Foreign Policy

New Afghanistan Withdrawal Deadline: When We're Good and Ready


From Agence France Presse via Raw Story:

US Defense Secretary Robert Gates rejected suggestions Sunday that US forces will move out of Afghanistan in large numbers in July of next year under a deadline set by President Barack Obama.

"That absolutely has not been decided," Gates said in an interview with Fox News Sunday.

His comment was the latest indication that the magnitude of the drawdown, if not the deadline itself, is the subject of an intensifying internal debate at a time when a NATO-led campaign against the Taliban is going slower than expected.

White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel…like Gates, said that the size of the drawdown would depend on conditions on the ground…..

General David Petraeus, the commander of US forces in the Middle East, said last week that in setting the deadline for the surge last year, Obama's message was "one of urgency—not that July 2011 is when we race for the exits, reach for the light switch and flip it off."

Petraeus told lawmakers he would be duty-bound to recommend delaying the redeployment of forces if he thought it necessary.

Steve Chapman called this on Reason Online last December. I recommend we just declare victory and leave in March.

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  1. It’ll a shithole whenever we leave. Might as well do it now.
    Taliban removed? ?
    Constitution written? ?
    Osama bin Laden out of country? ?
    Democratically elected government in place? ?

    We’re done. Get the fuck out.

    1. Out of the country is not good enough. I want bin Laden in US custody or dead. Ditto for the rest of Al-Qaeda top management as well as the Taliban’s top management.

      1. I agree. For that you need some spec op guy’s with some backup force, but you don’t need to occupy the country and do the whole nation building thing which is never going to work. Have enough guys in the general area to support a**hole hunting and to discourage retaliation against allies who helped us out. Get everybody else out.

        1. I see your point, but I am not sure that the optimal number of troops for what you describe is much less (or any less) than the number of troops we have there now.

          A related point, which I didn’t get into in my last post, is that the Taliban still have kind of a chance of regaining power if the US were to withdraw most of its forces immediately. For years we’ve heard that there is a “Taliban resurgence” going on, and coalition casualties have been going up. So it does not seem to be quite over yet.

          I think if the Taliban leadership were captured/killed all at once, the remaining factions would lose a lot of their ability and will to fight the US and its allies. But it seems that most of them are in Pakistan, which is another problem altogether.

  2. When We’re Good and Ready

    They’ve said that since the beginning, haven’t they? There has never been a hard, binding date. Except for that night Rahm Emanuel hooked up with Andrea Mitchell.

  3. Steve’s obviously psychic. I was certain all of the troops would be home just in time for the fireworks and “Welcome Home” parade on the 4th of July, thrown by Oliver Stone no less. By this time, it will be abundantly clear that Obamacare really IS deficit neutral. And maybe Ken can remove his boot from BP’s neck. 300 million plus frolicing in the new era of Hope and Change. It just gets richer by the day.

  4. Heh, it probably depends on how things are going for the 2012 election cycle.

  5. Mabe Russia will boycott the Olypmics because the US refuses to pull out of Afghanistan.

  6. Cue giant puppet head protests in front of White House!

    1. What power has war in the face of papier-m?ch

    2. Oh, Daddy! A puppet show!

  7. On the bright side, at least Guantanamo Bay has been shut down.

    1. And I’m really glad we extricated ourselves from that quagmire that is Iraq!!! Now, that’s change you can believe in!

  8. We stayed in Japan for 20 years after WWII. The Afghanistan occupation isn’t even half that long yet. However, I’m not sure the Afghanistan government is worth proping up for so long. Their president keeps flirting with the idea of joining Al-Queda. At this point, I wouldn’t mind seeing a withdrawl.

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