Deficit reduction:

Our new approach in Afghanistan is likely to cost us roughly 30 billion dollars for the military this year, and I will work closely with Congress to address these costs as we work to bring down our deficit.

Why we must save some crumbs for domestic needs:

But as we end the war in Iraq and transition to Afghan responsibility, we must rebuild our strength here at home. Our prosperity provides a foundation for our power. It pays for our military.

The other really good reason to invest in peace:

We have to invest in our homeland security, because we cannot capture or kill every violent extremist abroad.

Testifying to the character of our men and women:

We will remove our combat brigades from Iraq by the end of next summer, and all of our troops by the end of 2011. That we are doing so is a testament to the character of our men and women in uniform.

Risking a line that any non-military audience would cheer inappropriately for (while claiming Taliban-Al Qaeda links and threats the White House had previously rejected):

If I did not think that the security of the United States and the safety of the American people were at stake in Afghanistan, I would gladly order every single one of our troops home tomorrow.

Undocumented claim nonetheless making case against war:

In the last few months alone, we have apprehended extremists within our borders who were sent here from the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit new acts of terror.


And going forward, we will be clear about what we expect from those who receive our assistance. We will support Afghan Ministries, Governors, and local leaders that combat corruption and deliver for the people. . . . So tonight, I want the Afghan people to understand – America seeks an end to this era of war and suffering. We have no interest in occupying your country. . . . to forge a lasting friendship in which America is your partner, and never your patron.

Changing the Global War on Terra Without, You Know, Changing it:

The struggle against violent extremism will not be finished quickly, and it extends well beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan. It will be an enduring test of our free society, and our leadership in the world. And unlike the great power conflicts and clear lines of division that defined the 20th century, our effort will involve disorderly regions and diffuse enemies.

Where to go next:

Where al Qaeda and its allies attempt to establish a foothold – whether in Somalia or Yemen or elsewhere – they must be confronted by growing pressure and strong partnerships.

Pretending to criminalize a felony by not prosecuting it:

I have prohibited torture

Bragging about supposedly closing one of multiple sites of crimes:

. . . and will close the prison at Guantanamo Bay

The world's ingratitude:

We have joined with others to develop an architecture of institutions – from the United Nations to NATO to the World Bank – that provide for the common security and prosperity of human beings. We have not always been thanked for these efforts.

The 177 nations we're in against our will:

We have not sought world domination. . . . We do not seek to occupy other nations.

Useful reaction:

The cadets sleeping in the audience.

David Swanson is the author of the new book "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union" by Seven Stories Press. You can order it and find out when tour will be in your town: