Will U.S. troops leave Afghanistan?
posted at 8/4/2012 9:17 AM EDT
The NY Times reported that troops have been packing some of the mountains of equipment sent to Afghanistan for return to the States. Pres. Obama says we'll be out by the end of 2014, and after that the U.S. and Afghanistan will be "equal partners." It sounds like a partnership between a shark and a herring. [ Graham Bowley, U.S. begins packing its war gear in Afghanistan for the movers, New York Times, August 4, 2012, at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/04/world/asia/in-afghanistan-us-packs-war-gear-for-the-movers.html ]
Globe management care little or nothing for news about Afghanistan. For years interested readers have been going elsewhere. There they have learned that 2014 will be a year of lame ducks. If re-elected, Pres. Obama will be on the way to the door. Afghanistan is supposed to hold a presidential election that year, and its current president, Harmid Karzai, has already signed out. The NATO partners of the U.S. will probably all be gone, but according to news reports, the U.S. will still maintain a "modest force" no matter what. [ Ewen MacAskill, Obama and Karzai outline post-2014 Afghanistan vision, Manchester Guardian (UK), May 12, 2012, at http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/20/obama-karzai-afghanistan-nato ]
What might a "modest force" mean? No one, least of all Pres. Obama, wants to say. The always arrogant, usually vacuous, former Gov. Romney extracted his foot from his mouth long enough to say, "As president, my goal in Afghanistan will be to complete a successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014." [ Spencer Ackerman, Mitt agrees with Obama on Afghanistan, Egypt and maybe Iran, Wired, July 24, 2012, at http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/07/romney-foreign-policy-vfw/ ]
Meanwhile, the White House says that 33,000 "surge troops" will leave by the end of summer, 2012. Why now? For what real purpose were they sent? What did they accomplish? Will U.S troops ever leave Afghanistan for good? From the White House: nothing but silence. The LA Times reported last year that "military officials worry that an expedited departure will encourage Taliban leaders simply to bide their time...." [ David S. Cloud and Christi Parsons, Obama orders rapid drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, Los Angeles Times, June 23, 2011, at http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jun/23/world/la-fg-obama-afghanistan-20110623 ]