But I do know that Obama has said he will not reduce the troops in the Af/Pak theater. From this I conclude Obama intends to continue military operations, and may very well escalate the war by sending perhaps as many as 40,000 additional soldiers and marines. Assuming my conclusion is correct the question becomes is this what Obama should do in order to accomplish America's objective in the Af/Pak theater? I don't know for certain.
I'm not a military man so I don't have the perspective a soldier might have. However, within the limits of my perspective I see what Obama is likely to do in that theater of war and I have reached several conclusions.
My conclusions are based on an analysis of what I perceive to be facts. America can theoretically win an armed struggle against the Pashtun insurgencies if several conditions exist. I don't believe the conditions exist which permit a victory in the war Obama intends to pursue.
A surge of forces into Afghanistan will not have the same effect as the surge in Iraq did. I say this because the correlation of forces are so different as between the two theaters of war. I will not list the differences here, but will if you specifically request it. However, I don't have unlimited time to devote to your question so please bear that in mind.
Because of the correlation of forces in the Af/Pak theater any military victory would only come after years, perhaps a decade, of struggle, casualties, deaths, and expense. I don't think the American peoples will support such a course of action. Look at the divisions among Americans today. Americans may be prepared to fight a civil war with each other, but they are not prepared to support the troops in the Af/Pak theater as they wage a long twilight struggle.
The American military and their families compose perhaps one percent of the populace. They bear the burdens of war exclusively. They are exhausted. To win the war without destroying our warrior class it would be necessary to substantially increase the size of the Army and Marine Corp. We don't have the money to do that. So we will continue to place the complete burden of war on a segment of the citizenry that has been exhausted. Given enough stress everything breaks.
I look at the Commander in Chief and I see a man who wants to be a domestic policy president, not a war president. Obama sees what happened to Bush on Iraq and doesn't want the same thing to happen to him over Af/Pak. From this observation I conclude that in the face of internal American division Obama will not be willing to do whatever is necessary to achieve victory. Sending troops into combat without the intention of achieving victory is profoundly immoral.
I look at the international scene. I have extensive contacts with Chinese people. What do they say about the American operations in Afghanistan? They are pleased to see America commit the lives of our men and women, and our diminishing treasure, into a conflict we do not intend to win. It weakens us and strengthens them.
I look at what I perceive to be the facts and I reach the following ultimate conclusions. We won't achieve a military victory in the Af/Pak theater. Obama is reckless with the lives of our men and women because he won't do everything required to achieve victory, e.g., gambling his presidency on the outcome like Bush did on Iraq.
Since Obama won't do everything necessary to achieve victory in the Af/Pak theater all of our forces should be brought home immediately. Our men and women should not die or be injured in a fruitless struggle that we don't intend to win.
Will the Pashtun insurgencies and Al Qaeda claim to to have defeated America? Yes. Will they be right? Probably in the sense they have broken the will of the American peoples. Will Afghanistan and Pakistan be used to plan and implement attacks on the American homeland. Probably. But it doesn't matter as much as the real struggle that must be waged.
What is the real struggle that must be waged? Look at the divisions among the American peoples. Over the course of the last thirty years the bonds uniting us have become attenuated. We are so divided as a people we can't even name the enemy we are supposed to be fighting. Americans will not support war overseas. So they will face war on American soil. They will have no choice, but to fight.
As you may have gathered, I am not an Obama supporter. Since America must withdraw completely from the Af/Pak theater I would like to see the withdrawal used against Obama. Obama's domestic opposition will be able to argue that Obama has led America to military defeat. The charge will be an effective weapon against him. Remember, it was Obama's own man Rahm Emmanuel who said something to the effect that each crisis should be seen as an opportunity, i.e., don't let any crisis go to waste.