UPDATE: And it's over. It was a short speech, trying to frame itself as a pivotal moment in American history, the end of a decade of war and discord. But was it effective? I went to conservative magazine National Review's blog The Corner to see what the conservative reaction to the speech is, and they've got nothing on it, focusing instead on a few anarchists breaking windows. I think that means it was an effective speech.

4:31 PM: I'm watching live on MSNBC.com. President Obama's speech begins with a brief history of our history with Afghanistan. And he brings it to the present day: "We broke the Taliban's momentum...we devastated Al Qaeda...the goal that I set, to defeat Al Qaeda. is within reach." Now he says he'll tell us how we'll end our time in Afghanistan. Here's the meat of it, from CNN:

As we do, our troops will be coming home. Last year, we removed 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Another 23,000 will leave by the end of the summer. After that, reductions will continue at a steady pace, with more of our troops coming home. And as our coalition agreed, by the end of 2014 the Afghans will be fully responsible for the security of their country.

"By the end of 2014, the Afghans will be fully responsible for the security of their country." He promises "we will not build permanent bases" in Afghanistan. The Taliban can be part of this future if they break from Al Qaeda. President Obama says that many in the Taliban have agreed with this plan. "Our goal is not to build a country in America's image" or to wipe out the Taliban. That would require many more years, he says. Our goal is to "destroy Al Qaeda."

My fellow Americans, we have traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war. Yet here, in the pre-dawn darkness of Afghanistan, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon. The Iraq War is over. The number of our troops in harm's way has been cut in half, and more will be coming home soon. We have a clear path to fulfill our mission in Afghanistan, while delivering justice to al Qaeda.

This future is only within reach because of our men and women in uniform. Time and again, they have answered the call to serve in distant and dangerous places. In an age when so many institutions have come up short, these Americans stood tall. They met their responsibilities to one another, and the flag they serve under. I just met with some of them, and told them that as Commander-in-Chief, I could not be prouder. In their faces, we see what is best in ourselves and our country.

Now President Obama is circling it around to the home front: "It's time to renew America...a united America of grit." He concludes, "This time of war began in Afghanistan, and here it will end...let us finish the work at hand."