President Obama sat down with Rolling Stone magazine reporter Jann S. Wenner and discussed many issues, among them the Tea Party, Fox News, Wall Street, Afghanistan, global warming and much more.
On the war, he said that he is living up to a campaign promise to end the conflict in Iraq. The U.S. should have focused from the beginning on Afghanistan, where the attacks originated, and that is where he has focused the military. However, he said he was unhappy with American efforts up to 2009 to prepare Afghanistan for self rule.
Now, I think that a lot of progressive supporters thought that maybe it would be easier than it has proven to be to try to bring Afghanistan to a place where we can see an end in sight. The fact of the matter is, when we came in, what we learned was that the neglect of Afghanistan had been more profound than we expected. Just simple examples: The Afghan National Army, the Afghan security forces, oftentimes were recruited, given a uniform, given a rifle, and that was it they weren't getting trained.
After his aides signaled an end to the interview and he left the room, Obama returned with a final thought:
One closing remark that I want to make: It is inexcusable for any Democrat or progressive right now to stand on the sidelines in this midterm election. There may be complaints about us not having gotten certain things done, not fast enough, making certain legislative compromises. But right now, we've got a choice between a Republican Party that has moved to the right of George Bush and is looking to lock in the same policies that got us into these disasters in the first place, versus an administration that, with some admitted warts, has been the most successful administration in a generation in moving progressive agendas forward.
The entire Rolling Stone interview can be found here.