Patterico's Pontifications


Obama’s Afghanistan Exit Strategy

Filed under: Obama,War — DRJ @ 12:54 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

The editors of the UK Telegraph believe President Obama has bowed to U.S. public opinion and his own Party in devising an exit strategy — but not a winning strategy — in Afghanistan:

“After a protracted period of reflection on the future of the Nato mission in Afghanistan, Barack Obama has bowed to the pressure of domestic political realities and unveiled not a victory strategy, but an exit strategy. In authorising a significant surge in US combat forces in the first part of next year, but then giving them just a year to do the job – the withdrawal will start in July 2011 – the President unequivocally signalled his desire for an early end to this mission.

In doing so, he is responding to US public opinion, to the growing unhappiness within his own party with the conduct of the war, and to the demands of the electoral cycle. Waging war while glancing over your shoulder at events at home is never satisfactory. Eight years after the West went into Afghanistan, the country remains a quagmire. The idea that this situation can be transformed in a year or so is fanciful, even with the help of close to 40,000 extra combat troops, three quarters of them from the US. Sir Jock Stirrup, the Chief of the Defence Staff, maintains that Afghan forces will not be capable of taking control of security until 2014. The three-year gap between Washington’s assessment and Britain’s is worrying.”

The editors believe Obama has given up on Afghanistan and will instead focus on Pakistan. The Times of India reports what Obama would only hint at: The pull back in Afghanistan may well be matched by an expansion of the war in Pakistan:

“Yet quietly, Obama has authorized an expansion of the war in Pakistan as well — if only he can get a weak, divided, suspicious Pakistani government to agree to the terms.

In recent months, in addition to providing White House officials with classified assessments about Afghanistan, the CIA delivered a plan for widening the campaign of strikes against militants by drone aircraft in Pakistan, sending additional spies there and securing a White House commitment to bulk up the CIA’s budget for operations inside the country.

The expanded operations could include drone strikes in the southern province of Baluchistan, where senior Afghan Taliban leaders are believed to be hiding, officials said. “The president endorsed an intensification of the campaign against al-Qaida and its violent allies, including even more operations targeting terrorism safe havens,” said an official. “More people, more places, more operations.”

Obama has promised to “put us on a path toward ending the [Afghan] war.” What he isn’t saying is how failing in Afghanistan will help us win in Pakistan.


14 Responses to “Obama’s Afghanistan Exit Strategy”

  1. Coming soon — and not the .mil’s fault — “Defeat with dishonor”.

    htom (412a17)

  2. I wish someone in the MSM would at least make a cursory mention of our past screwing over of the Pak’s military and intelligence contacts as regards to our own. Aside from that country’s own internal instability, we’ve missed many golden opportunities to help the senior Pak military commanders to trust us in the first place.

    Dmac (a964d5)

  3. As a matter of policy, launching some “covert” drone airstikes into a nuclear-armed Islamic nation …what could go wrong? I mean with the President being a genius and all.

    Pons Asinorum (b0bc5f)

  4. More Pons, less idiocy is always good.

    Last night, Teh One essentially announced our intent to surrender to the Tabliban in 2011.

    JD (4a5c67)

  5. “Jock Stirrup”?

    That’s fantastic.

    Blue Ox (ff919a)

  6. Pons – What could possibly go wrong?

    JD (4a5c67)

  7. I recommend that Obama work on a Presidential Exit Strategy. If the Taliban are smart they will stand down and fake defeat over the next 18 months and then re-take Afghanistan after the United States leaves. Obama’s policy may seem goofy to the unitiated but to the smart set this is the very definition of Smart Power.

    Terry Gain (1664b9)

  8. JD — nothing to worry about because our President “Alexander-the-Great” Obama is sooo brilliant.

    This just smacks of confidence. One can just feel the months of thought and work that went into this strategy.

    It’s nice to know that our President is so full of competence. I mean look at the awesome job he has done with the economy — can’t wait for health care “reform”.

    Pons Asinorum (b0bc5f)

  9. Well, I guess it’s polite to let our enemies know we intend to fold our tents and go home, and 18 months is plenty of advance notice so when we leave they won’t be caught unprepared.

    Al Qaeda should send Obama a Thank You note. That’s the proper response.

    It reminds me of some lines from Kipling’s advice to a Young British Soldier:

    When you’re wounded and left on Afghanistan’s plains,
    And the Women come out to cut up what remains,
    Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
    An’ go to your Gawd like a Soldier.
    Go, go , go like a Soldier.

    ropelight (7379dd)

  10. So full of competence, Pons? I can think of plenty of things that Teh One is full of, and competence ain’t anywhere near that list. 😉

    JD (eabe30)

  11. Blue Ox – from [object] you can find this “The professional head of the UK Armed Forces and the principal military adviser to the Secretary of State for Defence and the Government.

    Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup
    Air Chief Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup GCB AFC ADC DSc FRAeS FCMI RAF ”

    Some parents should *not* be allowed to name their own children … OY !

    Alasdair (e7cb73)

  12. I just do not understand how the UK Telegraph can take this view of the president’s speech. After all, Gibbs promised us that the Taliban would not take it this way! (Sarcasm alert, if hadn’t noticed)

    MD in Philly (227f9c)

  13. I gave Obama a chance and he blew it. This is cut and run, preceded by a useless flourish of pointless military sacrifice. It is worst case scenario.

    Our only hope is that Obama will flub another deadline.

    Amphipolis (b120ce)

  14. JD — yeah and I bet it doesn’t smell good either 😉

    Pons Asinorum (b0bc5f)

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