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The National Interest, Front And Center

Greenwald praises one aspect of Obama's speech:

Obama did not even mention -- let alone hype -- the issue of women's rights in Afghanistan.  There were no grandiose claims that the justness of the war derives from our desire to defeat evil, tyrannical extremists and replace them with more humane and democratic leaders.  To the contrary, he was commendably blunt that our true goal is not to improve the lives of Afghan citizens but rather:  "Our overarching goal remains the same:  to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaeda." 

There were no promises to guarantee freedom and human rights to the Afghan people.  To the contrary, he explicitly rejected a mission of broad nation-building "because it sets goals that are beyond what can be achieved at a reasonable cost and what we need to achieve to secure our interests"; he said he "refuse[d] to set goals that go beyond our responsibility, our means, or our interests"; and even vowed to incorporate the convertible factions of the Taliban into the government.