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Obama agenda: Drawdown

“President Barack Obama will set a course Monday for the nation's changing mission in Iraq as the military prepares to end its combat operations there,” the AP writes. “In a speech at the national convention of the Disabled American Veterans in Atlanta, Obama was to address the progress being made to meet his deadline of drawing down all combat troops by the end of the month.”

The Washington Post: “The speech is intended to help Obama check off another of the major promises he made during the campaign, and shortly after becoming commander-in-chief. Barely a month after he took office, he told a military audience at Camp Lejeune: ‘Let me say this as plainly as I can: by August 31, 2010, our combat mission in Iraq will end.’ White House officials are very wary of echoing Bush's pronouncement of: ‘mission accomplished,’ especially given the ongoing political turmoil and potential for violence in Iraq. Instead, in his speech, Obama will remind Americans that thousands of troops will remain in the country as a ‘transitional force’ for years, and will likely face danger.”

The New York Times adds, “The high-level public focus on Iraq appears aimed at least in part at blunting some of the growing frustration, particularly among his liberal base, over the struggling war in Afghanistan. The president essentially is arguing to skeptics in the public and in Congress that he is bringing at least one war to a conclusion and can do so with another eventually as well.”

On message: Echoing what Vice President Biden said on NBC’s Today show, President Obama mentioned this about Afghanistan: “Nobody thinks that Afghanistan is going to be a model Jeffersonian democracy,” Obama said on CBS Sunday Morning. “What we’re looking to do is difficult -- very difficult -- but it’s a fairly modest goal, which is: Don’t allow terrorists to operate from this region. Don’t allow them to create big training camps and to plan attacks against the US homeland with impunity.”

And he revised his grade to an “incomplete.”

Speaking of Afghanistan, the New York Times “Week in Review” asked this question: “Long before Afghanistan became the longest shooting war in American history, the question loomed: Could it have turned out differently?”

“If only we had been smart enough, the arguments went, the ‘good war’ might not have gone bad. If only we had gone into Tora Bora with overwhelming force in the winter of 2001, and captured Osama bin Laden. If only we had put a substantial force into the country in 2002, rather than assuming that the Taliban had been 'eviscerated,' the term used, and now regretted, by American military briefers. If only we had carried through on President George W. Bush’s promise of a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Afghanistan. If only we had not been distracted by Iraq, or averted our eyes from the Taliban’s resurgence, or confronted the realities of Pakistan’s fighting both sides of the war ... If only.”

“First lady Michelle Obama urged Congress to pass legislation that calls for higher nutritional standards for school meals. In an op-ed essay appearing in Monday's edition of The Washington Post, Mrs. Obama wrote that the Child Nutrition Bill would require more fruits, vegetables and whole grains and less fat and salt in school lunches and breakfasts. And she said it would help eliminate junk food in vending machines.”

President Obama became the first sitting president to take in a WNBA game. He played basketball for 75 minutes with the All Army team and then he and daughter Sasha took in a Washington Mystics game later.