Friday, March 11, 2011

Do We Listen To Ourselves?

The American people are tiring of the war in Afghanistan, a war that is increasingly being seen as purposeless and not winnable in the classic sense. When President Obama decided to make that war larger, rather than smaller, he knew he was flying against the wind of popular opinion so he made assurance that we would begin our exit in July of 2011. That was not a passing remark, it was a condition upon which the escalation was based.

It seems quite logical that our allies would use that statement as a basis for their own planning, but perhaps that is not quite what our government had in mind. Listen to our Secretary of Defense today, in what the New York Times describes as a deliberately undiplomatic speech at NATO.

“Frankly, there is too much talk about leaving and not enough talk about getting the job done right,” Mr. Gates said. “Too much discussion of exit and not enough discussion about continuing the fight.” Notwithstanding the promise that we, ourselves, are leaving in July.

And is it just me, or is he starting to sound like Donald Rumsfeld?

When Obama made the escalation, with its promise of withdrawal beginning in July of 2011, suspicious people like me commented that said withdrawal might consist of a handful of troops, leaving the war to drag on longer and creating the infamous “quagmire.” No, no, we were assured, the drawdown would be for real. Now, in the same conference in which he is severely and “deliberately undiplomatically” castigating our allies for leaving, Mr. Gates is assuring that the July drawdown will be “limited, perhaps to no more than several thousand troops.”

Get out your coloring book, turn to whatever page my picture is on and color me unsurprised.

1 comment:

bruce said...

Well, not just our allies, either..

1) The opposition lies low, we proclaim all is better, we've achieved our goal(s), gotten a 'win' or as close as wen get to one. We leave, to opposition comes back in force and claims a "victory".

2) The opposition keeps fighting, we withdraw anyway, and they claim a "victory".

3) We draw down and the opposition keeps up fighting the same and claims a victory over the Afhgan forces.

It's stupid tactically & strategically to announce your plans publicly (unless its a deliberate mis-information campaign). Of course, you could make that arguement anyway, just the target is not the opposition, but the US public and our allies. Sheesh.

And also, it may well be like Iraq, all the "combat" troops are out, but the training troops are still there. Which of course amount to nothing, no change, just less US people there.

Not surprised here, either.

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