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Obama Makes Surprise Visit to Afghanistan

President Obama today made a surprise visit to Afghanistan to spend time with the troops and to be briefed directly on the situation on the ground.

From the pool report:

(Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan) President Obama made a surprise visit to Afghanistan for a Memorial Day weekend rally with US troops.

Air Force One touched down at Bagram Airfield under cover of darkness Sunday, having quietly left the Washington area Saturday night.

Obama is expected to get an on-site briefing from his military commanders and visit wounded servicemembers at a hospital on the base.

The centerpiece of the trip is a rally with some of the 32,000 Americans who are currently serving in Afghanistan–a war the president is committed to winding down by year’s end. A performance by country music star Brad Paisley, who traveled with the president, will set the tone for the event, expected to be long on thanks for the troops and short on foreign policy pronouncements.

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 US Military Academy at West Point. That’s the setting where in 2009 he announced a troop surge that pushed US 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 US 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.

NOTE: Because of technical work being done on the website this weekend, any comments left on this post may be lost. Thanks for your patience.

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96 Responses to Obama Makes Surprise Visit to Afghanistan

  1. Super secret PR Photo-op to prove he cares about the troops – Oh yes, and he lays a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns and Visits West Point. No Political strategy there.. its election year don’t cha know

    • You are so right! We, the people, are supposed to be so dumb we don’t get it! Always an ulterior motive! I just wish he would be honest for a change.

  2. TV: we’re now (10:15 AZ time) waiting for MrO’s “remarks”.
    He just can’t go there to BE there, he must be SEEN there and HEARD there. How telling.
    This VA scandal must be deeper and more inclusive than we realize.

    • 575 US troops died in Afghanistan during the Bush presidency.
      As of today, more than 2,100. I wonder how many deaths could have been avoided without changing the ROE.

  3. I thought Memorial Day was honoring the deceased veterans with wreath laying ceremonies?

    We should honor and thank veterans everyday of course, but Prezzy’s not impressing me at all with his “Look at Me, I like the troops, See, here I am, with real troops, Yay for me!”. Sorry, I’m just such a skeptic that this isn’t a sincere visit by this man as he desparately needs some good MEDIA ATTENTION !

    • You are absolutely correct. Memorial Day is the occasion to remember those who died during active duty with the United States armed forces. Obama should be back in DC at the graves of the dead soldiers.

      Armed Forces Day is recognition for those currently on active duty in the armed forces.

        • I don’t think it’s going to fly.

          We are talking vets here. Dead vets. Neglected vets. Honored vets. Veterans of multiple wars — some WWII, Korea and VietNam. And their families and others speaking out.

          Unlike in other Obama scandals where there is not a smidgeon of evidence, stuff is leaking out the cracks.

          If vets in Afghanistan are happy their CiC made an effort to recognize them, rather than the the fallen, then I am good with that. But we do know that these are military men and women in active service and they take orders. Just sayin’

          And yet horrible pictures of Ambassador Stevens drug through the streets, brutalized and worse, crickets.

  4. Barry is doing what he does best: reading a teleprompter and telling the sheeple what they want to hear. Media tools parrot him and the sheeple keep to the flock.

  5. I have lost a lot of respect for Brad Paisley for traveling with Obama. I do appreciate Brad going to entertain the troops but wish he could have done it without Obama. I doubt Obama is a Country Music fan.

  6. Obama and his blah, blah, “as your commander in chief” blah blah did not impress me. He used the military for a cheap PR stunt; he cares nothing about them other than using them as a backdrop.

    In other news, why are there 1.5 doctors for every 1 Gitmo prisoner? Yet the ratio for Vets needing medical care is 1 doctor for every 35 Vets. Shouldn’t our Vets be given priority treatment above and beyond what the terrorists or possible terrorists receive?

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/05/22/al-qaeda-terrorists-at-guantanamo-treated-better-than-our-vets/

  7. Obama: “Stop the plane!! I forgot my parting info: Don’t hurry home, guys. Hope this ‘concert’ holds you for a while. The VA has to have time to add your names to the ‘do not serve’ list. Don’t worry tho’, I have a plan to give you all vouchers for a quick ‘look see’ at your wounds and traumas by a genuine ‘health provider,’ (of some sort) It will take quite a lot of time to find out what to do, exactly, but you know you all are (at least one )of my priorities. Know that I won’t let you down. Fly on, Pilot. This is an order from the Commander in Chief. I’ve got to get to that fund raiser in California”

  8. Nothing more sad and demeaning than using Memorial Day and the
    troops serving in harms way to CYA. He’s getting double duty out of
    this dirty deed pretending to be a caring CIC and keep the scandals out of the papers. Wonder what he’s got planned for the 70th anniversary of
    D-Day next month one shudders to think I bet he does nothing.

  9. See, this trip to Afghanistan proves Barry really, really cares about the troops, all evidence to the contrary. And perhaps he’ll be fortunate to hear the call to prayer, “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth”, while he’s there.

  10. How sweet – he flies in to show how much he cares. Just don’t count on that “caring” continuing once they get home should they need any health care through the VA. Who the hell does he think he’s kidding?

    Using the military as backdrops and photo ops and treating them like a cheap date is disgusting.

  11. I know Vets that cannot even get a return phone call, much less help needed. The money he spent on this trip, could have been used toward the VA.

  12. I am confused ………Did we build a Golf Course on Bagram Field ???

    I would love to know how long this trip has been planned. That will tell if it is just political or for the troops. My bet is it was planned last Monday. If he is in Afghanistan then where is Mooch and the moochettes? Paris? Canne Film Festival? Hamptons?

    I wonder how much was spent to show his troops he cares. When in reality each soldier would have preferred all the millions spent would have been spent on the soldiers wasting away on the waiting lists. I can’t believe we can’t give these vets voucher letting them go to any hospital or specialist to be treated. This is type of emergency that Executive Powers would be reasonable. Instead, they want to use it for illegal immigrants.

    Thank You to everyone who served and is serving right now!

  13. Meeting with veterans at a VA hospital would be a brave thing to do. Oops. No, he needs to travel halfway around the world at taxpayer expense, to stand in front of soldiers who are committed by military order and honor to show respect to their disgraceful commander-in-chief.

      • Given this man is so self absorbed and narcissist I wonder if he’s scared? Granted he’s got the best protection but I bet deep inside he
        can’t wait to get on his ‘private jet’ and get back to the golf course and
        Mommy Dearest.

  14. Once again Barack Obama uses the military for his political gain. And I am disgusted. Even more so since it is Memorial Day.

    Hasn’t given two looks at Afghanistan in I don’t know how long, casualties and deaths have tripled (don’t know exact numbers) there since his time in office and in doing this he just thinks we are plain stupid. It’s just so offensive.

    Obama should be at Arlington on his knees in thanks for all those who have fallen. As should we all.

    • Nope.. unless they show up tomorrow for the breakfast and then trip to Arlington to lay the wreath. Gee.. allot of air miles for White House Air. Photo Op.. damage control.. whatever.

      You know he’s keeping away from anything that will cause more damage. He already golfed, but who knows, tomorrow afternoon is free, lets do a military course.

  15. I usually don’t post but am angry beyond words. President Bush went to troops cuz he loved them. Obama going cuz scandal.
    Am wife of retired USMC Vietnam veteran. We are not stupid. We see thru him!

  16. I’ve read that Obama is going to use his commencement address at West Point to defend his foreign policy which I find an odd topic for an address to graduating students. One way or another, he still manages to make it all about me and not about you at all.

    • I am sorry to say this, but the stuff I hear coming out of West Point these days it would not surprise me if some of them were all ears.

      • National Memorial Day Concert on. I am a sucker for this! Playing all the service songs. Vets and active standing in the audience — ramrod straight.

        Compare that to Obama, head down, shoulders slumped, puppy paws up as he came off that plane in Afghanistan.

      • What? The redcoats are coming? Again. They want us back?

        *******
        Seriously. Yes, there is Europe. Some interesting signs. Obama’s reputation is in the worldwide toilet that’s for sure.

        • I meant the rise of “the right” there which is really nationalism and populism. Our country needs to rediscover nationalism. A bas with globalism.

          • I was teasing with the redcoats. I thought the lean to the right was what you were talking about. Nationalism is problematic as you know especially in Europe. That said, it beats what has been going on over the years. I see signs that are discomforting about the ugly side of nationalism and populism — scapegoats. But all in all…

            And in Amerika we need to return to America.

            My worry is that the apparatchiki and the departmental overstep is getting more and more entrenched because of Obama’s second term and will be very difficult to untangle. And that second term was not honestly come by. That was intimidation and illegal acts, and cover ups.

            Anybody else and this guy would have been out of here.

  17. Looks like Karzai blew BHO off. The WH tried to paint the picture that a meeting with Karzai was NOT planned, as this trip was focused on thanking the troops. Only after Karzai’s spokeswoman revealed that BHO requested that Karzai meet him at Bagram does the WH admit the fact that a meeting was requested.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/obama-arrives-in-afghanistan-on-surprise-visit/2014/05/25/7df61452-e41f-11e3-8f90-73e071f3d637_story.html?tid=up_next

    Obama did not meet with Karzai, with whom he has had a stormy relationship, but they spoke by phone for about 20 minutes before Obama left Bagram. A senior administration official said Obama praised Karzai for progress being made by Afghan security forces and for his country’s successful first-round election in April and said he continued to support Afghan-led peace negotiations with the Taliban.

    For the most part, Obama is biding his time until Karzai’s ­tenure, which has spanned the post-9/11 period, ends this summer. The country’s presidential election in April produced two finalists — former Afghan foreign minister Abdullah Abdullah and onetime World Bank economist Ashraf Ghani — who are scheduled for a runoff June 14. Administration officials said before the visit began that Obama would not inject himself into the runoff campaign by meeting with either candidate or discussing the race.

    “We are mindful that we are in the middle of an election season,” Rhodes said.

    But he added that Obama’s visit was meant, in part, to assure the Afghan public that “no matter what happens, we have an enduring commitment to Afghanistan.”

    Obama and his military command are eager for the election to be resolved. The winner will be asked immediately to sign a security agreement that will help determine how many U.S. forces, now numbering 32,000, will remain in Afghanistan after the end of the year. The number could range as high as 10,000 troops to meet what Rhodes said would be a twin training and counterterrorism mission.

    Karzai confounded Obama last year by refusing to sign the agreement after months of negotiation, saying that such a significant step should be left to his successor. Both Abdullah and Ghani have stated publicly that they intend to sign within days of taking office, probably in July.

    A Karzai spokeswoman, Adela Raz, said that the U.S. Embassy tried to arrange a meeting during Obama’s visit to Bagram but that the Afghan president declined. Raz said Karzai invited Obama to the presidential palace instead. Afghan officials indicated that asking Karzai to meet at the U.S. military base, rather than his own home, was a sign of disrespect.

    A bilateral meeting was not planned, the White House said in a statement, because the trip was “focused on thanking our troops.”

    “We did offer him the opportunity to come to Bagram,” the statement said, “but we’re not surprised that it didn’t work on short notice.”

  18. Yippee freaking yay! I finally got a comment through! With the exception of one or two comments that somehow made it through a few days ago, I’ve been shut out even though I’ve tried to comment using three different browsers and my iPhone.

    I hope the problem if finally solved. Thanks, Keith!

  19. Obama stayed on the plane during refueling at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. If he really cared wouldn’t he have gotten off the plane and visited the wounded troops? What a guy. Doesn’t go anywhere without a photo op.

    • Yesterday, all of the news outlets reported that he would visit the wounded during his pit stop at Ramstein.
      Today, no one has the cajones to report that the little punk never got off the plane.
      It’s just as well, he doesn’t deserve to wipe their boots!

  20. It’s not from the kindness of his heart, he is doing some serious damage control on his tattered image over the VA mess and claims that he has not been a compassionate commander in chief. It will be another photo ops and BS speech session, a quick run to see if he can jack up his sagging numbers. No more, no less…In 2008 when he was campaigning against the mess at the VA, there were 11,000 cases in the backlog. Today there are over 245,000, he really took care of the situation he promised to take care of in 2008….

  21. As a Veteran, I am insulted by his presence on any Military Facility, and by any comment or speech he makes to any member of the Uniformed Services of the Republic Of The United States Of America. Contrary to what appears to be widespread mistaken belief, Obama is NOT the Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces. He is ONLY Commander In Chief during a war that is Legally Declared By The Only Entity In The United States with the Constitutional Authority to do so: Congress.
    Obama is a Traitor, and has given material and spiritual aid and comfort to the terrorists who are killing Americans. He is an International War Criminal, and needs to be Impeached, Convicted Of Impeachable Offenses by Congress, Removed from Office, and Arrested, Charged, Tried, Convicted, and Imprisoned for his Crimes.

  22. With all that work in Afghanistan and the laying of the wreath he has got to be worn out. It’s okay with me if he takes the rest of the year off.

  23. Does obama really think that the heat from the V. A. scandal will die down while he is hiding out in Afghanistan? Patients will continue to die while waiting for an appointment to see a doctor and thanks to the news about the outrageous mistreatment of those that already died after waiting for months, each new death will stoke the fires caused by obama’s incompetence.

    All of us suffer from the human disease of mortality but the organization that is the V.A. seems to be expediting the process. The doctors aren’t expected to keep us alive forever, but is asking for timely visit schedules too much? If so, the V.A. should allow private medical care diagnosis and treatments for the veterans they can’t handle.

    One daughter complained recently that her father had waited three months for a gall bladder removal, then was told that the surgery was postponed for another six weeks. Anyone who suffered, or knew someone who had suffered from the unremitting pain that a diseased gall bladder can cause knows that there must be a special place in
    Perdition that is reserved for the people responsible for such delays.

    The V.A. hospitals were set up to help our veterans after serving in the armed forces. Some of these people suffered and continue to suffer from terrible service related injuries. Not many private hospitals are experienced in treating agent orange damage.

    We, as a society, are ultimately responsible for this particular mess. We are the people who voted for the representatives that control the V. A. There is more than enough shame to be shared by each and every one of us that didn’t hold those “trusted” representatives accountable for their neglect in this matter.

    I don’t expect the behavior of the big eared biped in the Oval Office to improve because he obviously hates the military and all of the veterans who served in the military. obama continually demonstrates that he naturally lacks the American ethos that real citizens have.

    I do expect Americans to remember those that betrayed the faith that the American people afforded them next November at election time.

  24. Tell a lie long enough, or bend the rules just enough to imply correctness and people without character, morals or ethical beliefs will begin to think it is the truth. Perception is everything to overthrow our way of life! Unfortunately, we are headed in the opposite direction of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness….
    When the sum total of our morality, both personal and public, consists of not being judgmental, we should not be surprised to find that there is little to be concerned with more than the pursuit of whatever brings a moment of pleasure today with no regard for the effects this will have for anyone’s well-being tomorrow.

  25. Well as a serious response, it is because Afghanistan is full of mentally ill inbred (not a stereo type, take a look at other countrys near there. In Pakistan hundreds of children born die immediately due to genetic defects caused by inbreeding. If my facts are correct, 10000 children a year a born either dead or die very soon after birth due to Genetic defects alone. The same amount lives with these defects, many being psychological and almost always going untreated.) We all know this though. Point im trying to make is Obama has a perfect reason to have to go in secret. However he shouldn’t have to be there In the first place considering he promised to get the soldiers out a long time ago. Actually as much as I agree that the war in the mid east was necessary im still wondering why the hell we are still in Afghanistan. Shouldn’t we trying to build relationships and democracys in countries AROUND Afghanistan that would be EASIER to do so in?
    Whats holding Obama back anyways? He already has control of the government. Hell, the republicans were more worried about the healthcare bill than staying in Afghanistan (im pretty sure many republicans know it is time to move out, and have known for a while. There is nothing holding him back, so why are we keeping them there?