Thursday, June 23, 2011


President Obama's Afghanistan speech was both underwhelming and totally expected. Here are a few little truths about America's Afghan war.
  • A ten percent reduction in troop levels is insignificant. We'll still have 90,000 soldiers in country.
  • The 33,000 soldier withdrawal promised by September, 2012 is nothing new, it is what he promised in 2009 when he "surged" 33,000 troops into Afghanistan.
  • Which is just going back to where things were when George Bush Jr. left office.
  • If it ever happens.
  • The promise to "change [the mission] from combat to support" by 2014 is a meaningless distinction because...
  • There will still be over 60,000 soldiers in Afghanistan which is a significant occupation force.
The reason for this speech was to set this very modest draw down in stone because the Pentagon has been resisting removing so much as a single soldier from Afghanistan. The attempt is to shift focus to 2014 (this link is a very good analysis) much like a magician creates an illusion by distraction. The year 2014 is far enough in the future, and beyond the next election cycle, that no one will remember then what was said today.

The final truth is that neither political nor military leaders can envision any way to gracefully extract from Afghanistan. We are stuck in a war that will be measured in decades instead of years.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Obama's action will result, by the end of 2012, in there being 2-3 times the troops in Afghanistan than when he took office. This is nothing but continued US imperialism, the opposite of what the American people want. The goofy part about it is that, other than illegal drugs, it is hard to see what the US even achieves through this imperialism.