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June 20, 2011

Obama To Announce Afghanistan Drawdown Plan On Wednesday

The long expected second act to Obama's December, 2009 new Afghanistan speech. Not surprisingly....we're drawingdown.

The president must decide the pace and size of reductions to a 30,000-strong troop escalation which he ordered surged into the conflict in December 2009, a deployment which brought the US garrison to 100,000 soldiers.

Some analysts also expect him to chart a clear glidepath of withdrawals which will lead up to the planned assumption of security control of Afghanistan by the country's nascent defense forces in 2014.

Obama will also be expected to explain to Americans that his surge has wrought slow, but significant progress, particularly in southern Afghanistan against the Taliban and foreshadow operations in key eastern districts.

White House officials also say that since Obama came to office, and poured new resources into a war that they say was neglected by the George W. Bush administration, there has been significant progress against Al-Qaeda.

In December 2009, Obama laid out a new war strategy designed to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al-Qaeda, break the momentum of the Taliban and to offer the Afghan government space to move towards a security takeover.

"We have made significant progress towards achieving those goals," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday.

"Obviously, the most sensational and significant data point in that progress, of that progress, is the elimination of Osama bin Laden," he said.

"But there has been enormous progress in disrupting and dismantling al-Qaeda in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region beyond and below Osama bin Laden."

So, we're declaring victory and coming home? Meh, it was always going to be this way. I just hope that there was enough progress in the last year and a half to justify the sacrifice of life and cost.

We went to Afghanistan to capture or kill those responsible for 9/11 and ensure that the country couldn't be the launching point for more attacks. From that stand point, we've probably done as much as we really can. We're not going to be pulling out completely any time, so we'll still be able to kill as many jihadis as possible there and in Pakistan.

If victory is defined as turning Afghanistan into something approaching a normal country...I'm not sure there's much of an appetite in this country for much more of that.

It will be interesting to see how Obama actually frames this in his speech.

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posted by DrewM. at 08:48 PM

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