Leaving Afghanistan

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Floating a trial balloon for the White House, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced last week that the Obama administration is planning to speed up its withdrawal timetable in Afghanistan. “By mid- to the latter part of 2013, we’ll be able to make a transition from a combat role to a training, advise and assist role,” Panetta said. That would be a year earlier than what the Obama administration had initially proposed.

This should come as no surprise. In fact, it’s exactly what President Obama has been pushing for, itching for, advocating, from the very beginning of his administration.

Recall that in 2009, after a lengthy re-review of his own policy, the president concluded that “it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan,” before promising that “after 18 months, our troops will begin to come home.”

That announcement raised red flags for many observers.

First, the notion that “our vital national interest” somehow has an expiration date was nothing short of bizarre.

Second, the much-ballyhooed surge of 30,000 troops was less than what the generals asked for—Gen. Stanley McChrystal wanted 40,000—and arguably never had the full impact it was designed to have. In fact, the White House was trying to get the military to accede to a faster draw-down—and arguably shorter withdrawal timetable—last July.

As Defense News reported at the time, then-Defense Secretary Gates was “sparring at a distance with White House aides who are pushing for a faster draw-down of the 100,000-strong U.S. force.” Indeed, after the killing of Osama bin Laden in May 2011, the president declared that “it’s now time for us to recognize that we’ve accomplished a big chunk of our mission and that it’s time for Afghans to take more responsibility.” He then ordered the withdrawal of 33,000 troops by summer 2012. Again, the military advocated a more modest reduction of between 5,000 and 10,000 troops.

Third, letting the Taliban know when the U.S. military would end its offensive only made the mission harder—and the Taliban less open to some sort of settlement.

That helps explain why a leaked U.S. military report, based on interviews of Taliban prisoners, concludes that:

“Taliban commanders, along with rank and file members, increasingly believe their control of Afghanistan is inevitable. Though the Taliban suffered severely in 2011, its strength, motivation, funding and tactical proficiency remains intact…they see little hope for a negotiated peace. Despite numerous tactical setbacks, surrender is far from their collective mindset.”

Regrettably, it seems the very opposite mindset is at work in Washington.

To be sure, the American people and their military should not be expected to sacrifice more for Afghanistan than the Afghan people are themselves willing to sacrifice. Moreover, it is the president’s responsibility to determine and then to do what is in America’s national interest—not what is in Hamid Karzai’s interest. In other words, sometimes the wisest, most just, most appropriate decision a president can make is to pull back and turn away.

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  • http://www.contexflexed.com Flipside

    This is just more HUDSON INSTITUTE crap about how the US needs to be on a permanent war footing and occupying several countries at once to project our dominance in the oil industry. It is a strong example of why most consultants are charlatans. Breaking America's economy is NOT sound foreign policy. It is sound PERSONAL economic policy if you are a goldbricker who makes his money on saber-rattling. That is all. "Public Policy Research and communications consultancy" is nothing more than propaganda.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    “By mid- to the latter part of 2013, we’ll be able to make a transition from a combat role to a training, advise and assist role,” Panetta said.

    While I support getting out of Afghanistan ASAP, I definitely disagree with everything about the way the incompetent Obama administration is going about it. I want out of Afghanistan because the entire nation-building mission is incredibly fantasy based and counterproductive since it is based on false PC multicultural premises and and misconceptions about Islam that preordained the mission to fail. While Obama wants out to appease his delusional leftwing base and because he doesn't have a clue.

    Anyway, lifting up Muslims in essence is lifting up our eternal enemies. We should not be lifting up our eternal enemies. Instead, we should be rendering them into abject poverty. Therefore, in a nutshell the Afghanistan nation-building mission is incredibly fantasy based and counterproductive.

    First, the notion that “our vital national interest” somehow has an expiration date was nothing short of bizarre.

    Uhm…unless you are delusional, we don't have any vital national interest in Afghanistan.

    the much-ballyhooed surge of 30,000 troops was less than what the generals asked for

    The surge was doomed to fail, just like the surge in Iraq inevitably failed before, as the entire basis for the fantasy based nation-building missions were founded on false PC multicultural premises and misconceptions about Islam. The surge in Iraq may have been successful in stopping the violence, but nevertheless Iraq is not a loyal ally and friend, or a beacon for democracy in the Middle East. Indeed, it is a Sharia state and our eternal enemy, just like Afghanistan is as well.

    As a matter of fact, Hamid Karsai announced a few months ago that if the USA attacked Pakistan, that Afghanistan would go to war against America on the side of Pakistan. Indeed, why do TPTB continue to ignore obvious contradictions and realities, while they continue doing the same damn things and going back to the same sources for information about Islam?

    Gen. Stanley McChrystal wanted 40,000—and arguably never had the full impact it was designed to have.

    That's an excuse to blame Obama. The fantasy based nation-building mission because it was founded on false PC multicultural misconceptions about Islam was preordained to fail no matter what.

    To be sure, the American people and their military should not be expected to sacrifice more for Afghanistan than the Afghan people are themselves willing to sacrifice.

    I hate to rain on this writer's parade, but those Afghan people are our eternal enemies just like all Muslims the world over. Indeed, lifting up the Afghan people is analogous to lifting up Hitler and the Nazis subsequent to WWII. It would have been insane after WWII and it is just as insane today after 9/11.

    But given what Afghanistan spawned,

    They didn't spawn anything? They didn't make the decision for America to allow mass Muslim immigration with all of its excess baggage. Indeed, without millions of Muslim stealth jihadists already living in America as a fifth column, the 9/11 violent jihad attack would have been entirely impossible.

    given the terror that was unleashed when Mullah Omar and his ilk were left to their own devices,

    Uhm terror is not an Islamic manifestation, as Muslims instead fight jihad in the cause of Allah against non-Muslim unbelievers to make Islam supreme, which, in stark contrast to terrorism, involves both violent and non-violent means. In fact, if an act of violence wasn't perpetrated in the cause of Allah by Muslims, then it is a terrorist act. On the other hand, if an act of violence was perpetrated in the cause of Allah by Muslims, then it is an act of jihad. Moreover, mass Muslim immigration to the West for the purpose of stealth demographic conquest to make Islam supreme is also jihad. Indeed, they are two very unique, distinct, and mutually exclusive manifestations.

    With respect to the Taliban's brutal oppression, it was also prevalent within the Northern Alliance as well, as both sides were Sharia compliant and very Islamic conservative societies. Indeed, the so-called democracy in Afghanistan that is really an oppressive Sharia state sentences blasphemers and apostates to death all the time even as we stupidly continue to prop it up.

    –continued below

  • ObamaYoMoma

    it’s difficult to believe that the best course of action is to declare victory and head for home

    I hate to rain on this writer's parade again, but unless the USA forcefully converts all Muslims in Afghanistan to something else, Muslims will continue being Muslims no matter what or how long the USA stays in Afghanistan.

    It pays to recall that after the defeat of the Red Army, Afghanistan was considered unimportant—and left to the Taliban and their fellow jihadists. Then came September 11, 2001.

    That is utterly moronic! Indeed, this writer is incredibly mentally incompetent, as he believes that instead of owing us gratitude for assistance rendered after the defeat of the Red Army, they owed us disdain and therefore perpetrated 9/11. In other words, like Obama's Pastor Rev. Wright and that unhinged kook Ron Paul, according to this moronic writer, 9/11 was America's chickens coming home to roost!

    Uhm…I hate to rain on this writer's utterly unhinged parade again, but 9/11 was a jihad attack! Indeed, per the sixth and most important pillar of Islam, every Muslim on earth</n> is obligated to fight jihad in the cause of Allah against non-Muslim unbelievers to make Islam supreme. No exceptions. Hence, every Muslim on earth is a jihadist. A small minority of them are violent jihadists, while the vast overwhelming majority of them are non-violent jihadists, and the few that are not jihadists are not Muslims at all, but instead blasphemous apostates that per the dictates of Islam must be executed.

    There were 155 U.S. troops killed in 2008; there were 418 killed in 2011.

    Thanks to the ill advised surge and the insane rules of engagement designed to win the hearts and minds of Muslims that are obligated per the texts and tenets of Islam to maintain nothing but enmity in their hearts for non-Muslim unbelievers.

    According to Panetta, as the U.S. and NATO head for the exits, “a large civilian presence” will stay behind to keep things on track.

    Good luck with that. They will need it, as that is suicidal!

    Indeed, the chronic institutional blindness of our political elites on both sides of the political spectrum is truly amazing, and, of course, it is because they all get their information on Islam from the same exact source, our elite colleges and universities with Muslim hijacked, co-opted, and usurped Middle East Studies Departments controlled by MESA Nostra.

  • KKKK

    agreed 10)% with this report!

  • Flowerknife_us

    The way the Middle east is going, our Troops may find the need to pass through Iran to get out.