Get Rethink Afghanistan Updates
Join us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Twitter Get E-Mail Updates
You can help
Obama Carefully Doesn’t Say When The Afghan Mission Will End
Posted by Newshoggers.com on June 23rd, 2011

From our partners at Newshoggers.com

By Steve Hynd

Newshoggers contributor Gareth Porter notices something in Obama's speech about troop withdrawals in Afghanistan – there's no actual end date there.

Petraeus's preferred option was to delay the withdrawal of the bulk of the remaining surge troops until the end of 2012, but he got most of the second fighting season with troop levels that were well within his recommendations, according to a briefing for reporters by senior officials.

Although the speech says "we will bring home a total of 33,000 troops by next summer…," an official stated clearly at the press briefing that the withdrawal of the surge troops would be carried out by September 2012.

Obama also left the door open in the speech to leaving a significant proportion of the combat troops to remain in Afghanistan after the 2012 withdrawal for an indefinite period beyond the 2014 "transition" to Afghan responsibility for security.

"After this initial reduction, our troops will continue coming home at a steady pace as Afghan Security Forces move into the lead," Obama said. "Our mission will change from combat to support. By 2014 this process of transition will be complete, and the Afghan people will be responsible for their own security."

That language parallels the language used in regard to U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq. In fact, a senior U.S. official who briefed reporters Wednesday afternoon drew attention to the parallel between the two withdrawal processes, saying the administration would "pursue the same type of responsible effort to wind down the war that we've undertaken in Iraq the last two years."

One of the key features of the Iraq model is Obama's retention of U.S. brigade combat teams in Iraq under the label of "non-combat troops" until the present, despite his pledge in February 2009 that they would be withdrawn.

U.S. troops continue to carry out unilateral combat patrols in Iraq, and Gates has continued to push Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for a request to keep U.S. combat troops there beyond the deadline for withdrawal under the November 2008 agreement.

The language of the speech thus laid the groundwork for the retention of combat troops in Afghanistan even after declaring that all combat troops have been withdrawn.

Read Gareth's whole analysis, which is rather more clear-eyed than the stenography being offered by the main news outlets today. General Petraeus once asked of Iraq: "tell me how this ends". A better demand to make of the Obama administration on Afghanistan would be "tell me when this ends."

Share this:
Peacemakers take action to lead the charge to end the war. Join forces with the over 100,000 people who make a difference.
FACT SHEETS

FROM DERRICK CROWE'S BLOG
RECENT POSTS

SEARCH THE BLOG
Subscribe via RSS
Become a Peacemaker



Bronze Telly Award
QUESTIONS
For general questions, email us here.
For technical issues regarding this site, contact us here.

PRESS

For Press inquiries, please contact Kim at: bravenewfoundation.press@gmail.com



CREDITS
Director: Robert Greenwald - Executive Director: Jim Miller - Producer: Jason Zaro - Associate Producer: Dallas Dunn, Jonathan Kim, and Kim Huynh - Researcher: Greg Wishnev - Editor: Phillip Cruess - Political Director: Leighton Woodhouse - VP Marketing & Distribution: Laura Beatty - Production Assistant: Monique Hairston

LEGAL
Anyone is allowed to post content on this site, but Brave New Foundation 501(c)(3) is not responsible for that content. We will, however, remove anything unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, racist, or that contains other material that would violate the law. By posting you agree to this.





Brave New Foundation | 10510 Culver Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232