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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The “I need your votes speech.”

sandee on June 22, 2011 at 7:42 PM

On April 1, 1975, a weeping Lon Nol, crippled by nervous breakdowns and a series of minor strokes, fled Cambodia for Hawaii with his family and entourage while Prince Sirik Matak and other Lon Nol supporters remained behind in the hopes of organizing a last-minute peace talks. The Khmer Rouge rejected the talks and pressed further into the capital.

US Ambassador to Cambodia John Gunther Dean quickly made plans to evacuate US embassy staff and their families along with key Cambodian government officials, including Sirik Matak. Matak declined the offer. In the hours leading up to the evacuation Sirik Matak responded to Dean’s invitation:

“Dear Excellency and friend,

I thank you very sincerely for your letter and for your offer to transport me towards freedom. I cannot, alas, leave in such a cowardly fashion.

As for you and in particular for your great country, I never believed for a moment that you would have this sentiment of abandoning a people which has chosen liberty. You have refused us your protection and we can do nothing about it. You leave us and it is my wish that you and your country will find happiness under the sky.

But mark it well that, if I shall die here on the spot and in my country that I love, it is too bad because we are all born and must die one day. I have only committed the mistake of believing in you, the Americans.

Please accept, Excellency, my dear friend, my faithful and friendly sentiments. Sirik Matak.” (emphasis added)

Prince Sisowath Sirik Matak was shot in the stomach by the Khmer Rouge and took three days to die.

Who will ever want the US as an ally again? We’ve screwed the Poles, Czechs, British, Hondurans and Israelis. Now it’s the Afghans’ turn.

Wethal on June 22, 2011 at 7:43 PM

Two administration officials said General Petraeus did not endorse the decision

will the left trot out their favorite rhymey phrase regarding General Petraeus’ name on this one?

ted c on June 22, 2011 at 7:43 PM

Now it’s the Afghans’ turn.

Wethal on June 22, 2011 at 7:43 PM

x2

ted c on June 22, 2011 at 7:43 PM

I welcome them home. I cannot see risking lives and limbs of America’s finest for ingrate like Karzai.

If the Taliban take over, they will be out in the open for some air-borne valentines.

bayview on June 22, 2011 at 7:44 PM

What if Afganistan goes to pot just before the election with increated troop deaths. That is a really political risk.

RedSoxNation on June 22, 2011 at 7:45 PM

i don’t care what my advisors say, i gotta get reelected don’cha know
-dear leader

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 7:45 PM

If he worried about war spending maybe we should stop spending 9.2 million dollars a day in Libya…

sandee on June 22, 2011 at 7:45 PM

His Sheehan Base will welcome it as atleast a sliver of what they want.

Bring our boys home from Germany/Japan/Korea!!!

portlandon on June 22, 2011 at 7:46 PM

Using our Military as another campaign prop. This man has no shame.

Knucklehead on June 22, 2011 at 7:46 PM

cheers to my HA family!

*raising glass*

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 7:46 PM

how can petreus continue working for this man….i don’t get it…

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 7:47 PM

Oh, what it would be like to have a president that makes decisions (of any kind) based on the good of the Nation and not on his re-election. After all, he did say that he’d be happy with 1 term (but Moochelle probably would not be). I think we she oblige him.

And to think: my Sainted brother passed exercised over how Hillary would screw this Nation…what would he think now?

Dingbat63 on June 22, 2011 at 7:47 PM

Oh joy, another Obama speech. I was having withdrawals.

conservative pilgrim on June 22, 2011 at 7:47 PM

hey ya’ll, get yourselves on a plane and git back here. I’ll need a photo op!
/bo

ted c on June 22, 2011 at 7:47 PM

Two administration officials said General Petraeus did not endorse the decision

I really hope that the GEN will withdraw. Take a stand!!!

Dingbat63 on June 22, 2011 at 7:49 PM

The shame is that Obama committed our youth without any intention of fighting and winning . . . now he’s quitting to cut and run for pure political purposes. The politicians did this to me in Vietnam and now they’re doing it to my grandchildren. I guess we’re just not too smart because we never seem to learn.

rplat on June 22, 2011 at 7:49 PM

He’s doing it at Fort Drum, isn’t he? Using the troops as props again?

Wethal on June 22, 2011 at 7:49 PM


These troop reductions are both deeper and faster than the recommendations made by Mr. Obama’s military commanders …

And the Surge was LESS than what they wanted.

That tells us all we need to know about this man.

The taliban will be watching the speech too.

Tony737 on June 22, 2011 at 7:50 PM

wolfie gettin ready

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 7:51 PM

Endless photos of Barack and Michelle welcoming home the troops, hugging the emotional family members, etc.

RedRedRice on June 22, 2011 at 7:51 PM

I, I, I…..

RESPECT MY AUTHOR-IT-EYE!!!!

Sit down and STFU Erkel…

Roy Rogers on June 22, 2011 at 7:51 PM

blame W

I, I, I

inherited

osama bin laden

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 7:52 PM

RedRedRice on June 22, 2011 at 7:51 PM

ugh

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 7:52 PM

The man is a narcissistic sociopath who cares for no one and nothing but himself.

Wethal on June 22, 2011 at 7:53 PM

So we won right?

sandee on June 22, 2011 at 7:53 PM

the right war, the forgotten war

definitely blaming W tonight

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 7:53 PM

how can petreus continue working for this man….i don’t get it…

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 7:47 PM

He’s a soldier doing a soldier’s duty–for now. He probably is concerned about the morale of those remaining should he retire and bail. But this has to grind at him.

predator on June 22, 2011 at 7:53 PM

What if Afganistan goes to pot just before the election with increated troop deaths. That is a really political risk.

RedSoxNation on June 22, 2011 at 7:45 PM

It will but the MFM will not report on it.

Blake on June 22, 2011 at 7:53 PM

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.

And, Lord knows, we live only for politics guided by polls. Regardless of what’s right.

irishspy on June 22, 2011 at 7:54 PM

predator on June 22, 2011 at 7:53 PM

i understand that, but he’s moving over to cia, no?

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 7:54 PM

Valerie Jarret is so proud of her boy.

Roy Rogers on June 22, 2011 at 7:55 PM

BTW–I will not watch this piece of shee-ite. I’ll stick with the CWS.

*Vandy 4, N. Car. 0, for those intersted*

predator on June 22, 2011 at 7:55 PM

The timing here is obviously designed to give him a big talking point ahead of the election about bringing the boys home

This is the why behind tonight’s speech. Throwing a bone to his “War is not the answer!!!111@!!!” peeps. The counter to Obama’s tut-tuting talking point will be easy: did we win? Obama better hope the region isn’t a complete disaster next summer either. History is not in our favor.

conservative pilgrim on June 22, 2011 at 7:56 PM

i understand that, but he’s moving over to cia, no?

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 7:54 PM

That would be Gates. Someone correct me if I’m wrong.

Knucklehead on June 22, 2011 at 7:56 PM

i understand that, but he’s moving over to cia, no?

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 7:54 PM

I believe you’re right, cm. I had forgotten.

predator on June 22, 2011 at 7:56 PM

Knucklehead on June 22, 2011 at 7:56 PM

i think gates is totally retiring from gov’t work

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 7:57 PM

Gates is outta here… Lucky for him…

sandee on June 22, 2011 at 7:58 PM

“I will bring Peace to the World, but I need you to vote for me!”

“I need your trust!”

“America can not win every fight!”

“My wars are not hostile!”

Roy Rogers on June 22, 2011 at 7:59 PM

predator on June 22, 2011 at 7:56 PM

no worries, i hope maybe this will give him the red flag about continuing to work for this administration…

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 7:59 PM

i think gates is totally retiring from gov’t work

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 7:57 PM

I stand corrected then. I can’t keep up with Barry and his musical chairs.

Knucklehead on June 22, 2011 at 7:59 PM

This will blow up in his face. He will be haunted by a year-long violent implosion of not only Afghanistan, but Pakistan as well. Remember the country rallied around Carter during the hostage crisis? Then it dragged on for a year….

Apologetic California on June 22, 2011 at 7:59 PM

I stand corrected then. I can’t keep up with Barry and his musical chairs.

Knucklehead on June 22, 2011 at 7:59 PM

Or under the bus wheels….

sandee on June 22, 2011 at 7:59 PM

i don’t care what my advisors say, i gotta get reelected don’cha know
-dear leader

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 7:45 PM

Our brave men and women are just cannon fodder to him. And they were stupid enough to VOLUNTEER!

I plan to watch the jug-eared idiot’s speech with the TV on MUTE and The Mark Levin Show on LOUD. I highly recommend this method for your sanity.

http://wabcradio.com

Naturally Curly on June 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM

The GOP criticism is easy: How come the president is timing this troop withdrawal to coincide with what promises to be a tough re-election? Why is he using American soldiers as campaign props?

Rational Thought on June 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Knucklehead on June 22, 2011 at 7:59 PM

indeed…

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM

conservative pilgrim on June 22, 2011 at 7:56 PM

How shocking that O wants to start drawing down on his “war of necessity.”

While in the land of GW’s “war of choice” things are somewhat better.

predator on June 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Why was this the GOOD war? I don’t remember the premise…

golfmann on June 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Maybe the boys and girls will make a scheduled stopover in Libya, march through to Tripoli and put His Highness KaddiDuck to the wall…
.
A Twofer on the way home!

ExpressoBold on June 22, 2011 at 8:01 PM

Naturally Curly on June 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM

the great one!

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 8:01 PM

“Commander in Chief is an important position! More important to me than Michelle’s daily lobster intake!”

Roy Rogers on June 22, 2011 at 8:01 PM

Has he started yet? I can’t stand to see or hear him.

sandee on June 22, 2011 at 8:02 PM

only a 10 minute speech…

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 8:02 PM

Looking mighty muslim…

Roy Rogers on June 22, 2011 at 8:02 PM

Whoooooo…..the TollyBon

Knucklehead on June 22, 2011 at 8:02 PM

9-11 was NOT a new threat, SUR…

ExpressoBold on June 22, 2011 at 8:02 PM

Moonbat bait, that’s about it.

Philly on June 22, 2011 at 8:02 PM

Let me summarize it for you. I,I,I,I mine,mine,mine, me,me,me…..

sandee on June 22, 2011 at 8:03 PM

he’s on…talking about 9/11

and begins blaming the iraq war

and the forgotten war in afghanistan

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 8:03 PM

Blaming Bush…

Roy Rogers on June 22, 2011 at 8:03 PM

I mean, sir

ExpressoBold on June 22, 2011 at 8:03 PM

Why was this the GOOD war? I don’t remember the premise…

golfmann on June 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM

9/11 attack originated there. Attack us, and we attack back. See Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Wethal on June 22, 2011 at 8:03 PM

I

drink

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 8:03 PM

Come Mr. Tolly-bon, tolly me ba-na-na…

Philly on June 22, 2011 at 8:03 PM

feels like a mission accomplished speech

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Yeah, right. Afghan security forces. Mall cops are more effective.

Philly on June 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM

I can’t stand to listen to him anymore. He’s a narcissistic like Wiener. Has he met with any families of the fallen troops? This is all about him. Nothing about the sacrifice of ten years by Americans and allies fighting a war that he will game for votes.

Disgusting.

Hening on June 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Talliiiiban and Pakiiiistan.

Dingbat63 on June 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM

so how long will he stretch a 5 minute announcement (besides being so long as to be unpresidential)

phreshone on June 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM

The TolleyBahn has got to be loving this/

Knucklehead on June 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM

“I have used our military as political pawns. You owe me your support…”

Roy Rogers on June 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM

feels like a mission accomplished speech

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Does him have the banner behind him?

sandee on June 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM

from combat to support

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM

I’m in favor of bringing the troops home too but not on a political timeline and that is what this is.

Bishop on June 22, 2011 at 8:05 PM

They are giving Afghan troops loaded weapons again?

ExpressoBold on June 22, 2011 at 8:05 PM

Maybe it is time then for Petraeus to resign in protest. Our CiC is making decisions based on polls.

If he is concerned about money ( lol ), he wouldn’t have started up with Libya.

Daemonocracy on June 22, 2011 at 8:05 PM

sandee on June 22, 2011 at 8:04 PM

heh

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 8:05 PM

Who is this “we” you mention, Barry?

Philly on June 22, 2011 at 8:05 PM

The GOP criticism is easy: How come the president is timing this troop withdrawal to coincide with what promises to be a tough re-election? Why is he using American soldiers as campaign props?

Rational Thought on June 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Especially when optimum fighting conditions over there are in the months of April-November. So a September pullout would have to start when? Early August, at least?

predator on June 22, 2011 at 8:05 PM

Daylight come and me wanna go home!

Roy Rogers on June 22, 2011 at 8:05 PM

That dude is looking gray.

Bishop on June 22, 2011 at 8:05 PM

Tolly-bon me banana daquiri.

Philly on June 22, 2011 at 8:05 PM

Good Grief, he really looks like shite. The evil just OOZES from him, and he’s deteriorating.

Naturally Curly on June 22, 2011 at 8:06 PM

will not relent until the job is done…but that is what appears you are doing

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 8:06 PM

“You will be held accountable, no matter how long it takes”.

Then why bring the Troops home??

TN Mom on June 22, 2011 at 8:06 PM

TOTUS is working behind the camera

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 8:06 PM

Keeps your barrels on ‘em, boys; stay locked and loaded!

ExpressoBold on June 22, 2011 at 8:06 PM

This whole thing is utter nonsense propaganda. Bush had 46,000 troops in Afcrapistan. Obama now has 100,000. (There were TWO ‘surges’, not one) Even if Obama reduces that number to 70,000, it will still be over half again as many as Bush had. This is like one of those pretend sales for fools, where the price is jacked way up and then lowered some for a ‘BIG SALE’.

HalJordan on June 22, 2011 at 8:06 PM

How dare him say we’ve helped women and girls there!

Disgraceful.

Knucklehead on June 22, 2011 at 8:06 PM

I got Osama…. end of discussion….

sandee on June 22, 2011 at 8:07 PM

A NATO summit in Chicago….

hah!

TN Mom on June 22, 2011 at 8:07 PM

Good Lord. Making deals with the Tolly-Bon. This guy has been smoking ba-na-na leaves.

Philly on June 22, 2011 at 8:07 PM

Name those reasons, you prevaricator!

ExpressoBold on June 22, 2011 at 8:07 PM

EPIC FAIL.

Philly on June 22, 2011 at 8:07 PM

Behold, the genius.

Hening on June 22, 2011 at 8:08 PM

Oh how I wish a brave reporter would have an opportunity to stand up and ask: “Mr President, why are you telling our enemy our plans”?

PaCadle on June 22, 2011 at 8:08 PM

pokistan

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 8:08 PM

Wiley Obama…. suuuuuuper genious…

sandee on June 22, 2011 at 8:08 PM

insists

wtf????

wimpy, wimpy, wimpy

cmsinaz on June 22, 2011 at 8:08 PM

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