Saturday, May 07, 2011

Obama Addressing U.S. Troops

President Obama after the Killing of Osama Bin Laden

Tonight, only two hours ago and in the aftermath of the Bin Laden killing, President Obama spoke to U.S. troops at one of the greatest military bases inside the U.S.A.. Here is what he said. Some comments added by me are intended to give background information:

In his speech to Afghanistan veterans at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, Obama said that the U.S. lived a "historic week in the life of their nation". He referred to his visit at Ground Zero in New York the day before and mentioned his visit, shortly before his speech, of the Navy SEAL team that killed Osama Bin Laden. "Those Navy SEALs deserve credit", he said and added: "Job well done!"

A president's visit of a U.S. military unit is considered to be the highest honour to be granted to U.S. servicemen. According to CNN, the SEAL team that came into action was most probably team No. 6 which seemed to be the best team, both, in size and training to fit the task of killing Bin Laden at Abbottabad. It was better suited for that mission than a 12-member team of the Green Barrets that would have been to small for a raid on the vast compound where Osama Bin Laden had been living for some time. The Navy SEAL unit had been originally founded in 1962 and is now stationed in the small town of Virginia Beach, Virginia, where inhabitants don't know much about them as they are behaving very discreetly.

The president then addressed his troops with a remark on the right treatment of wounded soldiers. He said: "You, on the front lines for nearly 10 years, deserve the best healthcare in the world when you are getting wounded."

At this point, I would like to mention earlier difficulties of wounded servicemen to get their treatment paid by the Veterans' Organization, a government run institution that is in charge of caring for wounded and retired soldiers of the U.S. army. Under the former Bush administration, an explosion of treatment costs, due to an increase of military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan, led the Veteran's Organization near to bankruptcy. There is one case that became widely known where the organization denied treatment to a wounded soldier and declared his wounds (parts of a shrapnel inside the body) as being inflicted by "non-combat activity".

Later, Obama praised the troops and said: "We're making progress in Afghanistan and have turned momentum of the Taliban. During my time, pressure on the Taliban has been greater than ever since November 11." And he spoke of a 14-year-old girl that lost her father on September 11 when she was 4. At that time, her father had been trapped in one of the twin-towers. During the last moments of his life and before the building toppled, he phoned his family and spoke to her mother. Her mother then handed over to her 4-year-old daughter who heard her father's voice for the last time, telling her that he would always be near her and watch over her. Obama learned her story from a letter the girl wrote to him. While telling that story to the soldiers, President Obama was obviously moved.

Finally, Obama reminded his troops of the importance of overcoming race discrimination and added an example where coloured students were finally able to study and develop their talents.

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