is in over his head.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:03 am |
    • AAC

      And do we really want another candidate who blindly promises things that he will not be able to deliver on? I'm happy to have someone who shows restraint when it comes to offering solutions. Perhaps this way, we might be able to actually count on what he says.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:32 am |
  20. harold, Phoenix,AZ.

    Do we know the cost of war? We should start with the burden carried by less than one percent of the population. All of the love of country is expressed ,in fact, by the few in uniform. The bottom line is a lot of the flag wavers love war because their children will never have to fight. It is a national disgrace that this is allowed. Sparta had no walls, it was the duty of the population to fight.

    May 2, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • tyler

      in Sparta, the ruling class had to join the army because everyone had too. i don't see the ruling class now a days fighting their wars.

      May 2, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • waqar khan 2

      From Sparta to Afghanistan in 21st century,things have changed a bit. We live in a civilised world where standing armies do the fighting,and rest clap or pray. Afghans are a hard nut to crack,any way,ask theRusskies and good old Brits.

      May 3, 2012 at 2:08 am |
  21. Dave

    The media cracks me up. When Bush is in office, everything with the war is terrible. When Obama is in office, everything is great (even when more people die under his watch).

    May 2, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • PaulC

      The difference you are glossing over is that George W. started 2 stupid wars (on a credit card) and Pres. Obama is trying to wind them down in the best way possible. One down and one to go. Four more years.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
      • SEMPER_PARATUS

        Yeah, PaulC, and Obama has started an unauthorized, illegal war in Libya, and is massing warplanes near Iran, and the Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, was unable to give the number of countries in which American forces are engaged in combat operations.

        Enough. Stop the partisan finger pointing. Illegal & unauthorized military operations are wrong regardless of which party is in power. Two sides of the same coin!

        May 3, 2012 at 9:48 am |
      • brian

        with a few "Kenetic" operations without the approval of Congress.
        Bush was bad, but lets not pretend that Obama plays by the rules when it comes to the Military. He is just as bad because he claimed not to be like Bush when it comes to Military Operations. While the operations are smaller, the principle is just the same.

        May 3, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  22. Mel

    Obama is being Presidential. Some can’t see that during an election year. He is delivering what he promised, to end the war and bring our men home. He should be given credit for the raid and making the historical and awesome decision to move with it. I am an independent and can see clearly that he has made some momentous decisions that have put us as a country in a much better position in the world.

    May 2, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
    • Tannim

      Bullfeathers. Obama did this trip as an election-year publicity stunt, nothing more. Besides, there is ZERO proof independent of the government that it actually was OBL they killed a year ago and not a plant. Sure, believe everything the government tells you if you want, but that's the Kool-Aid Way. Question everything.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • brian

      i dont agree.

      the dirty little secret is that our troops will be there until 2024... kicking the can down the road again. there is nothing 'presidential' about what Obama is doing... its another political ploy for points.

      May 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  23. Steve

    It's war. Let's not pontificate about the human condition, lest we stand idly as everyone kills each other.

    As for Iraq, I guess overthrowing a dictator that kills his own people isn't worth what it used to be.

    How's that Sudan China thingie working out these days?

    May 2, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Tannim

      How's that standing up to the domestic police state thingy working nowadays? What's good for Iraq is good for America, isn't it?

      May 3, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  24. jj

    Obama is doing well in methodically cleaning up the messes left him by the two Bushes – Afghanistan, Iraq and the economy.

    May 2, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Leigh2

      Bill Clinton was President in between father and son's terms. So, what about him? He also figures in there somewhere. JMHO.

      May 2, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Ted

      Yes, just blame everything on Bush. The economy, the wars etc. When something does go right it is because Mr Obama was effective, when things go wrong blame Mr. Bush.

      May 2, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
      • PaulC

        Actually we can blame a tremendous amount on George W.. He started two totally unnecessary, unfunded wars, cut everyone's taxes to pay for them and then left a collapsed economy. How long do you think it will take you to pay to clean up this mess?

        May 2, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
      • AAC

        Obama is making decisions that affect us today and going forward. He is responsible as CIC. His is the only position that is irrelevant. Former presidents are irrelevant.

        May 3, 2012 at 10:38 am |
    • Tannim

      Triple bullfeathers! If he was really cleaning up the messes he'd decebtralize economic planning, end the wars, not sign NDAA, and refuse to renew DHS, Patriot Act, and TSA.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  25. Boyd Ames

    Jack you know and most cogent Americans are not surprised that the Obama Re-Election Scramble would have used this ploy in such a blatant attempt to find something – anything – that might reflect positively on the Obama Presidency. I found your "spiking the football" analogy particularly appropriate, but personally I think you should have aimed it more toward the end-zone rather than the middle of the field. – Boyd in San Clemente, CA

    May 2, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Stephen Daugherty

      Just wait a second here. He doesn't have to scramble for anything He already has his successful bet on GM, which folks like you ridiculed. He may not have gangbusters growth, but he has that, instead of ongoing employment losses, like Bush had for much longer after his recession ended. The Iraq war is ended, and guess what? He killed Bin Laden. Two thing Bush should have done in his term.

      The people who will be truly scrambling to find anything to sell their re-election on are the Republicans. They have, as of now, passed one ninth of the total number of all the public laws that the Do-Nothing Congress passed before they were defeated by Truman in 1948. They have succeeded brilliantly in getting in Obama's way, but to do that, to leave none of their fingerprints on Obama's policies, they had to essentially strangle any chance of their own achievements. Their biggest policy venture last year was engineering a Debt Ceiling Crisis. Yeah, you can really run on that brilliant venture, right?

      Obama has achievements. The Republicans have... nothing. Who do you think will be scrambling to justify their existence in Washington, to Americans who think the people they're paying should be doing more than just politics.

      May 3, 2012 at 7:47 am |
  26. gg

    romney say.,s on the ecomomy,he would do the opposite of what obama is doing,didn,t bush do that. still trying to come out of that mess

    May 2, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  27. Carl Peter Klapper

    Need we any more to convince us to Dump the Democrats and Obama? It is high time to bring in Jill Stein and the Greens!

    May 2, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • glennrobert

      Obama was given two unfinished wars and an inadequate tax base for starters and you want miracles. Anyone for a nice tax increase or should we just go on going bankrupt?

      May 2, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  28. Jim Brown

    Surprised at Wolf's take on Romney hesitation on Afghan...assessment is based on facts available from the military...he needs that info.A "SWAG" is not called for in making serious projections.
    Since we have been in Afghan. for some ten years I would think there is more than ample data and experience to develop the cost picture going forward...if we can't figure that much out shame on us.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  29. Burbank

    What does it matter. They are both puppets.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  30. stormy miller

    NO ONE WILL EVER BE HAPPY! pull out now...don't pull out now.. give us a pull out date...don't give a pull out date....and what does it matter what it will cost!!!no body seemed to care when BUSH put us in this mess...bush spent trillions..so what does ANYONE care what it costs..of course i think we need to be OUT..BUT no one will be happy..i knew that when we entered afghanistan..when we leave we hope the country will be better but guess what IT WON'T..DON'T BLAME OBAMA.. he can not make everyone happy...and there is no good or easy answer..i just wish we had never put ourselves in this situation..but we did.. so we must suffer the results..everyone both right and left needs to shut the hell up..president obama is doing the best job he can..and guess what..NO ONE will be happy because there is no happy end..OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    May 2, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Tannim

      Some of us do care. Some of us were protesting this waster of blood and treasure in 2003 and still are. Some of us simply want peace and prosperity again, not endless war and recession. Some of us know that both the statist Democrats and staist Republicans both are responsible for the mess, and that they all need to go, from mere dereliction to outright treason.

      Some of us have never been in the left-right political ideological fallacy.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:13 am |
  31. SJM

    So what you are asking for is that Mitt make a strategy without having the information required so that you can then try and pick it apart? I applaud Mitt for not getting into debating a serious situation and making it worse for everyone including the President to deal with. However, Wolf instead of you just picking everyone apart, let's just hear how you would handle Afganistan.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  32. Mary

    "In recent months, Romney has dodged the tough questions, usually saying only that he will want to consult with his commanding generals on the ground before announcing his own strategy."

    No doubt, he will flip-flop several times on this issue. I would like to see the debate where he will contradict himself over several issues like this. If he actually does as he flip-flops, his leadership will be chaotic..

    May 2, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  33. Atanu

    This very trip under cover of darkness and expecting specifics in that detail, which no one knows ? Had I been President of US, I would keep two Talibans on one side who returned to their normal life and two Afghan children on the other side, being poisoned by Talibans for attending school and then explain why entire America and civilized world has a stake in this war of Freedom, not just for Afghans but those who paid on 9/11, which could not be measured by Tax payers' money. Thanks.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  34. HarvTy

    Wolf is surprised by this president's lack of specifics? Seriously? The media should have been asking him tough questions all along. Obama has been making lovely speeches full of vague generalities since he hit center stage. The media has, in large part, given him a free pass. "Hope and Change" ring any bells? Can you get more vague than that? The mainstream media hopped on the happy train without asking too many tough questions. They've done a gross disservice to the American people.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  35. I love wars becuz its not my s on the line

    Just move them to invade Iran from Afghanistan. that is why we are there to begin with. This was never about Osama. This was about serving Israel and invading her enemies. Lets go! Lets finish the job.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  36. BobbaFett

    So Wolf, you're moaning about 100 billion for national defense over 2 years, when we're 16.4 trillion in debt?

    That's 100 billion vs. 16,400 billion.
    Or try to comprehend 100 vs. 16,400.
    Or how about this: $1 vs. $164.

    Thanks for the smart article, Wolf.

    May 2, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  37. Time

    I don't think he does understand. If he did, we would get the heck out of there – NOW!

    Nobody in this country think it's worth risking their brother, father, sister or mother on that barren wasteland.

    I'm an Obama supporter but this might just lose the election for him. I can't beleive we will have a footprint there until atleast 2024. Somebody who is six now could serve in that GD war.

    GET OUT NOW

    May 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  38. Truthbetold

    Both parties are war machines....this will not end until the American people go bankrupt and realize all of our money is overseas.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  39. tony

    Wolf, why what we didnt read in your article was the number of troops in Iraq who are no longer there, and the fact, that, even if there was a withdrawal tomorrow, there would be cost related to that that the President didnt discuss. Do you think that we are stunned to learn that there would be cost in withdrawing troops in this timeframe?
    What you didnt say in your piece was anything of substance.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Fay

      Alexander the Great was the last military conemmdar who was able to conquer and control Afghanistan successfully. Since then so many leaders and tried but failed: Genghis Khan, the British and Soviets come to mind. Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires. And do you think that any American conemmdars have the brilliance and skills of Alexander the Great who conquered Afghanistan 2000 years ago? I dare Patreus to say he is just as skilled for his time as Alexander the Great.

      May 21, 2012 at 9:01 am |
  40. Sarah from SF

    Way to take an issue with Obama and end it by turning it on Romney.

    This is one of those times when the most insidious bias takes place. You pretend to be fair by supposedly criticizing one candidate, but it's a smokescreen for your real agenda.

    If this wasn't the case, you could have focused this story on Obama and a separate story looking through the same lens as Romney. Alas, that wouldn't have achieved your goals.

    I'm an independent and I have no clue who to vote for. The media isn't helping me one bit. They're only serving their own.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • DagnyTag

      Exactly Sarah. I just wrote the same thing basically, but it's still awaiting "moderation". Maybe my reply to you will post sooner. Here's what I wrote: Wolf, your whole article led up to you making the point that B.O. doesn't know what he is going to do on the tough questions, nor has he told us.....and he's commander-in-chief with all available intelligence and authority at his disposal............and so you then pivot and draw a target on Mitt's chest, concluding that the burden is on him to say what he would do? Contradict urself much?

      May 2, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
      • Hamed

        all troops out in 08, what a liar. Such spitud lies. We do forget, we forget you said out in 08 and you will get re-elected. It's sad that he was'nt in the know b4 the election. None of us are in the know and it sucks, we're all in the ass-umption of shit. We do KNOW LIES though, but that's not enough. If blood is on our hands, then we have to KNOW.

        May 21, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • sosume

      Could it possibly be that it would strike fair minded readers as unfair to simply criticize one candidate without contrasting his position with the other candidate?

      May 2, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • ddblah

      Don't you want to know what Romney would do? Asking generals is not a plan, is just a process.

      May 2, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Bnutty

      Didn't Obama say that he was going to abruptly end the war if elected during his campaign? It is not hiw war if he is sending in more troops then when he was elected?

      May 2, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
      • Stephen Daugherty

        Did you ever favorably speak of the Surge in Iraq? Or have you been more consistent on your standards than I would guess?

        May 3, 2012 at 7:49 am |
    • Butchie67

      Arcsin, I totally disagree with you comment about the not being Obama’s war. But it is all a matter of prospective and you have yours and I have mine. But I couldn’t agree more with your statement about Romney not making foolish statements and promises until he is briefed by his security staff and the Joint Chiefs. Obama made many campaign promises based on what he know at the time and now he is paying the price for it. Closing Gitmo, the use of drones, stopping the Iraqi war, etc. now makes him look like a promise breaker. No need to do that.

      May 2, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  41. Arcsin

    I disagree that it is appropriate to call this Obama's war.

    The war on terror was started during the Bush administration, and shifting the front of the war by adjusting troop levels doesn't constitute starting a new one. If the target al-qaeda people are now in Afghanistan based on your intelligence, you start looking for them in Afghanistan.

    Also, the cost of maintaining current troop levels is not a secret. He already addressed why it doesn't make sense to his administration to just pull them all out now.

    As for Romney, I would prefer that he not make uneducated statements without knowing from generals the true state of things on the ground. The last thing we need is someone acting as if they know all the answers without even having access to complete information.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • vrytix

      The document signed by Obama and Karzai leaves an awful lot of unknowns. For one thing Congress will have to appropriate funds for our military presence in Afghanistan and for Afghanistan itself. Will Congress give Obama everything he says he wants or needs?

      From what Obama said, it sounds as if nation-building a key element of American policy toward that country? Can we afford? Should we still be doing nation-building?

      What Obama didn't say or couldn't say because of all the unknowns is understandable. After all, this was basically a political gesture. That said, it's also understandable that Romney has avoided saying anything definitive about Afghanistan.

      It's a tough, very tough, problem. But, I thought Al-Qaeda was basically gone from the country. And, Vice President Biden has said the Taliban are NOT our enemy. So why are we there? Why will be there for years to come?

      May 2, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Big George in Big D

      BUT its Obama's now!

      May 2, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  42. kelvin

    I Think it is sad to say this war is Obama war but in reality he did not started the war so we have to be patient, for one thing i could say he is getting the job done on is watch and making this country safer, If he stop now we will go back wards in stead of forward.An we all know that this war should not of started in the first place.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  43. Walter Sieruk

    That the Taliban send a suicide bomber for jihadist attack in Afghanistan right after President Obama made a visit to that country only shows the the comtempt that the Taliban has for the United States. Still Obama seem ti think that terer can be a worthwhile workable alliance between the Karzai goverment and the Taliban. In any so called "peace talks" the Talibam would be very disingenous and keep their word only as long as it suites them. They would dissimulate. It should be remenbered that it is the Taliban wh o are so cruel and viccious that they have thrown acid into the faces of young girls in Afghanistan who were only trying to go to school. So the of having of have any useful"negotiation" with these character based on reason or some kind of shared values in nothing less then foolishness.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  44. Paulie

    What Obama also did not announce is "we won" because we lost. We are retreating. How does that look for his re-election?

    May 2, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • EdR

      You were looking for him to have a big banner behind him that said "Mission Accomplished" maybe? Between the economy, and Iraq, and our infrastructure, Obama has spent at least 70% of his energy just cleaning up Republicans dirty laundry from the last administration. And Mitt the multimillion dollar weather vane wants to go right back to those same policies. No thank you.

      May 2, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  45. Griff

    "One thing for sure that America and CNN have to understand, is: Mitt Romney and his GOP, do not want to take over the now contaminated Whitehouse, but the Governing of the USA and it's needs! It wouldn't be safe after all those that were allowed to infiltrate by Obama's negligence for security."

    May 2, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  46. MittROBme

    the GOP candidate has no business being president, he is like a deer in the headlights kinda guy. No sir we have the best president we have had at the helm of this ship since JFK. Mitt just found out the cold war was over?!

    May 2, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  47. jennifer in Houston

    Wolf.. we need to remember that Obama inherited a hopelessly botched Afghan war thanks to the inept handling of the Bush Administration. Yes he added boots on the ground but they were over due and very needed. Yes this war has cost a great deal in lives and money however, we need to remember, it was a war of our choosing. Perhaps the pain it has inflicted on us will help to remind us we do not need, ever again, an occupant in the White House with loose lips and bad cowboy disease nor do we need one who changes position with every opinion poll. Obama.. 4 more years.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  48. kerberusII@aol.com

    the american people deserve the politicians they elect.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  49. Left Wing in NC

    I agree with you, Wolf. Afghanistan has become Obama's war and it is something he with have to live with. It's just like Iraq being Bush's war. They both will have to live with the results of these conflicts, good and bad, for the rest of their lives.

    I also agree on the point of Romney needing to provide more substantial commentary when people ask him about Afghanistan and the MIddle East because right now, all he does is dodge the question. It's what Sarah Palin did and look where that got her.

    I think Mitt Romney is going to have tough time this Fall when he starts to do one on one debates against Obama. Not only because I feel Obama is the better man to hold the position he currently holds, but because Romney is going to have a really tough time shaking his image as a flip-flopper.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
    • K. Moll

      He's going to have an even harder time standing-up against the ONLY 100% Constitutional candidate that has an un-broken, un-compromised, un-flip-flopped voting record that can be measured 100% against the Constitution without question. Can you say that about YOUR guy ?? You're all in for a huge surprise come August and with November following shortly after, to see a man who KEEPS his promises and is as transparent and honest as the day is long. Won't you all be surprised to see the Phonenix Rising from the ashes of YOUR unbelief !!

      May 2, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  50. paul

    Is that you, Wolf? If it wasn't for journalists like yourself, we might have avoided Iraq II. You were so gung-ho, you had your own show, "Guns and Ammo." Now its Obama's war?

    May 2, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  51. BILL, WI

    Wolf, there was one major point about this agreement that was not in the article. And that is it took almost two years to hammer out the details outlined above. Two years to come to the conclusion that our troops will leave Afghanistan in two years. Just like we have known for three years now, and that the Afghan govt. will have to clean house and eliminate the culture of corruption. And move out of the Middle Ages and form a real central governent to deliver the needed security.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  52. PGelsman

    Whether we leave now or in 10 years, the end result will be the same. The Taliban will take over and all the improvements and freedoms we gave them will be lost. Let's get out now and let China have it. Totalitarianism will go great with Islam........

    May 2, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  53. damo12345

    One can certainly look at the war in Afghanistan and conclude that it has become Obama's war. However, I think that any analysis that treats Afghanistan and Iraq as being entirely separate is fundamentally flawed. The attacks upon America in 2001 originated from Afghanistan, from the Taliban-supported Al Queda, and yet America's resources were diverted away from that front to Iraq. Certainly, Obama increased the number of troops deployed to Afghanistan, but that shouldn't have been necessary in 2009. Sufficient troops should have been sent to Afghanistan long before he took office, instead of being rerouted to Iraq. Many of the problems in Afghanistan that any elected President will have to face are due to the way resources were squandered on a different front, and the long-term physical and psychological toll taken on troops who were senselessly sent to Iraq instead of being sent to the region where the attacks on America actually originated.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  54. linda Collins

    Romney is vague because he's clueless about foreign policy. To have him as Commander in chief would be a disaster!

    May 2, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
    • Sarah from SF

      Unlike our current president? They are BOTH weak on this.

      May 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
      • DB

        I'm sorry, but just how is Obama weak on foreign policy (especially the aggressive kind)?

        May 2, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  55. Davis

    That's right he tripled the troops. But did some come from Iraq? No matter. He follows his CFR, Trilateral, Bilderberg, Goldman Sachs orders.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  56. elan simckes

    i do not believe that President Obama has a clear understanding of that part of the world, but while i do not agree at all with the wackos who think he is a muslim i don't think it is irrational to conclude that Obaba has an unhealthy dose of compassion, sympathy, and identification with the muslim world. That in and of itself should not be an issue except tthat studies and pollls have shown that a large percentage of the islamic world view the USA as the evil empire.

    we need to work the system in our favor. play by their rules. we need to support our true and natural friends- like israel

    May 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  57. Weldon Gebhard

    War spending is only important when "others" are in office.
    Also note the Anti War demonstrations ceased when Obama/Democrats took office.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
    • Jeff

      you lie. I live in Washington and the anti-war protests are almost daily.

      May 2, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
      • Sarah from SF

        They stopped in San Francisco. Now it's all about Occupy – the protesting crowd no longer cares about the war or the soldier's lives anymore.

        May 2, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
      • Kevin

        Jeff is right. The difference is the media stopped putting them on TV once Obama came to power. Wouldn't want to make him look bad, now.

        May 2, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  58. confused

    The apology that Obama forgot to make to the taxpayers of the USA ... The cost of Air Force 1 – $150K per hour, the flight time between Washington DC and Afghanistan – 12 hours each way – cost for this trip $3.6 million dollars ... this is a greater waste than the GSA scandal
    Another thing Obama didn’t say about his trip to Afghanistan is ... just the cost of Air Force 1 ... would pay off 24 people's houses. Next time he wants to waste our tax dollars, why doesn’t he just have a lottery and pay off 24 people’s houses, that way at least someone would benefit from his campaigning on tax payer dollars.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • WV Gleeman

      Really? I mean, I can at least see a point to people who complain when he makes campaign stops while doing something official on AF1 but are you seriously saying that he is wrong to use the trappings of his office to travel and do his job? Sometimes you people are just so far off(not even far right) that it's just ridiculous.

      May 2, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Tired of Paying

      That's exactly what I think every time I hear about govt waste! Who knows how many new businesses people would create if they didn't have to spend half of their income for their entire working life just to pay for a house!

      IMHO re-directing all the bailout money, foreign aid and war profiteering to simply purchasing homes for Americans would make us much safer, richer and create more jobs than all the money that currently flows out of the country an into the hands of the 1% or other people who hate Americans.

      May 2, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • kirby

      I hope when he wins another 4 more years he flies more on Air Force 1...GO get a real life whacko, this man is on officical business for this great country, if you even still believe its great. I doubt that, since you do not like Obama being the president and commander in chief. LOL.....

      May 2, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • kkrogman

      Cost of President Obama personally thanking troops who have been putting their lives on the line for his life and yours while promising them a trip home in the immediate future = Priceless.

      May 2, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  59. wvufan

    Bin Laden is gone so as far as im concerned the rise is troops when he took office is justified. Secondly " He didn’t give us the answers to those questions because he himself doesn’t know the answers" Well frankly...who does have all the answers? Perhaps you do Wolf.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  60. Alan S

    All too often our politicians, including Obama and Romney, are unwilling to state clearly their plans (if they have any), for fear the other side will criticize those plans. Better, they think, to follow the example of Richard Nixon who in 1972 announced he had "a secret plan" to end the Viet Nam war. To many politicians, Nixon's was the perfect solution - he could claim he had a plan, but it was secret, so no one could criticize the plan.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  61. JMmichigan

    WOW!!!

    $2 billion a week!! I guess great blunder follow great nations...

    May 2, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  62. cobraman

    Just blame Bush.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  63. Collin

    The truth is generally what comes to mind for me.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  64. Biasedun

    Unfortunately nothing this particular President says is enough!! How much and how detailed much a speech be, in a limited time period, to make you happy Wolf? I don't believe that there is an answer...only discontent from you and others. How sad!

    May 2, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  65. Brian

    You sound pretty clueless there Wolf. How can Romney be anything other than vague? He's not sitting in the Oval Office, with numerous advisers and up to date intel. How can he decide what he's going to do without having any of this knowledge. Talk about being irresponsible. What would you do Wolf...I mean sitting at your desk at CNN.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  66. The Concerned One

    Wolf is right, this is Obama's War.
    He basically tripled it's size, and now that he wants to be re-elected he has come up with this phony plan to scale it down.
    If he wanted to withdraw, which is what I thought he said he wanted back in 2008, then why didn't he do it in his first year?
    Why saddle us with Obamacare (which will be overturned in the S.C.), and some of these other "accomplishments"....

    LIST OF OBAMA ACCOMPLISHMENTS:

    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S. Record 22% of all homeowners are underwater on their mortgages √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S. Record Bankruptcies √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S Record Home Foreclosures √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S Record Numbers in Poverty √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S Record Homelessness √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S Record Numbers on Food Stamps √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S. Record Loans from China √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S Record Fall in Housing Prices/Equity √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S Record Unemployment (really 19%) √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S Record for number of working men unemployed (1 in 5) √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S. Record for no jobs created in one month (August 2011) √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S. Record Deficits √ And he has just added another $1.5 TRILLION !!! √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S Record for Spending – Over $6.7 Trillion √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S Record Debt – Added over $6.7 Trillion √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S. Record for number of unemployed blacks (27.9%) √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S. Record Wealth gap between young and old is widest ever √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S Record Servicemen deaths in Afghanistan √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S Record Bonuses for Wall Street Brokers and Bank Managers √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S. Record High Gasoline Prices since the Carter administration √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S. Record Devaluation of the Dollar (Devalued by 19.5%) √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S. Record for Most Jobs created in China & Finland √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S. Record for No Budget presented to American people (3 Years) √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S. Record for internet snooping on civilians √
    OBAMA CHANGE: U.S. Record for most children living in poverty (1 in 5) √

    May 2, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
    • a texan

      Could you cite your sources?

      May 2, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
      • Reagan80

        If you need the sources you probably wouldn't know how to find them.

        May 2, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • jennifer in Houston

      Your concern has obviously skewed your thinking. .. almost all of your listed diatribe can be attributed to the previous administration...

      May 2, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Time

      Seriously?

      This is a major cleanup after the system was completely screwed up with republican policies since the 90's

      Obama came into a mess and he's just cleaning it up.

      May 2, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • kelvin

      Did Obama started the war looking for weapon of mass nothing so why dont you put his true accomplishments. Before he
      bring down Big Ben you were not talking, but you was wondering what will be next now Ben is gone you have no respect for the president what a shame.

      May 2, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • American

      We all know Bush brought us here. Now that poor Obama is trying to fix that mess, but we want this mess to be fix in 4 year. Bush took 8 full years to create this mess

      May 2, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • Jody

      You're right, it is now Obama's war. Unlike Bush, Obama didn't half-a$$ the job. He increased our presence, got Osama, and is now pulling out...which does take time whether you like it or not.

      It doesn't really matter though. Nobody ever likes to admit when they might be wrong or forced to look at things in a different light for fear of looking stupid/naive.

      May 3, 2012 at 6:27 am |
    • Tannim

      You forgot record numbers of serviceman PTSDs and suicides...

      May 3, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  67. cedaly1968

    I am okay with the level of uncertainty on funding but would really like clarity on troop levels and in particular on troop immunity from Afghan prosecution. I would go so far as to say that the first US President to allow a US troop to be prosecuted under Islamic law in a country we are there to liberate under combat or near combat conditions will likely face an impeachment and removal of office effort by the Congress.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  68. Phil K

    So a perspective somewhat critical in that Obama's plans involve commitment to spend up to 200 billion by 2014
    Interesting to see Republican response, as the trend is for Republicans to paint Obama as weak on foreign policy and military matters
    But they also want to cut government spending
    So can Romney say he will be more aggressive militarily but spend less money? and how would that happen?
    Or is Obama intentionally painting Romney into a corner?

    May 2, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  69. John

    But the Republican don't even want him to lower the number of troops that there now. So the President isn't going to win any way he go.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  70. FoolKiller

    "I think it’s fair to say that Afghanistan is now clearly his war." My opinion of Blitzer just went up.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  71. FoolKiller

    "I could see on their faces at Bagram Air Base that they were thrilled to meet with the commander in chief." I believe that is called transference... but wishful thinking works too.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  72. Graham Krueger

    So much for my "anti-war" president. A huge segment of the population voted for this man because we believed that he was the more likely to reduce our violent involvement overseas, and that he would soon realize Afghanistan is totally untenable, however victory may be defined. Now he's not only extended our involvement there indefinitely, resulting in thousands of civilian deaths and hundreds if not thousands of military deaths by the time we finally pull them out, but also initiated our role in the Libyan civil war, and launched countless attacks into Yemen and Pakistan. We need someone who respects the lives of the military, and will reduce their use as political pawns to shore up a "hawkish" image, and stop using them to kill civilians. I recognize that Romney will be even worse, so, barring an evident Obama landslide, I will have to vote for his reelection, and I'll hate myself for it. I've been taken for a fool, and Obama is just as committed to Perpetual War as Bush was.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Tannim

      A huge segment of the population never bothered to notice that Obama was never anti-war; neither was McCain, and nor is Romney. The only anti-war candidate the past two election cycles is Paul, yet he's the one who gets called crazy for advocating peace and prosperity and freedom instead of war, recession, police state, and fear?

      How much of the Obama vote was really anti-GOP instead of actually anti-war? Probably most of it.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  73. garden1

    obama's speech in afganistan was excellent in engish language, legality, for peace, sovereignity and stability for afganistan, diplomacy, farsightedness, positiveness and security for u.s and world. no present world leaders / statesman and any aspiring would be leaders can speak like this. america should be proud of such an educated and verstile leader, who can bring real prosperity, status as no. 1 world power to remain for an indefinite time.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Tannim

      IOW, it was a well-delivered speech with zero context and 100% horsehockey, which is his typical speech.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  74. a texan

    I think it's also important to ask if there was a surge in afghanistan after the end of the Iraq war. It may be inaccurate to assume, from the way the article is phrased, that the number tripled the day after he took office. Like other careers, the military is also a business, people depend on it for their livelihoods as well – and so yes it is a sacrifice for the soldier, but it is also important to recognize that in some capacity it would have been worse to bring the troops home immediately, since we are still in economic recovery.

    Wolf, could you provide a chart showing the number of troops every year for the past 10 years? Your assessment is really biased otherwise. thanks.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  75. NODEMS

    Once in awhile, I can read the TRUTH from Blitz/CNN:
    IWe are fooled by Obama, this administartion and CNN folks along with some no-brain liberal:
    1. In Jan 2009: There was 36,000 US troop; i.e. when Bush Jr. left the office.
    2. In 2010: There were 100,000 troops, in which Obama requested to increase.
    3. Now 2012: there are 90,000 troops, that means ~ triple the 2009 level when Bush left.

    We invaded Afghanistan because it was the safe haven for Bin Laden and Al Queda and it is where they planned , trained there killers to attcahed US on 9/11. It DOES MAKE SENSE for the US to go there and destroy the Laden's safe house. People should be clear on this ugly start of the war. If we do not attach them in Afghanistan, they will come to the US soil and kill us. Now that, Bin Laden is dead, most of the Al Queda ran away, the remaining teorrist are Taliban , who want to growth ovanium. The US has no interest in that country anymore! They do not have oil, and considered no threat to US!. They believe on their Muslim Coral, let them growth up because we have enough problem at home, Obama and this administartion keep spending and spending, loan from China, Russia for trillions, shipping our business to please China and consequentially destroy the US technology forces and employee.
    he went to there apologize Karzai and helping those killers to sell drugs to us or what?
    Get out as soon as we can, now not until 2014, and most important things DO NOT APOLOGIZE to them.

    May 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Tannim

      "If we do not attach them in Afghanistan, they will come to the US soil and kill us"

      You still buy into that neocon manure? Bad grammar and spelling aside (which does you no favors), the Afghans simply want us to leave them alone in peace. That's the desire of most of the Middle East, but we keep sticking our unwanted noses in there, and they keep telling us to get out and knock it off, we ignore them, so they make us pay attention with bombings and 9/11.

      Seriously, go apply cause and effect to America's role in global history, especially in that region.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:34 am |
  76. Saynotocorruption

    2 billion a week works out to 1.16 million dollars per combat troop per year (based on 90k). I understand that there are support personnel and bombs and equipment that is lumped into that, but it still seems excessive. I'd like to see a breakdown of the economics of this war.

    May 2, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  77. Options_In_November

    2024 is a long way away. I wonder how many troops a President Paul would leave in Afghanistan in 2015 (or 2013 for that matter).

    May 2, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Tannim

      Roughly ten, and they are the embassy intel spooks.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:35 am |
  78. Raymond Gill

    What he didn't give the American people is a valid reason for being there after 10 years. Did anyone do a cost benefit analysis of this policy. It is utter nonsense to believe that the Taliban pose a threat to U.S. national security. With the
    corruption in the current government they pose as much of a threat to our National Security as the Taliban. If your objective is a perpetual war to keep our troops occupied you could not have a better set of circumstances. The Pakistani Taliban are going to continue there pursuit of regaining control of Afghanistan with or without the help of a weakened Al Queda force. We are aiding both Pakistan and Afghanistan and they asre both providing resistence to our troops.Tell us Mr. President what is in it for us at the price we are still going to pay under your plan,

    May 2, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  79. rufus

    The troops support Ron Paul overwhelmingly. Doesn't that count for something? Whatsamotta wit the rest of us?

    May 2, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Tannim

      The rest think such novel concepts as peace, prosperity, freedom, and limited, decentralized government is crazy talk–nevermind that they're the only thigns that actually work...

      May 3, 2012 at 10:38 am |
  80. Griff

    "Your Quote: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, by the way, has been very vague in outlining what he would do in Afghanistan. He issued a rather bland statement last night after Obama’s speech.

    In recent months, Romney has dodged the tough questions, usually saying only that he will want to consult with his commanding generals on the ground before announcing his own strategy.

    In my opinion, that’s not good enough. Un quote
    "And so why, Wolfe do you think Romney should help Obama in an election year, by telling CNN (Obama's home team) what a GOP glovedrnment would do??"

    May 2, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  81. Reagan80

    All of this, the money and the lives, could have been saved if Bill Clinton had the guts to take out Bin Laden on any one of the three chances he had to do it. The wars, the bad economy, all of it. Still, the Dims love him and Hillary and give us the same thought processes with Obama. And, half the electorate buys it. Lincoln was right: you can fool some of the people all of the time.

    May 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Tannim

      Wrong. All of this was unavoidable if we had simply left the region alone after WWII and not been meddling in it ever since, be it Saddam, the Shah, Desert Storm, the no-fly zone, and the current invasions/occupations.

      May 3, 2012 at 10:40 am |
  82. Johnh77

    So you want answers as to what Romney is going to do if he were elected. You want answers before he has talked to the generals on the ground.

    It sounds to me you are saying you'd rather have lies like Obama gave us four years ago, rather than an honest answer of saying he will have to consult with the experts first. A good business man gets good sound advise from those that are truly involved with the process before he rushes off declaring what he is going to do. We need more honesty and less lies. Of course reporters like on the spot answers for they can later make articles and how promises were made and were broken. To the media it's all about the story. Send in the clowns... never mind, I see you already arrived.

    May 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  83. richard

    I don't like Obama and won't vote for him BUT:
    1. It makes little sense for Obama to make public his timetable for a complete American withdrawal.
    2. Ditto for candidate Ronney. Who knows the future and if you backtrack people think you are a weasel. If, Wolf, as you say "This is Obama's war now..." it makes more sense for Romney to be vague (or ,at least, as or more vague than Obama) given both want a successful disengagement as soon as practical. Obama has more "skin in he game" as the expression goes which for the President could be a bonus or an albatross depending on how things go.

    May 2, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Tannim

      The timetable is simple: it should have never been necessary by not invading in the place!

      May 3, 2012 at 10:41 am |
  84. Mark in Montana

    Of course the President didn't give more details because he cannot predict what conditions will be like in six months, to say nothing of two or three years. I also understand why Romney has not offered more details. How can he when much of what is going on he is not privy too, plus he also cannot predict the future.

    What does bother me about Obama, more than Romney, is that the cost of the war is being ignored. For that reason alone, we must reconsider what we are doing there. We cannot afford to maintain troops in Afghanistan forever. If the Afghannies cannot or will make changes in how they govern and the choices they make, we need to leave, sooner rather than later.

    The Karzai government has shown that it is untrustworthy, that it is corrupt and that is has little mind to change. The US taxpayers cannot afford to support Karzai in the manner to which he has become accustomed.

    May 2, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  85. suzibee

    PLEASE PLEASE Vote For Obama!!!!!!

    May 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  86. Griff

    "They call it trick-photography! You are about to see all kinds of pre-aranged Video's that allow people to be in three places at the same time. How the pissin g hell do you think you can hold a liveprlogram on Tv and whatch 20minutes later??? You must think we are all as stupid as you Obama, and to think it took other's brains and not yours Idiot!!!"

    May 2, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  87. Dave

    Tell the Republicants not to start wars that other Presidents have to finish.

    May 2, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  88. nolimits3333

    Barack Obama is who George W. Bush wishes he was.

    May 2, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  89. Cheryl Jefferies

    One thing's for sure: Mitt would never say to anyone: don't be like America. And, he'd never bow to a Muslim despot. Mitt doesn't have to say a thing, actually. He has my vote for sure.

    May 2, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  90. Cheryl Jefferies

    So, Obama goes to Afghanistan and prates on and on about how there's a new "dawn" of peace in the world. He asks the Taliban to join with us in this new "world of peace." AND...he says: we won't say to build a nation like America (sounds like his friend on the Supreme Court, Ruth Ginsberg, telling the Egyptians NOT to use our Constitution as a model for theirs). So, what happens.

    About an hour or two after he leaves, the Taliban, using suicide bombers dressed as women, kill and destroy in a foreign-community compound in Kabul. Well, at least they listened to the part about not being like America.

    May 2, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  91. Jon

    "I think it’s fair to say that Afghanistan is now clearly his war."

    I disagree, Mr. Blitzer. Are any of the Republicans – with the exception of Mr. Paul – calling for a full and immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan? Then that makes it effectively *our* war.

    May 2, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  92. Lizzie

    More troops have been killed under his watch, then under Pres.Bush

    May 2, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Jon

      Lizzie – lie. You're excluding the deaths from Iraq.

      May 3, 2012 at 12:42 am |
  93. Howard

    Instead of governing and leading ... once again, Obama is exploiting the Presidency, our tax dollars, and even America's Foreign Policy, in an attempt to get himself reelected.

    May 2, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • 4trillion

      Experts everywhere............everyone has the Afghanistan answer...don't commit to withdrawal schedule ....do it faster, take your time..........................the president is paid for the nuance, reading the situation, the Afghan president, the generals on the ground, overall terrorism strategy, Pakistan strategy, and make a call......most won't agree with his call, but they aren't paid to be president, and definitely shouldn't be, including Wolf Blitzer....this is a cheap shot....Wolf doesn't know what Obama is dealing with, so keep your optionions to yourself....you are a news reporter, not an analyst.............Obama's foreign policy decisions have been excellent considering the challenges he has had to face.

      May 2, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  94. what we didn't hear

    We didn't hear the one about how some idi ot s with research papers said that students with a degree make sooooo much more money that they can raise the tuition and make us borrow more from the banksters. (same trick, different day)

    May 2, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • what we didn't hear

      usually from some front org that plays right into the interests of the banksters and organizations that rip us off. just keeping an arms length, but really they are all in it together. big scam.

      May 2, 2012 at 2:26 pm |

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