Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Obama Sets End Date On Afghan War

President Obama is calling for the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan in three years. You wouldn't have to look at a calendar to know that this seems rather unusual to plan the conclusion of a war based on a date and not on actually winning the war.

The US didn't wage World War II with an end-date in mind. The Allies waged the war to win unconditional surrender. Now, President Obama appears to time the end of the Afghan operations with US national elections.

Is that a cynical connection to make? Hardly.

It's yet another political calculation made by President Obama in the course of trying to come up with an Afghan policy.

President Obama is setting an end-date for the war in Afghanistan, which not a winning solution.
President Obama intends to conclude the Afghanistan war and withdraw most U.S. troops within three years, according to senior administration officials.

Obama is sending 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan and ordering military officials to get the reinforcements there within six months, White House officials told CNN Tuesday.

Obama will travel to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, later Tuesday to officially announce his plans. It would to be his second escalation of U.S. forces in the war-torn Islamic country since he came to power in January.
He's basically telegraphing to the Taliban and all our enemies that they simply have to outlast the US resolve to succeed.

It's the worst possible outcome here, and doesn't stand even a modicum of scrutiny. After all, how can he vow to bring home the troops if the situation remains as it has been since 2001 - which is the Afghan/Pakistani border remains porous and through which Taliban and al Qaeda continue to operate from safe havens on both sides of the border. Even though US and Pakistani efforts to attack those safe havens have culled the number of Taliban and thwart efforts to reestablish safe havens, the threat remains. Telegraphing the long term strategy means that the Taliban and al Qaeda will tailor their response accordingly. They will most likely do all they can to hasten the troop withdrawals through further attacks and make life absolutely miserable for all involved.

Withdrawing US forces would also make the situation for the Afghan government even more difficult, as the US force has been one of the few stabilizing factors at play in a region that has seen nothing but strife and war for the last three decades.

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