[Guest post by DRJ]
In a preview yesterday of a 60 Minutes interview of President Obama scheduled to air tonight, Jake Tapper said Obama described the territory between Afghanistan and Pakistan as the “epicenter of the violent extremism directed against the West” but nevertheless insisted on a July 2011 exit deadline for Afghanistan. Why? Because we don’t need an American protectorate in Afghanistan:
“The president said, “the answer is: in the absence of a deadline the message we are sending to the Afghans is ‘It’s business as usual, this is an open-ended commitment.’ And very frankly there are, I think, elements in Afghanistan who would be perfectly satisfied to make Afghanistan a permanent protectorate of the United States. In which they carry no burden. Which we’re paying for — a military in Afghanistan that preserves their security and their prerogatives. That’s not what the American people signed off for when they went into Afghanistan in 2001. They signed up to go after al Qaeda.”
The United States has active duty military personnel in over 130 countries so it’s disingenuous of Obama to suggest that having troops in Afghanistan makes it our protectorate. But Obama specializes in making strawman arguments like this, so this isn’t news.
However, it is backwards reasoning. If the United States is going to provide long-term military protection to any nation in the world, providing it to one of the two nations at the “epicenter of the violent extremism” should be high on America’s list.