Naval Air Station Jacksonville, Florida - President Obama addressed a crowd of GIs about the variety of plans for Afghanistan, none which involve withdrawing as a certain African American candidate had promised over a year ago.
He brought smiles and choked laughter to a variety of D.C. bureaucrats and press corp members with this line of his:
"I will never rush the solemn decision of sending you into harm's way. I won't risk your lives unless it is absolutely necessary,"
However, there was no actual laughter from the troops themselves, as they will be the ones actually risking their lives, and are quite sure that their definition of "absolutely necessary" is probably light years away from the President's.
Said Private Eddie Slovik, "What would be 'absolutely necessary', short of a sea and airborne invasion of Afghani troops landing on the shores of California?"
Corporal Janet Woods agreed. "Unless my parents see Taliban troops taking over their town square, I'm pretty sure they wouldn't think me dying was 'absolutely necessary'."
White House insiders acknowledge that the President may well have a differing idea as to what constitutes "absolutely necessary".
"You can't leave such things to the troops", the insider said on conditions of anonymity. "You know them, it's 'only if there's an invasion' or 'clear and present danger', stuff like that. Sometimes realpolitick requires looser interpretations."
When asked to name some, a variety of things were speculated on as "absolutely necessary". Reduced cost of heroin, more of a hammerlock on a volatile region, increased presence to make China and India remember who's who, the need to justify an increasingly overblown military budget, the need to test new drones for future use against our own people.
Asked if this difference in opinion between the troops and the President might be why recruitment numbers are down, the insider dismissed this.
"Old news. We lowered our expectations on how many we needed to sign up so greatly, that when we got less than we wanted it was still more than we said. Therefore, all is well."
Meanwhile, the President is still debating as to whether to risk 10,000 teen lives, or more, on his "absolutely necessary" objectives.