Open thread: The troops are coming home from Afghanistan

posted at 7:40 pm on June 22, 2011 by Allahpundit

Not all of them, and not right now, but a lot and soon enough. 8 p.m. ET, all across the dial, The One will lay out his withdrawal blueprint. If you’re on pins and needles wondering what he’ll do, let me ease your pain:

President Obama plans to announce Wednesday evening that he will order the withdrawal of 10,000 American troops from Afghanistan this year, and another 20,000 troops, the remainder of the 2009 “surge,” by the end of next summer, according to administration officials and diplomats briefed on the decision.

These troop reductions are both deeper and faster than the recommendations made by Mr. Obama’s military commanders, and they reflect mounting political and economic pressures at home, as the president faces relentless budget pressures and an increasingly restive Congress and American public…

Two administration officials said General Petraeus did not endorse the decision, though both Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who is retiring, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton reluctantly accepted it. General Petraeus had recommended limiting initial withdrawals and leaving in place as many combat forces as possible for another fighting season, to hold on to fragile gains made in recent fighting.

The Guardian also heard last night that O was about to yank the surge troops over the Pentagon’s objections, with generals pleading with him to give them one more fighting season against the Taliban with full manpower in order to maximize NATO’s leverage at the bargaining table. No dice. How could it have been otherwise? He had all the political cover for a major withdrawal that he could have hoped for here — from the public, from anti-war Democrats, and even from a GOP that seems unsure what its position is anymore on military interventions. I thought last night that he’d do what he always does and piss everyone off by splitting the difference between two rival camps in order to position himself as the cautious pragmatist, but he’s not actually doing that. By ignoring the Pentagon’s wishes and ordering all the surge troops out by next summer, he should make doves pretty happy. And rest assured, conditions on the ground won’t dictate the pace of this withdrawal: The timing here is obviously designed to give him a big talking point ahead of the election about bringing the boys home, so they’ll most assuredly be home by next summer.

All that said, he’s still going to frame this as a “cautious pragmatist” decision; the pragmatism will lie in the fact that roughly 70,000 troops will remain in country once the surge troops are out, a number that won’t be enough to support a robust counterinsurgency campaign but will be enough for him to convince voters that he’s not rashly pulling the plug on the entire mission. Expect three basic points tonight: We killed Osama, we’ve taken some of the Taliban’s territory and killed plenty of their men, and we’re continuing the process of training Afghanistan’s military. Ergo, we can afford to withdraw. (There’ll also be a super-keen NATO summit next year, just to prove we’re keeping our eye on the ball.) Don’t expect much on Pakistan, I’d imagine. No doubt there’ll be lip service paid to how important our “partnership” is, but there’s been too much news lately about their treachery for even modestly informed voters to take that seriously. In case he does end up blowing some diplomatic smoke up America’s butt about our good friends in Islamabad, take two minutes before tuning in to read this. That’s a wider, brighter window into the sort of entrenched cretinism we’re dealing with here than anything O will say tonight.

Exit question: How will top Republicans respond? Their criticism of The One on Libya tempts me to think they’ll grudgingly support him on this, but I don’t think that’s true. If Petraeus had blessed this scale of withdrawal, that’d be one thing, but defying the Pentagon’s judgment leaves Obama plenty exposed to attacks. Boehner hinted at that earlier, in fact, and just within the past few hours Byron York reported that a new group of conservative hawks is forming to pressure the newly ambivalent GOP into supporting interventionism. From a political standpoint, it’s only logical that Republican candidates will look for something to criticize here, but they can read those polls on Afghanistan too. Expect a day or two of complaining, and then back to the economy they go.

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Comment pages: 1 4 5 6

Nothing I said is false. I only pointed out what you said. But point to individual lies and I’ll address them one by one.

hawkdriver on June 23, 2011 at 8:01 AM

I didn’t say you lied. That’s another false statement. You are not a victim. Just for example, I never said I was an expert and I have no idea where you came up with 1966-1967. That’s in the early/middle part of that debacle. If you would just let what someone says stand or fall on it’s own, rather than “interpreting” it, you would not have that problem.

If you think you can actually defend the misbegotten affair in Afcrapistan, and justify it’s large scale continuance, do that. It’s not about me … … or you … … or any other extrainia. If you can’t defend it, and I have never seen a good defense of it, just say so. No one holds you personally responsible for Afghanistan, so you should not be so upset.

HalJordan on June 23, 2011 at 8:19 AM

I have him pegged as a non-American anti-American probably a gook!
On Watch on June 23, 2011 at 8:13 AM

Huh?

MeatHeadinCA on June 23, 2011 at 8:20 AM

But point to individual lies and I’ll address them one by one.

hawkdriver on June 23, 2011 at 8:01 AM

HalJordan on June 23, 2011 at 8:20 AM

“Let’s Roll”

On Watch on June 23, 2011 at 8:13 AM

Nope, I’m just saying he has sockpuppets that he argues with like the exchanges he has with you. I have no idea who all he sockpuppets. It would be cool for Ed and Allah to out them by IP address. It would be amusing.

hawkdriver on June 23, 2011 at 8:22 AM

On Watch on June 23, 2011 at 8:13 AM

Go to the CMOH link and you will find that 31 Asian-Americans are MOH recipients. There are thousands of military folks that have Asian heritage.
You are a bigot.

Bradky on June 23, 2011 at 8:24 AM

Don’t let his ‘bugles and whistles’ disorient you. I have him pegged as a non-American anti-American probably a gook! No US trooper I’ve ever known spells CHOW chou! ‘Course maybe he stood too close to that “Howitzer” he was bragging about!

“Let’s Roll”

On Watch on June 23, 2011 at 8:13 AM

I never brag about howitzers. My hearing has never been quite the same since I made their acquaintance. On the matter of “pegging”, I have you pegged as a cross between a potted plant and a box of rocks. Hawk must not think much of you either if he thought you were me as he doesn’t much care for me.

HalJordan on June 23, 2011 at 8:26 AM

If you would just let what someone says stand or fall on it’s own, rather than “interpreting” it, you would not have that problem.

HalJordan on June 23, 2011 at 8:19 AM

You underestimate his intuitive Jedi power…. /sarc

Bradky on June 23, 2011 at 8:33 AM

I guess i’ve never seen a more blatent political act, maybe, ever. Regardless, of the merits this is being done for STRICTLY political reasons. There is no controlling legal authority over this guy.

tomas on June 23, 2011 at 8:36 AM

You underestimate his intuitive Jedi power…. /sarc

Bradky on June 23, 2011 at 8:33 AM

And here I thought he was Darth Vader … … or Darth Cheney. Darth Driver?

HalJordan on June 23, 2011 at 8:39 AM

Distraction away from bad economy.

Wade on June 23, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Bradky on June 23, 2011 at 8:33 AM
was HalJordan on June 23, 2011 at 8:39 AM

Playing
with yourself again MB4 and
both wearing the same arsehat.

“Let’s Roll”

On Watch on June 23, 2011 at 9:21 AM

“George Bush took his eye off the ball (unlike me).”

olesparkie on June 23, 2011 at 9:54 AM

Obama has began a crusade to sell off the country and pay off the mindless masses for their votes. He’ll cut and run in Afghanistan, deplete the strategic oil reserve and find numerous ways to give away free money and services. Unfortunately, the parasitic populace will buy it and he will be reelected.

rplat on June 23, 2011 at 9:56 AM

There are thousands of …Asian heritage. You are a bigot. Bradky on June 23, 2011 at 8:24 AM

And you’re a PC arsewipe!
Millions of ChiComs want US dead, many of them
and their agents like you sockpuppets are poopin
in the I-net sand box – I’m just raking out your turds. . .

American soldiers during the Korean War were often confronted by Korean soldiers and civilians and would hear them say, “미국” [miɡuk] meaning “America.” (For a derivation, see 美國.) The American soldiers supposedly interpreted this expression as “Me gook?”, meaning “am I a gook?” in broken English

“Let’s Roll”

On Watch on June 23, 2011 at 10:09 AM

On Watch on June 23, 2011 at 8:13 AM

…just saying he has sockpuppets that he argues with… It would be cool for Ed and Allah to out them by IP address. It would be amusing. hawkdriver on June 23, 2011 at 8:22 AM

Affirm, and Have A Great Navy Day! ;)
Btw, last year I directed my son to the page wherein they described your service and citations, I was proud to do so.

“Let’s Roll”

On Watch on June 23, 2011 at 10:32 AM

And you’re a PC arsewipe!
Millions of ChiComs want US dead, many of them
and their agents like you sockpuppets are poopin
in the I-net sand box – I’m just raking out your turds. . .

American soldiers during the Korean War were often confronted by Korean soldiers and civilians and would hear them say, “미국” [miɡuk] meaning “America.” (For a derivation, see 美國.) The American soldiers supposedly interpreted this expression as “Me gook?”, meaning “am I a gook?” in broken English

“Let’s Roll”

On Watch on June 23, 2011 at 10:09 AM

Pulling a John Maverick McCain?

Classy

MeatHeadinCA on June 23, 2011 at 10:55 AM

Some Americans say “Let’s roll!”

The Fresh Prinz of Peace says “Let’s roll back!”

Really Right on June 23, 2011 at 2:48 PM

Comment pages: 1 4 5 6