Dan Froomkin on the mythical 2011 withdrawal from Afghanistan:
“All of these benchmarks are designed to pacify onlookers on the Hill, help to justify our presence in the country, and set unrealistic goals that everyone knows are not going to be met,” said retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor, a respected military strategist and author. “You’re never going to achieve them. None of this is aimed at extricating American power and forces from anywhere.”
So, asked for an exit strategy, the administration instead offered up guidelines for an endless occupation.
And then last week, in a nearly unnoticed development at an international conference in Kabul, world leaders including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed their “support for the President of Afghanistan’s objective that the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) should lead and conduct military operations in all provinces by the end of 2014.”
That’s right: The end of 2014.
“I was kind of struck that the 2014 didn’t get more critical attention than it did,” said Paul R. Pillar, formerly the CIA’s top Middle East analysis and now a Georgetown University professor. “The war will have gone on 13 years at that point.”
Awesome. The added bonus is that not only will we not be withdrawing, but the Republicans can still pretend we are withdrawing in 2011 and call Democrats defeatocrats or troop-haters or whatever it is they like to say these days.
In fairness, we do need to figure out how to feed the military-industrial complex until we can gin up a war in China or Iran, so I guess at least we save on transportation if we just stick in Afghanistan forever.