Video: Gates says “no deadline” on war in Afghanistan

posted at 10:00 am on December 6, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Well, someone’s confused. Four days ago, Barack Obama said that July 2011 was “locked in” as the withdrawal date for withdrawal from Afghanistan. Today, Defense Secretary Robert Gates tells CBS that “there is no deadline,” and that the 18-month date is when Americans will start transferring security responsibilities to the Afghans — and then only when they can handle it. Maybe the Commander in Chief needs to get some clarity on what has become a complete muddle:

Watch CBS News Videos Online

Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Saturday that President Obama’s 18-month time frame to begin withdrawing U.S. troops from Afghanistan “isn’t a deadline” during an interview for “Face the Nation.”

“Mr. Secretary, is there a deadline or is there not?” CBS News Senior Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer asked Gates.

“There isn’t a deadline,” Gates said. “What we have is a specific date which we will begin transferring responsibility for security district by district, province by province in Afghanistan to the Afghans.”

It appears that President Obama spent the better part of four months vacillating on policy, only to have reached a conclusion that what he needed was … more vacillation. One has to hope that Gates has this right and everyone else wrong, but that seems rather unlikely. It sounds more like Gates is playing to the conservatives, Obama is playing to the Left, and Hillary isn’t sure what which side she’s supposed to be courting. As politics, it’s particularly inept, and as war management, it’s worse.

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Billy Beer, big lips, (come on, help me out here)….

cane_loader on December 6, 2009 at 11:05 AM

Don’t forget First Brother Billy’s taking a whiz on the airport runway.

Del Dolemonte on December 6, 2009 at 5:05 PM

So,the new lefty talk’n point,which can change at any second
is that there going with Afghanistan security transfer some
thing,and keep in mind that Obama stated,that the Afghan’s
Government is corrupt!!!

So,in less than a years time,this Liberal President has
totally screwed-up all the hard work,sacrifice,blood,
sweat and tears,by the US Military,and coalition partners!!

Essential,the Liberal Party is SURRENDERING!

canopfor on December 6, 2009 at 6:16 PM

With B.S. Rules of Engagement in Afghanistan, you could send a million troops over there and it would do nothing.

nelsonknows on December 6, 2009 at 6:31 PM

That, sir, is sedition — RELEASE THE PINK-HAIRED HARPIES !!!!

argos on December 6, 2009 at 7:16 PM

As politics, it’s particularly inept

No! It is very successful. Obama is a no nothing, yet he is President. He has gotten there by talking out of both sides of his mouth and/or voting present which has the same result.

burt on December 6, 2009 at 7:33 PM

Gates is being measured for a place under the bus when the time is right.

burt on December 6, 2009 at 7:36 PM

Oh, THE Bus…it hasn’t been thumping over too many bodies lately. Guess they’re figuring out they don’t really have to as much as in the beginning.

Dr. ZhivBlago on December 7, 2009 at 1:11 AM