Good news: U.S. agrees to provide military and financial support to Afghanistan through at least 2024

posted at 8:41 am on April 23, 2012 by Morgen Richmond

During the 2008 campaign, Barack Obama falsely accused John McCain of calling for a ’100 year war’ in Iraq. With President Obama now on the verge of committing the U.S. to nearly a quarter century of military engagement of one form or another in Afghanistan, will we soon see the reemergence of throngs of protesters marching in the streets against ‘endless war’? Don’t bet on it. Via the Sydney Morning Herald:

The US and Afghanistan have reached a deal on a long-delayed strategic partnership agreement that assures the Afghan people their key American ally will not abandon the country militarily or financially for years after 2014, the deadline for most foreign forces to withdraw.

The agreement is key to the US exit strategy in Afghanistan because it provides guidelines for any American forces who remain after the withdrawal deadline and for financial help to the impoverished country and its security forces. For the Afghan government, it is a way to show its citizens that its key allies are not just walking away.

Neither Afghan nor US officials would comment on the details of the agreement, but it is believed to pledge a partnership for 10 years beyond the 2014 withdrawal deadline.

All sarcasm aside, this is at least tentatively good news. It remains to be seen what sort of financial commitment was promised (shouldn’t they be paying us?) to ensure that at least U.S. Special Forces continue to receive the access and local support necessary to continue the fight against Al Qaeda. Especially in the areas bordering Pakistan. But this will continue to be the central front in the war for the foreseeable future, and a complete pull-out would likely prove disastrous in the long run. (And the same may be true of Iraq.)

With the latest polls showing more and more Americans in favor of the withdrawal of all U.S. troops as soon as possible, it will be interesting to see how this issue factors into the election in November. I’d bet that most Americans are in favor of continuing Special Forces operations against Al Qaeda, and the Taliban leadership. But I am skeptical that those in favor of winding down the large-scale military presence are looking to wait until 2014 to do so, especially if the situation worsens in the coming months.

Romney is understandably taking some heat for not staking out a clear position on this, but really the smart thing for him to do is to wait and see how the situation evolves in the coming months. Ultimately there probably won’t end up being a lot of daylight between Romney and Obama on this issue. But for now President Obama is the Commander-in-Chief and the political consequences of these decisions are his to own.


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With the latest polls showing more and more Americans in favor of the withdrawal of all U.S. troops as soon as possible, it will be interesting to see how this issue factors into the election in November.

I’d be willing to be this isn’t even an issue in the election. The media certainly isn’t going to talk about it, and with Romney not laying out a plan, I’m not sure he’ll bring it up too often.

When the voters hit the booths, I’m pretty sure most of them won’t know that Obama just committed us to 25 years of war.

Washington Nearsider on April 23, 2012 at 8:44 AM

When there is clear cause for us to get out…we stay?

Down is up. Up is down.

We’ve all crossed through the looking glass.

coldwarrior on April 23, 2012 at 8:45 AM

We are not going to ‘fix’ Stan and turn it into a viable democracy operating under the rule of law. We should maintain the capacity to walk around at will and whack the BGs as appropriate and that is all.

The rest of it is an utter waste of time and it’s not just civilians who say that.

CorporatePiggy on April 23, 2012 at 8:46 AM

Sure.

England had their Thirty Year war and a lot of other nations have had decades long military actions so the US needs to have one too.

/

Logus on April 23, 2012 at 8:48 AM

When are we going to pull out our troops from Germany, Italy and Japan!?!?! Endless war!?!?!

LoganSix on April 23, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Have to keep that military-industrial-complex fed…

PatriotRider on April 23, 2012 at 8:52 AM

Terrific. We are going to BORROW money to GIVE it to Afghanistan (or otherwise spend it in Afghanistan).

Washington needs to get a grip and face the facts:

We do not have any money.

We are out of money.

The money they want to spend in Afghanistan, we will have to borrow or print (and inflate).

These people are insane.

HeatSeeker2011 on April 23, 2012 at 8:53 AM

If this is true, I don’t know why Hamid Karzai wants to leave office in 2013? I mean if we aren’t going anywhere? Remember it’s the U.S. that provide Karzai with security.

Holding the vote in 2013 also could mean Karzai would step down earlier.

Karzai doesn’t want to be caught in the middle of a power vacuum after we leave in 2014 the end of his last term in office. That doesn’t sound like we are going to be a presence in Afghanistan for much longer.

Dr Evil on April 23, 2012 at 8:56 AM

Code Pink must be going crazy…when is their march on the White House planned?

right2bright on April 23, 2012 at 8:57 AM

Nuke then from the orbit. That will show the world that we care. In fact, that will powerfully imprint the idea that we care into a few generations of camel jockey terrorist wannabes. Nothing delivers the message like one’s humble poppy plantation being crisped at +50,000F.

Archivarix on April 23, 2012 at 9:01 AM

Code Pink must be going crazy…when is their march on the White House planned?

right2bright on April 23, 2012 at 8:57 AM

When a Republican takes office.
I would say around Jan 21, 2013

Electrongod on April 23, 2012 at 9:01 AM

If you are going to clean up graft and corruption in this country…where you going to go to get paid?

KOOLAID2 on April 23, 2012 at 9:02 AM

The Roman Empire had more sense than we do.

Pakistan keep OBL after killing 3,000 or so Americans.

We just discuss cutting aid.

We are cutting all of our defenses except those tasty treats we leave marching around open to IEDs. With stress so high we are gonna have atrocities that our own media will broadcast.

Then the haters in Iran want nukes. Probably so they could put IEDs everywhere with immunity.

So we cost ourselves more money with some dance with them..and I hang with a native Afghan 3X a week.

NUKE THEM ALL.

IlikedAUH2O on April 23, 2012 at 9:02 AM

Maybe take a page from the Roman Empire playbook, bribe one group to wipe out another, and then bribe yet another group to wipe them out.

Bishop on April 23, 2012 at 9:11 AM

If Obama is re-elected, he will have the defense budget down to $0 long before this, so no worries.

gh on April 23, 2012 at 9:11 AM

Good news: U.S. agrees to provide military and financial support to Afghanistan through at least 2024

By who’s definition?

BigGator5 on April 23, 2012 at 9:14 AM

Why didn’t the idiot and totally corrupt American Politicians just give the Taliban a $Trillion of the American people’s wealth in 2003 and not waste the blood and guts of all of those brave soldiers over the past 10 going onto 22 years. Afghanistan is the Earth’s toilet and the American Politicians are in that stink up to their eye balls.

aposematic on April 23, 2012 at 9:14 AM

Ultimately there probably won’t end up being a lot of daylight between Romney and Obama on this issue.

Yet another example of how Romney is like 0bama. Who would have thunk it? /s

DannoJyd on April 23, 2012 at 9:22 AM

If Obama stays in office we’ll have to pull out as a matter of course there and everywhere else because our economy will have collapsed to the point that the US cannot afford to keep any military abroad.

The instant our nation truly reaches a Grecian economic moment, whoever is in office will be forced to retract our military forces overseas regardless of what the plans and policies are.

Of course, if Ron Paul were President, he wouldn’t wait for the economy to tank to do that. Either way, our ability to be the superpower would be at least severely hampered, if not ended.

Logus on April 23, 2012 at 9:23 AM

Ultimately there probably won’t end up being a lot of daylight between Romney and Obama on this issue. But for now President Obama is the Commander-in-Chief and the political consequences of these decisions are his to own.

Shouldn’t this be a problem? The two sides talk a big game but the Democrats and the Republicans basically have a very similar foreign policy. They yell at each other when politically expedient.

Perhaps its time that conservatives return to a CONSERVATIVE foreign policy instead of continuing to buy into the socialist meme that we need to be the world’s police force or that we need to be the world’s fire escape.

I know it’s not popular… but our current system of foreign interventionism is not conservative. In fact it’s downright socialist.

therambler on April 23, 2012 at 9:25 AM

Never trust a dog eater. My grandfather used to tell me that.

jan3 on April 23, 2012 at 9:30 AM

Shouldn’t this be a problem? The two sides talk a big game but the Democrats and the Republicans basically have a very similar foreign policy. They yell at each other when politically expedient.

therambler on April 23, 2012 at 9:25 AM

Not just foreign policy either. Fiscally as well. The GOP talks about cutting spending very well. Some days they even convince themselves they want less spending. But when Obama asks for $2T in new debt, they give it to him with a smile.

Problem is – as evidenced by most HotGassers – American politics is all about teams. My team vs. your team. Who cares if both teams have the end goal in mind. As long as the guy from my teams wins, I’m happy.

angryed on April 23, 2012 at 9:31 AM

When are we going to pull out our troops from Germany, Italy and Japan!?!?! Endless war!?!?!

LoganSix on April 23, 2012 at 8:51 AM

Don’t forget Korea either. We’re just operating on a Cease Fire there….for almost 60 years!

TugboatPhil on April 23, 2012 at 9:31 AM

Has the American public ever been clearly told what’s in it for them? Is the USA the policeman and Uncle Santa Claus to the world because our president & congress enjoy all the back pats & praise for shoving out billions of other people’s money? Looks like it.

Chessplayer on April 23, 2012 at 9:33 AM

No. No. NO! Have they no decency? Since when is a campaign promise made not a campaign promise to be kept? This President has decided that day is night and night is day, and thinks that he can convince anyone who is clear-thinking about that factoid.

Mr. Obama has forfeited his claim to supporting anything other than a small, privileged, elitist cabel. He should halt the use of the word “we”, because he no longer represents “us”.

I am constantly left to marvel how someone could rise to such a prominent position in our Government with no discernable insight or talent.

The goal here is to get this irresponsible man and his ilk out of office.

</olbermann>

unclesmrgol on April 23, 2012 at 9:49 AM

As someone who’s actually been there (twice), I have to say that this is the smart move. If we walk away now, Afghanistan will turn into a bleeding ulcer that will only cause regional instability, and revert back to the most barbaric of governments.
And just as we have had to deal with other countries problems since Citizen Genet, we will be dragged back in again. Might as well stay and finish the job.

LincolntheHun on April 23, 2012 at 9:50 AM

Thanks, George.

And I’m not being sarcastic.

Cleombrotus on April 23, 2012 at 9:51 AM

I am constantly left to marvel how someone could rise to such a prominent position in our Government with no discernable insight or talent.

unclesmrgol on April 23, 2012 at 9:49 AM

“such a prominent poition in our goernment” sounds like he’s an undersecretary of some obscure agency or something.

The fact of the matter is, this unqualified political novice now holds the keys to what is arguably the most powerful position of political influence in the history of the world. That situation should frighten the average American. The fact that it does not is what concerns me.

Cleombrotus on April 23, 2012 at 9:56 AM

unclesmrgol on April 23, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Have you read Drudge’s headline?

Cleombrotus on April 23, 2012 at 10:00 AM

All I want is for American blood and money to stop going to a corrupt regime in Afghanistan. It has been ten years since we removed the Taliban. The good Afghans need to step to the plate and win their civil war. We can not do it for them.

SC.Charlie on April 23, 2012 at 10:02 AM

*briefly puts on ‘Air America’ hat……..

Anyone else wonder how many fire teams provide protection and escort of poppy harvest convoys vs. how many fire teams attack the ‘other convoys’?

I’m all FOR eradicating terror and terrorists – ’tis a shame no one in the LAMEstream media is willing to step up and display the U.S.’s blatant hypocrisy in the region…………

Katfish on April 23, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Archivarix on April 23, 2012 at 9:01 AM

That solution would have saved us a great deal of money had it been implemented 09/12/2001.

DrMagnolias on April 23, 2012 at 10:06 AM

I thought we were counting the war spending savings over the next ten years in the Obama budget?

BKeyser on April 23, 2012 at 10:07 AM

“Buffett Rule” would collect appx. $50B over 10 years. Strategic support for Afghanistan = ??/14 yrs. Would be interesting to find out.

Tax the Rich to pay for Afghanistan – “Fairness” – BHO is indeed the smartest man in the room

koaiko on April 23, 2012 at 10:43 AM

LincolntheHun on April 23, 2012 at 9:50 AM

How will we know when it is finished? There aren’t any specific, articulate goals as far as I’ve been able to tell, only fluid terms such as “stability.” What does stability look like in the Middle East–is it even possible?

DrMagnolias on April 23, 2012 at 10:51 AM

The South Vietnamese government can vouch for the credibility of our promises of financial aid. Oh, wait….

Odysseus on April 23, 2012 at 11:19 AM

DrMagnolias on April 23, 2012 at 10:51 AM

There’s a thing called “Afghan normal,” essentially it how the Afghans do govt biz etc. Very ugly, corrupt, and brutal by our standards it works for them. Let’s at least get one more transition of power (election of the next Pres after Karzai in 2014), so people can gain faith in their own system. A few more years of training the ANA won’t hurt, as well as building more infrastructure.
The idea here is NOT to set up a perfectly functioning mini-US, but to get them functional enough that they can continue to exist as a country. Then it’s up to them.
No matter what we do we pick a side. If we stay we are on the side of Democracy if we leave we signal to the warlords, and terrorists that it’s open season again.

LincolntheHun on April 23, 2012 at 11:31 AM

Great news, its not like we could’ve used that money to pay off the debt or anything.

steve123 on April 23, 2012 at 11:44 AM

I’m not optimistic about the possibility that the government in Kabul will remain even nominally “friendly” to the U.S. Do we have an option to cancel the support when the Taliban formally take control of the Afghan government again?

J.S.K. on April 23, 2012 at 11:52 AM

The good Afghans …
SC.Charlie on April 23, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Define, please.

Cleombrotus on April 23, 2012 at 12:38 PM

Afghanistan is a sink hole! It was for the British in the 19th century, it was for the Russians in the 20th century and it is our turn to blow money and lives in a place that has not been useful to anyone in over a thousand years. Islam and democracy don’t go well together…

Folks who want us to stay there need a reality check and a historical lesson on national building projects in the Islamic world.

William Eaton on April 23, 2012 at 12:44 PM

None of this matters. Afghanistan is not and never will be an ally to the United States, so when the corrupt Karzai government fails it will all be over.

Heck, promise them financial and military aid for a thousand years. It won’t mean a thing because the U.S. government is going bankrupt anyway.

AttaBoyLuther on April 23, 2012 at 1:16 PM

All sarcasm aside, this is at least tentatively good news.

In what way is this good news?

Dante on April 23, 2012 at 2:45 PM

When the voters hit the booths, I’m pretty sure most of them won’t know that Obama just committed us to 25 years of war.

Washington Nearsider on April 23, 2012 at 8:44 AM

remember during the bush years certain news channels had the ticker running below updating how long the war was and how many solders were killed. Now with a democrate in the white house you would never know we are still fighting a war.

Greed on April 23, 2012 at 5:02 PM

LincolntheHun on April 23, 2012 at 11:31 AM

I am not optimistic. Didn’t “Afghan normal” give us the Taliban? Islam is incompatible with liberty, so it’s hard to imagine them doing anything resembling “functioning.” I appreciate your efforts over there–my husband was there, too–I have to tell you, I would rather see every Afghani dead than to see a single hair on an American troop’s head harmed.

DrMagnolias on April 23, 2012 at 5:14 PM

Just another example of why Ron Paul’s foreign policy is soooo crazy!! I mean come on, 2024? We should be there until at least 2030 at a minimum! That crazy old Ron Paul would have us out of there just as fast as our boats could load all the soldiers up and sail home…what a nut job! I mean never mind the fact that he gets more contributions from active duty military than all other candidates combined or the fact that his top three campaign donors are the US Army, US Navy and US Air Force…dont pay attention to any of that stuff. Just listen to the guys on talk radio, they know whats best…not the military. Now Romneys foreign policy on the other hand….that is what we need. What is his foreign policy again? Oh yeah, more of the same.

dom89031 on April 23, 2012 at 6:47 PM

HAHAAAA! Not laughing because its funny putting lives on the line… I am laughing because once again Obama got rolled… or this was intentional… whatever it was.

Where is code pink? Where is the 24/7 dead troop count on TV? Why dont we just either make this place a glass parking lot or just leave and let them kill themselves? Where are all the liberals screaming about how much money we could save if we just stop all the wars?

O yeah… thats right a liberal is in the WH…. just wait till Mittens gets elected… all this stuff will be back tow fold.

watertown on April 23, 2012 at 8:20 PM

I will vote for the candidate that promises to take the USA out of that hellhole (sh*thole to be more accurate)… I can’t stand the idea of American blood being shed for those people any more…NOT ONE MORE DROP!

CCRWM on April 23, 2012 at 8:33 PM