Saturday, September 22, 2012

Afghan Surge Ends: Not with a Bang but a Whimper

More importantly, and unlike the surge in Iraq, not in a clear victory. "The U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan, which began in 2009, ended this week. As the Times aptly notes, the conclusion of one of Obama’s biggest military endeavors has come and gone with little fanfare. The president is doubtless happy about this, as the mission has been far from an unqualified success: The milestone, which still leaves 68,000 American troops in Afghanistan, went nearly unremarked here, with no statement from President Hamid Karzai or the United States military commander, Gen. John R. Allen, or even from the American ambassador. It was announced on the other side of the planet, by the American secretary of defense, Leon E. Panetta, during a visit to New Zealand. . . We should all be very glad that we have a Democratic president right now; otherwise the news would be terrible. We would be seeing a rash of horrible and depressing stories in the newspapers about strategic failure, with unremitting second guessing and belittling of a president who agonized for months before the surge and then saw his plan fail. We’d be hearing non-stop reports in the media about the incompetent and klutzy leader who torpedoed his own policy by announcing a withdrawal date; the man who tried to please everybody and do everything—and failed at all he tried."

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