Just days after his surprise trip to Kabul, the president says “the tide of war has turned in Afghanistan” and it is now time to “focus on nation building here at home.”
“We’ve built strong Afghan Security Forces. We have devastated al Qaeda’s leadership. And one year ago, our troops launched the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. The goal that I set — to defeat al Qaeda, and deny it a chance to rebuild — is within reach,” Obama said in his weekly address.
The president visited Afghanistan on the one-year anniversary of bin Laden’s death, where he signed an agreement outlining the 10-year relationship between the U.S. and Afghanistan after the American withdrawal.
“As our coalition agreed, by the end of 2014, the Afghans will be fully responsible for the security of their country. And this is as it should be. Because after more than a decade of war, it is time to focus on nation-building here at home,” the president said.
Turning to domestic politics, Obama asked what kind of country will greet U.S. troops as they return from war. “Will it be a country where a shrinking number of Americans do really well while a growing number barely get by? Or will it be a country where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules — a country with opportunity worthy of the troops who protect us?” he asked.
Taking a veiled stab at Republicans, the president said the country should not “prioritize things like more tax cuts for millionaires while cutting the kinds of investments that built a strong middle class.”
“That’s why I’ve called on Congress to take the money we’re no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the other half to rebuild America,” he said.