The big hitters in the American center-right (Weekly Standard and National Review) are calling on the president to make clear that mid-2011 is only the beginning of our withdrawal from Afghanistan, and that we will stay there for much, much longer. Jackson Diehl echoes the call in the WaPo.
I humbly submit this piece of advice: don’t hold your breath.
As I have noted time and time again, the Democrats – otherwise known as the folks who elected the president – have never really committed to the liberation of Afghanistan. Neither has Europe. Even Canada’s Conservative government is refusing to even discuss extending its military presence there. No one that has the president’s ear is telling him he needs to stick it out – while just about everyone in his inner circle has plans for the money currently being spent on our troops and weapons there.
So expect the drawdown to begin on schedule and without any asterisks. Expect the president to use the 10th anniversary of 9/11/01 to make a clean break from his predecessor’s wars.
Do not expect him to commit to seeing Afghanistan through to victory.