Wednesday, December 02, 2009

More on the President's Afghan Address

Some initial reaction to President Obama's speech.

Some further concerns about the roadblocks the president's strategy will have to overcome.

Your notes of caution are all in order, but I think Obama's address should be understood less literally and more as a return to the way that American leaders talked about indigenizing the war in Vietnam after 1968. The American people have turned against the Afghan war, as they did against Vietnam after 1968, but they were not then and may not now be ready to accept defeat. Obama reflects this ambivalence.

In mid-2011, whether or not we begin troop withdrawals, I would expect us to give our commitment to Afghanistan another eighteen months. If nothing has changed by 2013, Obama (if he is reelected) will then pull us out.
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