January surprise: We’re ending our combat mission in Afghanistan a year early, says Panetta

posted at 9:57 pm on February 2, 2012 by Allahpundit

This makes twice in 24 hours that the SecDef has telegraphed a hugely consequential military decision to the enemy. Either (a) he’s a moron, (b) he’s lying for strategic advantage, or (c) he has something else in mind. I don’t think he’s a moron and I can’t fathom what the strategic advantage to this might be. If you’re desperate to get the Taliban to the bargaining table, the last thing you’d want to do is tell them that they’ll have to wait us out in the field for even less time than they had planned.

So he must have something else in mind.

A senior European NATO diplomat in Brussels, for example, told Reuters that Panetta had “not said explicitly that the U.S. will end its combat role in 2013. There will be a shift, but he hasn’t said when the shift will end.” Afghan security officials were also surprised by the remarks, with a senior Afghan security official telling the wire service that “throws out the whole transition plan.”

“Transition has been planned against a timetable and this makes us rush all our preparations,” the official said. “If the Americans withdraw from combat, it will certainly have an effect on our readiness and training, and on equipping the police force.”

Still, Panetta’s comment was no accident. It highlights an emerging shift in the White House’s overall war strategy, which will also provide the Obama administration with a potent new talking point as the 2012 presidential race kicks into a higher gear

“It will certainly help with the Democratic base, but a lot of Republicans and independents are also tired of Afghanistan,” said Chris Harris of American Bridge 21st Century, a super PAC supporting the Obama reelection campaign. “Obama can say ‘I promised to take the fight to the enemy in Afghanistan, turn things around there, and then wind down the war,’ and then say that he’s keeping that promise.”

Go look at some of the recent polls on Afghanistan. Last month Pew found that 56 percent want the troops out ASAP, a figure unchanged since last summer. In November, CNN found opposition to the war at 63 percent. Even so, I’m mighty curious to hear how The One is planning to make the big “I turned things around” pitch given that Panetta’s little bombshell dropped on the very day that wire services were running this:

The U.S. military said in a secret report that the Taliban, backed by Pakistan, are set to retake control of Afghanistan after NATO-led forces withdraw, raising the prospect of a major failure of Western policy after a costly war…

“The classified document in question is a compilation of Taliban detainee opinions,” [a NATO spokesman] said. “It’s not an analysis, nor is it meant to be considered an analysis.”

Nevertheless, it could be interpreted as a damning assessment of the war, dragging into its 11th year and aimed at blocking a Taliban return to power.

It could also be seen as an admission of defeat and could reinforce the view of Taliban hardliners that they should not negotiate with the United States and President Hamid Karzai’s unpopular government while in a position of strength.

According to the BBC, the report also describes “unprecedented interest” by Afghans, including members of the Afghan government, in joining the Taliban over the past year, plus of course the requisite acknowledgment that Pakistan is deep, deep, deep in cahoots with the Taliban leadership. (A memorable quote from an Al Qaeda prisoner: “The Taliban are not Islam. The Taliban are Islamabad.”) I’m unclear on the exact timeline here, but I assume the NATO report was leaked in response to what Panetta said about early withdrawal, to nudge hawks into making the case that leaving sooner rather than later would be an exceedingly bad idea right now. The alternative, that NATO brass leaked the report precisely in order to convince people that the war is unwinnable and therefore we should take Panetta’s advice, is too unhappy to contemplate.

But maybe it’s the only call left. The best defense of Panetta’s early withdrawal talk that I’ve seen is James Joyner’s short piece at the Atlantic arguing that the war now seems like a lost cause, in which case we might as well save American lives by giving up in 2013 instead of in 2014. On the other hand, if this is chiefly a political pander aimed at handing Obama an “I’m bringing the troops home” line for the campaign, then maybe the coming withdrawal will be cosmetic only. The public has tuned out of following the war day to day; if people hear that the troops are on their way out soon, most will probably be satisfied with that without checking up to see just how many are being pulled. Face it: If we’ve now reached the point where top intel officials can talk openly about freeing Taliban prisoners from Gitmo without fear of a major backlash, they’ve got a very, very free hand to operate.

Update: No sooner did I write those last sentences than CNN reports Romney is hammering the White House for thinking of releasing the Taliban prisoners.

Update: Krauthammer wonders why Panetta keeps talking.


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Romney already called him out on this. Romney will bring him to task on this nonsense.

The others will talk about how Bain is evil and contraceptions should be make illegal..by states.

Jailbreak on February 2, 2012 at 10:00 PM

We’re ending our combat mission in Afghanistan a year early, says Panetta

Or, several years late.

urban elitist on February 2, 2012 at 10:02 PM

We need to hurry up and lose so Republicans don’t get credit for victory and we can facilitate the Afghan “Arab Spring.” Anyone read anything about Iraq anymore?

BobScuba on February 2, 2012 at 10:02 PM

Really don’t like that we’ve essentially, “wussed out,” here. I’m not a warmonger, but in my book once you start something like this, you end it.

Granted, it may really be a hopeless situation. Ugh…

WolvenOne on February 2, 2012 at 10:03 PM

Nah I go with moron. The whole administration is full of them – why should Panetta be any different.

gophergirl on February 2, 2012 at 10:03 PM

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF!
What a sad joke!

KOOLAID2 on February 2, 2012 at 10:03 PM

Great … my son’s headed over there in about a month just as this &%$($# Administration starts waving the white flag & energizing the people who will kill him if they get a chance.

And the %&%$($ Administration wants us to applaud?

BD57 on February 2, 2012 at 10:03 PM

Wrong dear Allahp—-he is a maroon.

arnold ziffel on February 2, 2012 at 10:03 PM

We’ll be back.

Mark1971 on February 2, 2012 at 10:04 PM

We’ll be leaving some native “allies” behind, to a vengeful Taliban.

listens2glenn on February 2, 2012 at 10:06 PM

“Peace in our time”

thebrokenrattle on February 2, 2012 at 10:07 PM

Great … my son’s headed over there in about a month just as this &%$($# Administration starts waving the white flag & energizing the people who will kill him if they get a chance.

And the %&%$($ Administration wants us to applaud?

BD57 on February 2, 2012 at 10:03 PM

Yep – nothing like painting big bullseyes on our soliders’ backs.

I hope your son stays safe and comes home.

gophergirl on February 2, 2012 at 10:07 PM

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF!
What a sad joke!
KOOLAID2 on February 2, 2012 at 10:03 PM

COWARD-IN-CHIEF ?

listens2glenn on February 2, 2012 at 10:08 PM

Update: No sooner did I write those last sentences than CNN reports Romney is hammering the White House for thinking of releasing the Taliban prisoners.

Good for him – he’s 100% right on this.

gophergirl on February 2, 2012 at 10:09 PM

Ron Paul’s strong poll numbers against the President are being borne out in policy shifts. This is about as good as one could imagine for the anti-war left. We get Paul-esque policy without the social libertarianism. Oh Obama, are you trying to win me back over?

libfreeordie on February 2, 2012 at 10:09 PM

We’re closing GITMO by opening the gates. It’s a shame the only version of victory Democrats can support is one on the first Tuesday of November in even years.

BKeyser on February 2, 2012 at 10:10 PM

Good. End it today and bring them home.

Dante on February 2, 2012 at 10:11 PM

Did I hear this evening that this announcement was not supposed to be made until this summer (July)? Whoops.

Between this and the Israel attacking Iran announcement, the Obummer regime is full of stupid leakers.

Philly on February 2, 2012 at 10:11 PM

My brethren gave their lives for what? Shamwow!

Momma on February 2, 2012 at 10:12 PM

Jailbreak on February 2, 2012 at 10:00 PM

Yawn. Red herring, strawman, etc.

knob on February 2, 2012 at 10:12 PM

Update: No sooner did I write those last sentences than CNN reports Romney is hammering the White House for thinking of releasing the Taliban prisoners.

Good for him – he’s 100% right on this.

gophergirl on February 2, 2012 at 10:09 PM

And falling into a major trap laid by the Obama Administration. They are going to tack to the far left on national security this year to bring the debate onto terrain where the President polls strongest. If Romney goes neo-con hawk and sabre rattles that helps Obama in front of a war fatigued public. The vast majority of Americans want us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama knows that. Romney better watch out. Its especially dangerous with Romney’s elitism combined with the sabre rattling, having the Wall Street billionaire pushing for folks to be sent off to war ain’t gonna look good.

libfreeordie on February 2, 2012 at 10:12 PM

Just look at the casualty figures. 26 American soldiers died in the 1st month of this year which is the 2nd deadliest January of the entire war. The weather has been really bad too which inhibits insurgent activity. The rules of engagement suck. If you see 2 people digging a hole in the road and putting something in there you can’t shoot them or call in an air strike unless you can see the different components of the bomb.

Wigglesworth on February 2, 2012 at 10:13 PM

We get Paul-esque policy without the social libertarianism.

libfreeordie on February 2, 2012 at 10:09 PM

Interesting thing to say for someone with a handle that is a play on Live Free or Die.

Dante on February 2, 2012 at 10:13 PM

Actually, what I’d like to know is… who let that classified document out for the world to see? “A NATO spokesman”… I see.

knob on February 2, 2012 at 10:14 PM

Great … my son’s headed over there in about a month just as this &%$($# Administration starts waving the white flag & energizing the people who will kill him if they get a chance.

And the %&%$($ Administration wants us to applaud?

BD57 on February 2, 2012 at 10:03 PM

Weirdest post I’ve ever read.

Dante on February 2, 2012 at 10:14 PM

And falling into a major trap laid by the Obama Administration. They are going to tack to the far left on national security this year to bring the debate onto terrain where the President polls strongest. If Romney goes neo-con hawk and sabre rattles that helps Obama in front of a war fatigued public. The vast majority of Americans want us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama knows that. Romney better watch out. Its especially dangerous with Romney’s elitism combined with the sabre rattling, having the Wall Street billionaire pushing for folks to be sent off to war ain’t gonna look good.

libfreeordie on February 2, 2012 at 10:12 PM

Did you even read the link – apparently not since most of his comments were directed towards releasing the prisoners from GITMO.

Somehow I don’t think a majority of Americans would support letting terrorists who want to kill us – walk free.

gophergirl on February 2, 2012 at 10:17 PM

or (c) he has something else in mind

He’ll need the troops to ” take care of ” Americans in America ?

burrata on February 2, 2012 at 10:18 PM

LOL

They really think they can win the election by saying they ended the wars. It’s the only thing they can hang their hat on, because the economy sucks.

And guess what, that’s what people are thinking about. The economy and our spiraling national debt.

ButterflyDragon on February 2, 2012 at 10:19 PM

Dante on February 2, 2012 at 10:14 PM

Hey Dante, How ya doing?

Bmore on February 2, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Hmmm. The Taliban and Paaka-stan joing forces. What could possibly go wrong? Taliban with access to nuclear weapons. HMMMM. Not Good.

they lie on February 2, 2012 at 10:21 PM

And the %&%$($ Administration wants us to applaud?

BD57 on February 2, 2012 at 10:03 PM

I know.

Axe on February 2, 2012 at 10:22 PM

Oh good lord … please let it be (b) he’s lying for strategic advantage … please let this be a trick.

Tony737 on February 2, 2012 at 10:23 PM

I wonder why these countries don’t trust us…..hmmm…they act as though we never keep our word or finish what we start…

Oh, wait…we haven’t finished a fricking thing since WWII.

Tim Zank on February 2, 2012 at 10:23 PM

Update: No sooner did I write those last sentences than CNN reports Romney is hammering the White House for thinking of releasing the Taliban prisoners.

Good. They are very bad actors and, unless they’re planning on a new and mucho improved version of Operation Fast and Furious where microchips will be implanted under their skin and they’ll track them like dogs as they meet up with Anwar al-Awlaki’s successors, I can’t imagine what is to be gained strategically from this (other than the grotesquely political calculations of a cynical White House).

BTW: Methinks it’s time for Americans to reread the Kite Runner and other books of that genre before they rejoice that our troops are coming home.

Buy Danish on February 2, 2012 at 10:24 PM

I could’ve sworn I just saw on the news today that the taliban are looking for a way out of this mess … great timing on out part. Morons.

Tony737 on February 2, 2012 at 10:25 PM

Krauthammer and I were on the same wavelength.

ted c on February 2, 2012 at 10:26 PM

On the other hand, if this is chiefly a political pander aimed at handing Obama an “I’m bringing the troops home” line for the campaign, then maybe the coming withdrawal will be cosmetic only.

It is political pandering and I doubt he has anything else in mind. The man is a fool for trying to talk to the taliban in the first place. He thinks that will surely work so why now bring home the troops for a political gain.

This is from the same guy who thinks that dealing with Iran in the same way we dealt with North Korea will result in them abandoning nuclear weapons, nevermind Lybia who after they abandoned thier project was tossed out by this very guy. The man is a fool.

Sultanofsham on February 2, 2012 at 10:27 PM

Pure political calculation…. Nothing else matters to this administration.

RockyJ. on February 2, 2012 at 10:29 PM

Look, I’ve been to Afghanistan several times. In the early period, you have the initiative, you make some gains, you whack a few, you make a point. After a few years, that dwindles towards the point of diminishing returns–a point we may have passed. It just is what it is. I can’t fault Mr. Obama for making that call at all. Nothing like this is ever a purely national security, nor purely political call–it can be argued both ways each and every day. If accepting the inevitability that we can’t be there indefinitely involves him scoring some points on it politically, I really don’t have a problem with that. Any points he gains, he loses a dozen others in several other ways.

Ah well, just get on with it.

ted c on February 2, 2012 at 10:31 PM

And guess what, that’s what people are thinking about. The economy and our spiraling national debt.

ButterflyDragon on February 2, 2012 at 10:19 PM

The economy will be showing steady improvement up to election day, because the Obama admin. will be “managing” the numbers. It has already started, and the liberal media will carry the water. As for the spiraling national debt., only conservatives seem to care about that and we have been relegated to the back bench by both parties. And as for jobs, Obama is personally getting folks jobs. Send him your resume.

they lie on February 2, 2012 at 10:31 PM

Weirdest post I’ve ever read.

Dante on February 2, 2012 at 10:14 PM

You should try reading some of the paulbot posts, oh wait…

Sultanofsham on February 2, 2012 at 10:31 PM

Anyone read anything about Iraq anymore?

BobScuba on February 2, 2012 at 10:02 PM

Just when members of the Religion of Peace are bombing Christian churches.

bw222 on February 2, 2012 at 10:31 PM

You can’t call it a defeat. In order to be a defeat you would have needed a clear definition of victory to have fallen short of.There was no clear definition of victory. It is more in the realm of WTF?

The tough part is that not a single lesson has been learned.

BL@KBIRD on February 2, 2012 at 10:31 PM

Our A$$-Clown President continues to demonstrate that he doesn’t know anything about anything.

Jaibones on February 2, 2012 at 10:35 PM

Panetta is a close friend of the Clintons, what do you expect…same level of ‘competence’ on foreign affairs (and probably corruption too)…wonder what else he’s giving/selling to the Chinese these days, Barry needs to fill the campaign coffers, the billion is not there yet….

jimver on February 2, 2012 at 10:35 PM

Anything Scooter gains from bringing the troops home will be offset by releasing the Gitmo guys.

a capella on February 2, 2012 at 10:36 PM

We’ll be leaving some native “allies” behind, to a vengeful Taliban.

listens2glenn on February 2, 2012 at 10:06 PM

There is still time for them to backshoot a few folks in revenge.

BL@KBIRD on February 2, 2012 at 10:36 PM


Obama: “Victory” is not our “Goal” in Afghanstan.

I know, I know…

… some of you were really hoping that he REALLY didn’t mean it.

/

Seven Percent Solution on February 2, 2012 at 10:36 PM

What a sorry excuse for a President of the United States.

crosspatch on February 2, 2012 at 10:37 PM

Like it or not, BHO will make some significant political mileage off of this. Many in our nation feel its time to pull out. We need our troops along the southern border asap. DD

Darvin Dowdy on February 2, 2012 at 10:37 PM

Still, Panetta’s comment was no accident. It highlights an emerging shift in the White House’s overall war strategy, which will also provide the Obama administration with a potent new talking point as the 2012 presidential race kicks into a higher gear…

This is news to anyone? There has been no shift in war strategy; this was the plan from the beginning. I was telling people a year ago that Obama would have the two wars wrapped up in time for the election, no matter what the facts on the ground. The killing of Bin Laden just added a little spice to the I-ended-two-unpopular-wars broth. Obama is so predictable.

Mr. Arkadin on February 2, 2012 at 10:38 PM

Many in our nation feel its time to pull out. We need our troops along the southern border asap. DD

Darvin Dowdy on February 2, 2012 at 10:37 PM

yeah, that’s exactly where he’s going to put them…

jimver on February 2, 2012 at 10:39 PM

Lost cause. Bring’em home. Cost too much in blood and treasure.

ronval912 on February 2, 2012 at 10:39 PM

Closing down an overseas combat missions gets the same reaction from the right that closing down a domestic welfare program gets from the left. The same verve used in arguing for domestic benevolence and charity is also used in arguing for national security and defense of freedom, just by different people.

The truth in the matter is that leftists build domestic programs that, once built, never go away and are defended vigorously. Overseas military programs are quite similar–ie Germany, Japan, Korea etc etc. Now, reasons for welfare and for security are generally quite justifiable, however, once justified they almost become set in stone.

ted c on February 2, 2012 at 10:40 PM

“Obama can say ‘I promised to take the fight to the enemy in Afghanistan, turn things around there, and then wind down the war,’ and then say that he’s keeping that promise.”

..and as usual with President downgrade…he will be lying.
This is what Obama promised Americans when he was running for President:

.let’s also remember what Obama said when he was campaigning for votes concerning America’s safety:


I will . . . finish the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan.


Barack Obama

Mr. Obama has said that a stable Afghanistan is central to the security of the United States,

Obama Considers Strategy Shift in Afghan War
NY Times, Sept. 22, 2009

“We need to finish the fight in Afghanistan… George Bush and John McCain have been weak on terrorism. It’s time to finish the fight in Afghanistan.”

Barack Obama
2008 Presidential Campaigning


Remember what Obama promised back in 2008:

“No. 3, we’ve got to deal with Pakistan, because al Qaeda and the Taliban have safe havens in Pakistan, across the border in the northwest regions, and although, you know, under George Bush, with the support of Senator McCain, we’ve been giving them $10 billion over the last seven years,(Obama has given them billions more) they have not done what needs to be done to get rid of those safe havens.
And until we do, Americans here at home are not going to be safe.
But I do believe that we have to change our policies with Pakistan. We can’t coddle, as we did, a dictator, give him billions of dollars and then he’s making peace treaties with the Taliban and militants.
“[al Qaeda] are now operating in 60 countries. We have to go to the root cause, and that is in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That’s going to be critical. “

Obama promised to defeat the enemy….the Taliban/al-qaeda.

Not only has he not come close to doing just that….he now declares the enemy…..TO NOT BE OUR ENEMY.

White House Stands by Biden Statement That Taliban Isn’t U.S. Enemy

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/12/19/white-house-stands-by-biden-statement-that-taliban-isnt-us-enemy/#ixzz1lHpca7LN

The White House on Monday defended Vice President Joe Biden for saying that the Taliban isn’t an enemy of the United States despite the years spent fighting the militant Islamic group that gave a home to Al Qaeda and its leader Usama bin Laden while he plotted the Sept. 11 terror attacks

Obama can “claim victory” all he wants but the facts are that he is retreating and leaving the enemy more powerful than they were when we first went in.

Baxter Greene on February 2, 2012 at 10:42 PM

In what country will the Karzai family live when we leave Afghaniston?

slp on February 2, 2012 at 10:46 PM

Like it or not, BHO will make some significant political mileage off of this. Many in our nation feel its time to pull out. We need our troops along the southern border asap. DD

Darvin Dowdy on February 2, 2012 at 10:37 PM

He’ll make mileage on it alright but those troops will not be going anywere near the border. Satan will be iceskating to work before that happens.

Sultanofsham on February 2, 2012 at 10:46 PM

Like it or not, BHO will make some significant political mileage off of this. Many in our nation feel its time to pull out. We need our troops along the southern border asap. DD

Darvin Dowdy on February 2, 2012 at 10:37 PM

They won’t end up anywhere near the southern border.

Tim Zank on February 2, 2012 at 10:46 PM

Allah, consider the strategic cover given Panetta, obama et al if only they could turn the world’s attention away from any premature closure of Afghanistan and toward another convenient mideast conflagration that one would want to short circuit by telegraphing both allies and enemy on when that should happen……

ted c on February 2, 2012 at 10:48 PM

We’re ending our combat mission in Afghanistan a year early, says Panetta

Or, several years late.

urban elitist on February 2, 2012 at 10:02 PM

If it were any other military mission you would have a point, but all but 1 member of Congress approved this mission back in 2001.

And if we leave now, that country will just revert back to what it was before. Including who they allowed as “guests”.

Del Dolemonte on February 2, 2012 at 10:49 PM

One thing that you have to hand to the White House is that they are generally adept at killing two birds with one stone. If Israel/Iran attacks Iran/Israel, then the whole world will forget the Talibanistan jackassery going on and focus on Iran/Israel and Obama can skitter away, legacy of being a foreign policy genius intact…er, wait.

ted c on February 2, 2012 at 10:50 PM

It highlights an emerging shift in the White House’s overall war strategy, which will also provide the Obama administration with a potent new talking point as the 2012 presidential race kicks into a higher gear…

..an emerging shift alright.
Obama is bending over backwards and begging the taliban/al-qaeda to let him surrender.
Anyone paying attention knows that one of the chief demands of the jihadist is that we are off of their land…that we retreat.
The taliban/al-qaeda has stated over and over and over that “peace negotiations” were a non-stater without withdrawal.
Obama will release their leaders….give them billions in “aid”….and continue to bow to their ever increasing demands so that he can score political points with “mission accomplished” in an election season.
The press will ignore the jihadist take over just like they have ignored it in Libya and Egypt.
This will also benefit his appeasement to Ahmadenijad with American troops now gone from it’s borders on both sides.
Obama’s allies in the press will continue to talk about how “smart power” is such a success hoping nobody notices that the jihadist have gained more ground and power over Obama’s 3 years than in any time in modern history.

…and like Obama’s economic policies….this will bring on total disaster.

Baxter Greene on February 2, 2012 at 10:51 PM

Israel, hurry up and get Iran done to cover our withdrawal from Afghanistan!!

ted c on February 2, 2012 at 10:51 PM

Look, nowadays, every State Department joker in Afghanistan is pulling his Afghani counterpart in and giving him the “look bub, you’re on your own, we’re packin’ our sh!t” speech.

ted c on February 2, 2012 at 10:52 PM

In what country will the Karzai family live when we leave Afghaniston?

slp on February 2, 2012 at 10:46 PM

Well maybe the taliban will catch him and string him up. Cant say that would bother me much.

Sultanofsham on February 2, 2012 at 10:52 PM

neo-con hawk

libfreeordie on February 2, 2012 at 10:12 PM

9/10

Del Dolemonte on February 2, 2012 at 10:54 PM

The vast majority of Americans want us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama knows that. Romney better watch out. Its especially dangerous with Romney’s elitism combined with the sabre rattling, having the Wall Street billionaire pushing for folks to be sent off to war ain’t gonna look good.

libfreeordie on February 2, 2012 at 10:12 PM

…and the vast majorities of Americans will not consider Obama running from the enemy while he pals around with his billionaire buddy Buffet as “leadership” either.
Polls come and go and they are never good during war.
Obama promised to finish the job in Afghanistan…to defeat the Taliban/al-qaeda…..
……….and like all of his other pompous promises….
…he failed to deliver.

“I got Osama but I lost the War in Afghanistan” is only a winning election theme to the ignorant…which fits libordie perfectly.

Baxter Greene on February 2, 2012 at 11:05 PM

We’re ending our combat mission in Afghanistan a year early, says Panetta

Or, several years late.

urban elitist on February 2, 2012 at 10:02 PM

Reminds me of Harry Reid:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYZEGot-xU4

..dam#…if only we could have surrendered earlier.

If only Obama had run on that for President than “I am going to finish the job in Afghanistan”……..

Baxter Greene on February 2, 2012 at 11:11 PM

It doesn’t matter. We’ll be fighting in Iran before the end of the year probably.

That’s when this sh1t is gonna get tight.

Wolfmoon on February 2, 2012 at 11:15 PM

Wrong dear Allahp—-he is a maroon.

arnold ziffel on February 2, 2012 at 10:03 PM

SECDEF is the only guy in Beltway with street cred with our troops. As DCIA, he earned his stripes and worthy of support from those of us on the frontlines. There’s a reason for this play in the media–and it’s with our nation’s best interest in mind. SECDEF is military’s only friend and defender right now. He’s got his reasons for doing this that aren’t political–as much as it hurts to me to say that about Dem’s. This guy is straight-shooter and supporter of our guys and gals in uniform.

Deep Timber on February 2, 2012 at 11:22 PM

And as always, Allahpundit concludes and defaults to the most positive motives, strategy and results for Obama and his regime.

Dr. Carlo Lombardi on February 2, 2012 at 11:24 PM

Certainly by now the Taliban have learned from their past mistakes and will preside over a joyful enlightened national reconciliation, and will peacefully return the society to stable conservative Afghan values – Insha’Allah!

Kenosha Kid on February 2, 2012 at 11:29 PM

Still, Panetta’s comment was no accident. It highlights an emerging shift in the White House’s overall war strategy, which will also provide the Obama administration with a potent new talking point as the 2012 presidential race kicks into a higher gear…

Perfect. Obama gets a talking point for an election, as many brave soldiers get a grave or a prosthetic or two, their lives and bodies spent for nothing. How can this man or half-man sleep at night for what he has done and is about to do to our military?

We know he hates our country with every fiber of his being, but these fine men and women should not be so disrespected for doing their all for nothing at all. He can’t even treat them with the honor and decency they deserve, his hate for this country so great. Sad and despicable cannot begin to describe Obama.

Well, he can have his talking points and shove them where the Sun don’t shine. The rest of us will honor our country and the heroes who stand, and stood, strong to defend her.

TXUS on February 2, 2012 at 11:38 PM

Del Dolemonte,

And if we leave now, that country will just revert back to what it was before. Including who they allowed as “guests”.

Yup. And what comes after that won’t be pretty.

Mike Honcho on February 2, 2012 at 11:39 PM

Fools in charge, or malicious enemy enablers.

Schadenfreude on February 2, 2012 at 11:59 PM

No, we are not ending it a year early. We are ending it 10 years late.

RasThavas on February 3, 2012 at 12:00 AM

The best defense of Panetta’s early withdrawal talk that I’ve seen is James Joyner’s short piece at the Atlantic arguing that the war now seems like a lost cause, in which case we might as well save American lives by giving up in 2013 instead of in 2014.

Wow! James Joyner sure catches on quick! This was obvious between 5 and 10 years ago, depending on how dense someone’s skull was.

RasThavas on February 3, 2012 at 12:04 AM

RasThavas on February 3, 2012 at 12:04 AM

What would you have done after 9/11?????

Baxter Greene on February 3, 2012 at 12:08 AM

Fools in charge, or malicious enemy enablers.

Schadenfreude on February 2, 2012 at 11:59 PM

That’s all the American military has been doing in Afghanistan, and Iraq too, enabling the enemy – MUSLIMS!

RasThavas on February 3, 2012 at 12:08 AM

What would you have done after 9/11?????

Baxter Greene on February 3, 2012 at 12:08 AM

I would have dropped about a dozen tactical nuclear bombs on Tora Bora and one each on Meca and Medina. I would certainly not have sacrificed the lives and limbs of thousands of America Soldiers and Marines, and hundreds of billions to trillions of dollars, for the utter and anti-American madness of Great Islamic Society Nation Building.

RasThavas on February 3, 2012 at 12:14 AM

RasThavas on February 3, 2012 at 12:08 AM

There are thousands of dead terrorist and dead genocidal leadership that would disagree with you.

Along with tens of thousands of military that put their lives on the line to combat this enemy.

How would you have addressed the threat of the jihadist and countered their attacks??????

Baxter Greene on February 3, 2012 at 12:17 AM

RasThavas on February 3, 2012 at 12:14 AM

All out nuclear war against all of the Middle East and Asia.

That would make a great movie or video game…..
…do you have any solutions based in reality.

Baxter Greene on February 3, 2012 at 12:20 AM

I would have dropped about a dozen tactical nuclear bombs on Tora Bora and one each on Meca and Medina.

Mecca? Look thats way over the top and unless your ready to fight to the last muslim it would never be a good idea.

Sultanofsham on February 3, 2012 at 12:23 AM

There are not thousands of dead terrorists and dead genocidal leadership that would disagree with me. Even 5 years ago Gates admitted there were no more than 100 AlQ remaining in Afghanistan and there were never even that many in Iraq. AlQ in Iraq was never the same as AlQ. There were however around a million Christians in Iraq, but not any more. And what about the terrorists in the Afghan Army, on our payroll, who murdered around 60 of our and NATO’s troops. They have been the biggest terrorist there during the last few years. OBL must be laughing his ass off in hell.

RasThavas on February 3, 2012 at 12:25 AM

All out nuclear war against all of the Middle East and Asia.

That would make a great movie or video game…..
…do you have any solutions based in reality.

Baxter Greene on February 3, 2012 at 12:20 AM

Look thats way over the top and unless your ready to fight to the last muslim it would never be a good idea.

Sultanofsham on February 3, 2012 at 12:23 AM

Who the hell said anything about all out nuclear war? Or killing every single Muslim? Are we not all speaking English here?

RasThavas on February 3, 2012 at 12:29 AM

If you don’t feel up to countering what I say, don’t just make things up and pretend I said something I didn’t. It looks bad.

RasThavas on February 3, 2012 at 12:31 AM

Oh Obama, are you trying to win me back over?
libfreeordie on February 2, 2012 at 10:09 PM

Like you haven’t remained on your knees for him from day one. Parasites are cheap dates.

Chuck Schick on February 3, 2012 at 12:39 AM

If you don’t feel up to countering what I say, don’t just make things up and pretend I said something I didn’t. It looks bad.

RasThavas on February 3, 2012 at 12:31 AM

Counter what you said? Do you really not know what the reaction to dropping a nuke on Mecca would be? Fighting to the last muslim might not be your idea here but it s a good chance thats what you’d get.

Sultanofsham on February 3, 2012 at 12:42 AM

Shocked. Called it a while ago.

Hawkdriver will tell us this is what victory looks like.

CorporatePiggy on February 3, 2012 at 12:48 AM

There are not thousands of dead terrorists and dead genocidal leadership that would disagree with me

RasThavas on February 3, 2012 at 12:25 AM.

You don’t know what you are talking about:

http://ginacobb.typepad.com/gina_cobb/2009/01/war-on-terror-under-president-bush-the-most-successful-military-campaign-in-history.html

In Afghanistan:
The US has suffered 604 fatalities in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda has suffered 12,000 fatalities. 28,700 militant Islamists have been captured.

In Iraq:
The US has suffered 4227 fatalities in Iraqi Freedom. More than 19,429 Al-Qaeda and Islamic militants have been killed. Over 18,900 insurgents have been captured.

Genocidal leadership like Saddam….Bin Laden..and many other jihadist leaders have been destroyed also.

Even 5 years ago Gates admitted there were no more than 100 AlQ remaining in Afghanistan and there were never even that many in Iraq.
AlQ in Iraq was never the same as AlQ.

It took less than 20 to achieve the worst attack on American soil in our History.

The pathetic attempt to try and separate al-qaeda and the Taliban has been debunked for years.
They both carry the same goals and work together.
Gates no more knows how many al-qaeda are in Afghanistan than he knows who the true enemy is since he also states: “the Taliban are not our enemy”…

Al-qaeda works with many different jihadist groups and were actively working with al-ansur in Iraq…coordinating attacks and doing everything they could to start a civil war with the Shia there.
Probably the most ruthless terrorist known and responsible for more deaths then Osama …Zarqawi was sent to spearhead al-qaeda’s presence there …..killing tens of thousands of people before finally be taken out.
Al-qaeda is supported and spread out far and wide…..
To try and diminish the seriousness of their threat with “there just not that many of them” shows an incredible lack of knowledge on this subject.

There were however around a million Christians in Iraq, but not any more. And what about the terrorists in the Afghan Army, on our payroll, who murdered around 60 of our and NATO’s troops. They have been the biggest terrorist there during the last few years. OBL must be laughing his ass off in hell.

…OBL is laughing his a$$ off because he knew we would not stay in the fight.
There are Christans being killed all over areas that are dominated by Muslims…..
….your concern for their safety is rather ironic though since you wanted an all out nuclear war which would have ensured that hundreds of thousands more would have been killed.

Baxter Greene on February 3, 2012 at 12:50 AM

Who the hell said anything about all out nuclear war? Or killing every single Muslim? Are we not all speaking English here?

RasThavas on February 3, 2012 at 12:29 AM

You called for nukes to be dropped in Afghanistan(which would have triggered a nuclear response from Pakistan)….and on Mecca/Medina.

Are you under some kind of illusion that this would not trigger all out war with every muslim nation…including them being backed by Russia and China who would launch a nuclear response after such a catastrophic over reach and attack on their economic allies by us.

I don’t know what fairy tale land you live in….but other nuclear armed countries that are allies to these muslim countries would never allow such an all out nuclear attack without a nuclear response themselves.

Maybe you were asleep when China stated just months ago that an attack on Pakistan would be considered an attack on them.This would also be their stance concerning there other economic partners.

Baxter Greene on February 3, 2012 at 12:58 AM

In Afghanistan:
The US has suffered 604 fatalities in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda has suffered 12,000 fatalities. 28,700 militant Islamists have been captured.

In Iraq:
The US has suffered 4227 fatalities in Iraqi Freedom. More than 19,429 Al-Qaeda and Islamic militants have been killed. Over 18,900 insurgents have been captured.

Why don’t you break the Al Qaeda out without the balloning up by adding “taliban” and “militant”?

Are you under some kind of illusion that this would not trigger all out war with every muslim nation…including them being backed by Russia and China who would launch a nuclear response after such a catastrophic over reach and attack on their economic allies by us.

Bull. The muslims don’t have the capacity for all out war, and the Russians and Chinese are not going to go to war let alone commit suicide for the likes of them.

RasThavas on February 3, 2012 at 1:15 AM

Since when has Afghanistan been an economic ally of China or Russia anyway. 97% of Afghanistan’s GDP is aid from us and NATO. Or Saudi Arabia? The Russians and Chinese don’t care much for muslims anyway, but then who does? Mostly not even other Muslims.

Don’t be so afraid of Muslims.

RasThavas on February 3, 2012 at 1:18 AM

Oh what a disgrace if such a despised and base race, which worships a misogynist pedophile demon, should be allowed to massacre a people which has the faith of omnipotent God! With what reproaches will the Lord overwhelm us if we do not promptly and fully aid those who are being brutalized and murdered because they profess the Jewish or Christian religion! Let those who have been accustomed unjustly to wage private warfare against other of the faithful now all unite and go against the Mohammedans in a Holy Crusade and end with total victory this war against monstrous evil which should have been begun and completed long ago.

Let those who for too long a time have been dhimma, become knights. Let those who have been fighting in service of Mohammedans against their own Christian brothers and sisters and their own Jewish cousins now fight in a proper way against all the followers of the misogynist pedophile demon. Let those who have been wearing themselves out in both body and soul in vain attempt to win the dark hearts of the Mohammedans now labor for glorious honor against them. Behold! On the one side will be the completely destroyed Mohammedans, on the other the fierce and righteous protectors of humanity. On the one side will be the destroyed enemies of the Lord, on the other, his friends who will shout at all the Mohammednas as they destroy them, “It is the will of God! It is the will of God!”

RasThavas on February 3, 2012 at 1:24 AM

Ummm yeah, you have a good night there sparky.

Sultanofsham on February 3, 2012 at 1:34 AM

Why don’t you break the Al Qaeda out without the balloning up by adding “taliban” and “militant”?

RasThavas on February 3, 2012 at 1:15 AM

First of all…you stated that ”

There are not thousands of dead terrorists and dead genocidal leadership that would disagree with me

RasThavas on February 3, 2012 at 12:25 AM.

They are all terrorist genius……

…and why should I break al-qaeda out…they are pretty much one and the same:


The Front
The Taliban-Al Qaeda merger.

Peter Bergen
October 19, 2009 | 12:00 am
http://www.tnr.com/print/article/world/the-front

The effort to secure Afghanistan is not a matter of vital U.S. interest. But those who make this case could not be more mistaken. Afghanistan and the areas of Pakistan that border it have always been the epicenter of the war on jihadist terrorism–and, at least for the foreseeable future, they will continue to be. Though it may be tempting to think otherwise, we cannot defeat Al Qaeda without securing Afghanistan.
 
A young Osama bin Laden first arrived in the region around 1980 to wage jihad against the Soviets; he would spend most of his adult life in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Al Qaeda leaders have, since the ’80s, developed deep relationships with key Taliban commanders based along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, such as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and members of the Haqqani family. Bin Laden’s deputy, Ayman Al Zawahiri, has even married into a local tribe.

But, in recent years, Taliban leaders have drawn especially close to Al Qaeda. (There are basically two branches of the Taliban–Pakistani and Afghan–but both are currently headquartered in Pakistan, and they are quite a bit more interwoven than is commonly thought.) Today, at the leadership level, the Taliban and Al Qaeda function more or less as a single entity. The signs of this are everywhere. For instance, IED attacks in Afghanistan have increased dramatically since 2004. What happened? As a Taliban member told Sami Yousafzai and Ron Moreau of Newsweek, “The Arabs taught us how to make an IED by mixing nitrate fertilizer and diesel fuel and how to pack plastic explosives and to connect them to detonators and remote-control devices like mobile phones. We learned how to do this blindfolded so we could safely plant IEDs in the dark.” Another explained that “Arab and Iraqi mujahedin began visiting us, transferring the latest IED technology and suicide-bomber tactics they had learned in the Iraqi resistance.”

Small numbers of Al Qaeda instructors embedded with much larger Taliban units have functioned something like U.S. Special Forces do–as trainers and force multipliers.

..and they are growing stronger than the “100 or so” number you seem so content with:

Al Qaeda Makes Afghan Comeback

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704355304576215762431072584.html

Over the past six to eight months, al Qaeda has begun setting up training camps, hideouts and operations bases in the remote mountains along Afghanistan’s northeastern border with Pakistan, some U.S., Afghan and Taliban officials say. The stepped-up infiltration followed a U.S. pullback from large swatches of the region starting 18 months ago. The areas were deemed strategically irrelevant and left to Afghanistan’s uneven security forces, and in some parts, abandoned entirely.
American commanders have argued that the U.S. military presence in the remote valleys was the main reason why locals joined the Taliban. Once American soldiers left, they predicted, the Taliban would go, too. Instead, the Taliban have stayed put, a senior U.S. military officer said, and “al Qaeda is coming back.”

..they are one and the same.
And their main goal to to destroy the West.
Running away is not going to stop them.

Are you under some kind of illusion that this would not trigger all out war with every muslim nation…including them being backed by Russia and China who would launch a nuclear response after such a catastrophic over reach and attack on their economic allies by us.

Bull. The muslims don’t have the capacity for all out war, and the Russians and Chinese are not going to go to war let alone commit suicide for the likes of them.

RasThavas on February 3, 2012 at 1:15 AM

You are incredibly naive if you think that Russia and China would allow nuclear weapons to be launched in their back yards…against their allies that they share major economic interest without serious retaliation.

Russia and China have not only armed many muslim nations…..they have helped them on their nuclear programs…where do you think Iraq and Iran received most of their help….the Russians had to be threatened by Bush to get the he!! out of the way in Iraq…..and they have been leaders to the Iran program.

Baxter Greene on February 3, 2012 at 1:34 AM

This is why you fight war ruthlessly. It is better for a war to be short and brutally violent, than slow and passive.

Bush’s mistake was not that he went into Afghanistan, but:

(1) He tried to fight a civilized war against a uncivilized enemy.

(2) He never waged war against the true cause of the war which is traditional Islam.

(3) He tried to nation build Afghanistan.

Obama of course has continued this idiotic policy. After 9/11 we should have just waged a war of retribution in Afghanistan and Pakistan, killed who we wanted dead, obliterated those that stood in our way and declared victory. The idea that you are going to nation build a Muslim country is pure folly and will take at least 50 to 100 years, if ever, to achieve using the methods that Bush’s generals thought were so wonderful, Gen. David Petraeus being a good example. Softy-Softy…don’t work and no one wants to keep troops in Afghanistan for the next half century. It is not politically viable.

William Eaton on February 3, 2012 at 1:36 AM

Since when has Afghanistan been an economic ally of China or Russia anyway. 97% of Afghanistan’s GDP is aid from us and NATO. Or Saudi Arabia? The Russians and Chinese don’t care much for muslims anyway, but then who does? Mostly not even other Muslims.

Don’t be so afraid of Muslims.

RasThavas on February 3, 2012 at 1:18 AM

….China has great interest in the wealth of trade with these countries and has increased it’s influence in the region for decades.

Why you single out Afghanistan after you have already started a war with all of the muslim nations with your “tactical nuclear strikes” on Mecca/Medina makes no sense.

Your solution involved starting a war with all of the Middle East and parts of Asia that would surely be protected with the help of China and Russia.

China Quietly Extends Footprints Into Central Asia

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/03/world/asia/03china.html?pagewanted=all

“Trade is growing between China and all these countries around it,” said Tu’er Hong, whose truck was one of about 50 from China transferring goods to Tajik drivers one day recently at the current post.

While China is seizing the spotlight in East and Southeast Asia with its widening economic footprint and muscular diplomacy, it is also quietly making its presence felt on its western flank, once primarily Russia’s domain.

Chinese officials see Central Asia as a critical frontier for their nation’s energy security, trade expansion, ethnic stability and military defense.
State enterprises have reached deep into the region with energy pipelines, railroads and highways, while the government has recently opened Confucius Institutes to teach Mandarin in capitals across Central Asia.

Central Asia, says Gen. Liu Yazhou of the People’s Liberation Army, is “the thickest piece of cake given to the modern Chinese by the heavens.”

…..The Chinese have already made their intentions clear over just a raid in Pakistan……


China ‘asks USA to respect Pak sovereignty’

19 May 2011
Press Trust of India

ISLAMABAD, 19 MAY: In the wake of the US raid in Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden, China has “warned in unequivocal terms that any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China”, a media report claimed today.

…but somehow you think that nuclear strikes on their doorsteps and against their allies that would seriously damage their economy would not trigger a nuclear response from them……
…………unbelievably naive.

Baxter Greene on February 3, 2012 at 1:51 AM

If it were any other military mission you would have a point, but all but 1 member of Congress approved this mission back in 2001.

He still has a point, no matter how many voted for it. None of those who voted were voting for a war with no end. The war has gone on too long, we’re apparently more concerned with the enemies safety than our own, and we have no intention of winning it. Time to get out.

And if we leave now, that country will just revert back to what it was before. Including who they allowed as “guests”.

Del Dolemonte

And it will be the same if we leave in 5 years instead….or 10 years…or 20 years. We gave them a shot…they aren’t interested. Get out now, and let them know we’ll use a more permanent solution if we have to come back.

xblade on February 3, 2012 at 1:52 AM

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