President Obama doesn't win wars, but he does declare an end to them. On the one-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden's death, Obama gave a surprise speech from Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan Tuesday night in which he made the case for a timeline for pulling out of the Afghan war. "My fellow Americans, we have traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war," Obama said. "Yet here, in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon. The Iraq War is over." The Afghan war, he said, will be over -- for us, at least -- soon.
Though Obama's been criticized for being a little too self-congratulatory on the anniversary of bin Laden's death, he didn't do a lot of fist pumping in his speech. That was true visually -- he spoke in front of MRAPS draped with a single American flag -- and in his tone. "Despite initial success, for a number of reasons, this war has taken longer than most anticipated," Obama said. But in the last three years, the U.S. has regained momentum, and "The goal that I set – to defeat al Qaeda, and deny it a chance to rebuild – is within reach." The U.S. will have no permanent bases in Afghanistan, and American troops won't be patrolling cities and mountains. Most important, Afghanistan will not be a little America in Central Asia. Obama said, "Our goal is not to build a country in America’s image, or to eradicate every vestige of the Taliban. These objectives would require many more years, many more dollars, and many more American lives."