The argument here w/troops in Afghanistan is the same argument that was used concerning troop withdrawals in Iraq - pull out too soon and you risk an resurgance of insurgances. But stay longer and not only do you risk upsetting the American public, but you give the impression you're doing what the locals claim you're doing - occupying their country, not liberating it.
The argument that the President isn't listening to his generals makes good political and it certainly gets those who oppose the President on any grounds riled up, but true is the surge did help improve security both among the population and along the boarders where most of the insurgents were fighting/causing the most trouble for American and coalition forces. As such, does it make sense to retain troop levels so high when they're really not needed especially when most of those who will be returning initially are support troops, not combat troops?
So, let's see if we have this straight...
Al Quaida is splintered; they're no longer concentrated in Afghanistan. They're now in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and other parts of the globe. Their numbers have been drastically reduced, their anti-American/anti-Muslim recruitment campaign has been debunked. Most of the Muslim world is now in chaos. The very thing the Saudi King worned fellow Muslims against is now happening - Muslim against Muslim - meaning that most of those who might have come into the fold of Al Quaida are now preoccupied elsewhere fighting civil wars.
We're complaining about "nation building" abroad not to mention spending hundreds of millions if not trillions helping other nations when we should be concentrating on our own. Yet, we have some in this thread insisting that we reduce spending and cut the deficit. One sure way of changing our budgetary outlook is to end these wars responsibily. So, what is the responsible way?
For certain, it is to reduce force numbers when possible as soon as practical. I'm sure Gen. Patreaus wanted troop levels to remain higher, but when you really take a look at the progress that has been made and is still being made in Afghanistan, as well as how things are globally, it makes sense to reduce troop levels if the Afghan government and our commanding Generals both agree that some of our troops on the ground can be swapped out using Afghan forces. According to the post-press conference reporting, the Afghan Army is over 300,000 strong. I'd say it's time they start making efforts to secure their own country.
We've made gains very lately in Afghanistan. Taliban controlled area are on the border regions and if properly dealt with over the next year of having 70k forces there we should be good. Let's leave next year fully and not in 2014.
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tl;dr the thread, but has anyone pointed out yet that, even with these withdrawals, that by the end of 2012 there will still be twice as many occupiers in Afghanistan as when he took office?
"I do not claim that every incident in the history of empire can be explained in directly economic terms. Economic interests are filtered through a political process, policies are implemented by a complex state apparatus, and the whole system generates its own momentum."
- Colonel Paul YinglingNobody who wins a war indulges in a bifurcated definition of victory. War is a political act; victory and defeat have meaning only in political terms. A country incapable of achieving its political objectives at an acceptable cost is losing the war, regardless of battlefield events.
Bifurcating victory (e.g. winning militarily, losing politically) is a useful salve for defeated armies. The "stab in the back" narrative helped take the sting out of failure for German generals after WWI and their American counterparts after Vietnam.
All the same, it's nonsense. To paraphrase Vince Lombardi, show me a political loser, and I'll show you a loser.
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Any real results in Libya or Afghanistan? People forget to mention the results we have achieved in Afghanistan since Obama's surge. The Taliban are pretty much thrown into pockets along the borders. With another year of concerted efforts to knock them out, we should be alright. Then it's time to go bye bye.
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