Monday, January 25, 2010

The Great War For Transition

Oh, by the way, you didn’t actually believe we were going to start withdrawing from Afghanistan in 2011 per Obama’s speech back in December, did you? It was, in the words of Sec. Def. Gates, never anything but a very vague, loosely conceived “conditions based draw down” anyway. Gen. David Petraeus confirmed this in an interview with the Times of London. You can read it here, but don’t bother unles you have time for a cold shower afterwards. This was his answer when he was asked about a possible timeline for withdrawal:

I haven’t heard of a timetable. Nor of discussions of a timetable other than of course what was in the President’s speech about beginning a transition of certain security tasks based on conditions. Conditions meaning enemy situation, Afghan Security Force capacity and capability and so forth. So what there has been focus on however has been to refine the discussion of indeed what those conditions should include, what considerations should be part of discussions about transition and indeed what transition actually means.

What an inspiring cause! If only my generation had had a war for “ beginning a transition of certain security tasks based on conditions.” I would gladly give life and limbs to enable “discussions about transition and indeed what transition actually means.”

Eight years into this disaster and our wise leaders don’t have clue number one about what constitutes victory. They don’t even know what kind of security conditions should be in place as a precondition for withdrawal. We are stuck, stuck, stuck, and the people in charge of the whole mess don’t appear to know any more about how to get out than you or I would (assuming, of course, that our aim is to win a victory and get out. I’d bet money that it isn’t).

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