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Keller @ Large: Questions Follow Obama’s Afghanistan Speech

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President Barack Obama delivers an address during his visit to Bagram Air Base on May 2, 2012 in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Photo by Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama delivers an address during his visit to Bagram Air Base on May 2, 2012 in Kabul, Afghanistan. (Photo by Kevin Lamarque-Pool/Getty Images)

WBZ-TV's Jon Keller Jon Keller
Jon Keller is WBZ-TV News' Political Analyst, and his "Keller A...
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BOSTON (CBS) – I watched the president’s speech from Afghanistan last night, and thought he sounded… presidential.

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

After his sniping at Mitt Romney for supposedly not being up to taking out bin Laden, I was glad he didn’t turn last night’s remarks into a campaign speech.

He didn’t complain about having inherited this war.

Instead, he rose above the fray and directly addressed the public’s war fatigue, not pandering to it, but instead vowing to “finish the job we started and end this war responsibly.”

And he made it clear he has no use for al Qaeda.

Our main goal over there, he said, is to “destroy” them.

George W. Bush definitely couldn’t have said it better, as unreassuring as that may be to some.

But while the president projected competence and moderation last night, he also left a few of my questions unanswered.

For starters, he claimed the “tide has turned” in the battle with al Qaeda’s buddies, the Taliban, and I hope that’s true.

But the last three years have been the three most deadly for our troops, and as the president noted, we will continue to have Americans in harm’s way for years.

And while it looks like our people are doing their best to win hearts and minds over there, there’s regular evidence that plenty of Afghans hate us and want us gone.

Every real or imagined offense seems to make the situation worse.

Their government regularly denounces us, even as they welcome our aid.

Are we really all set to enjoy the benefits of an “enduring partnership,” as the president claimed?

I’m not even that sure what good such a partnership would do.

This president has basically reaffirmed the doctrine of his predecessor – that if we perceive a threat inside your borders that you can’t or won’t clean up, we reserve the right to come in and clean it up ourselves.

Wouldn’t a real partner be trusted to take care of that for us?

The president ended his talk with some all-purpose rhetoric about how it’s “time to renew America,” and that sounds good.

Could it be that a much larger re-direction of resources from there to here would really help get that renewal off the ground?

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

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