For a while, it looked like there was one bright spot to President Obama’s new strategy on Afghanistan.
Yes, we were sending in 30,000 more troops, BUT – they’d start coming home as early as July 2011. So, the most they’d be there would be 18 months.
But now, the more we learned about it, even that one bright spot disappeared -within 18 hours.
First, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced they would re-evaluate in December 2010 whether they’d be able to meet the July 2011 deadline.
Next, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted the deadline was flexible: “We have not locked ourselves into leaving.”
And then Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen admitted they might decide to ignore the deadline altogether. The president always “has choices,” he assured members of Congress.
In fact, when you go back and read the president’s speech, you realize that he said the July 2011 deadline for starting to bring troops home would depend on “conditions on the ground.”
In other words, nobody has any idea how long troops will be in Afghanistan or they might start to come home.
They might start coming home in July 2011. Or they could still be there 10 or 20 years from now – just like we still have troops in Japan, Germany, South Korea, and Bosnia.
That’s my parting shot for today.