When President Barack Obama announced the 30,000 U.S. troop surge for Afghanistan in December 2009, he said: “It must be clear that Afghans will have to take responsibility for their security, and that America has no interest in fighting an endless war in Afghanistan.”
Obama, president for less than a year, said those words at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He was still trying to prove that he had what it took to be commander-in-chief.
A year-and-a-half later, it is now a different setting. Obama will announce his plan to start bringing troops home from Afghanistan at the White House, having proven his mettle when he gave the go-ahead for the daring and risky operation that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
He is also a declared candidate for re-election facing a public most concerned about the economy and quite tired of war.
Watch to see whether tonight’s speech will take on a campaign tone or frame the decision as a result of victory. It may be neither. We’ll see at 8 p.m.