The War Industry

Yesterday, President Obama made it official and public. He announced that he was open to US troops remaining in Afghanistan beyond the end of 2014 providing a “status of forces” treaty could be signed. The nominal 10,000 troops would continue a training mission and assist on fighting al Qaeda remnants.

A sigh of relief could almost be heard from the Pentagon. The President went on to say these troops would, however, be withdrawn by the end of 2016 and the US Afghan page would be over.

This sounded like vintage Obama negotiations. “Lay out your preferred position first and then let your opponents shoot at it”.

As with his Afghanistan “surge” where the President announced (reluctantly) a surge in troops in Afghanistan while at the same time announcing a troop reduction against a future time line, the President, in essence, said to his military and civilian hawks advisers, you get your way for this much time and then I get mine.

This morning the nay sayers were out in force questioning how anyone could set a date for withdrawal. “Why not wait and see what happens” these supporters of an indefinite Afghan presence are saying.

Certainly, there is a case to be made for staying longer. It’s called Iran and China, and maybe Russia. Keeping a presence with eyes and ears in Afghanistan would allow the US to react to any future unknown provocation.

Seem reasonable?

What we must not forget is the ability to react with the 10,000 troops will also be with other people’s children. The Bush era “chicken hawk” mentality never seemed to realize that their personal Vietnam War deferments which avoided for them military service, ought to have disqualified them from so easily sending others into harm’s way.

The utter foolishness which got us into Iraq and allowed the Afghan stay to extend so long is just what President Obama is trying to prevent. Those who point to dangerous possibilities in a dangerous world are not prophets, they are opportunists.

The world will never be without risks and imminent dangers in the eyes of those who favor a strong forceful US presence. Events of course could lead President Obama to revise his timetable.

While remaining longer in my opinion is undesirable, I would trust someone who was set on getting out to make that decision far more than one who recommended “an indefinite stay and only if the sun shined, getting out.”

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Explore posts in the same categories: Barack Obama, Democratic Party, Iraq War, Politics, Republican Party

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