The real withdrawal date in Afghanistan: 2014

The secret date for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan has been hiding in plain sight for months. It’s certainly not the much ballyhooed July 2011 date, which will only begin withdrawals. It’s not even July 2012 to smooth President Obama’s reelection campaign. It’s the end of 2014. The plan, NATO diplomats say, is for NATO leaders to formally announce this date at their Lisbon summit on November 19-20. Their thinking is to do this soon to reassure worried, friendly Afghans, to signal resolution to the Taliban, and to use their allied unity for political cushioning at home. NATO emissaries are still bargaining over exactly how many troops will remain after departure day and for what purposes. Details aside, the devastating truth is that U.S. forces will be fighting in Afghanistan for at least four more years…

Most assuredly, the Taliban won’t be celebrating the 2014 date because it virtually guarantees four more years of being chewed up by formidable American firepower. They can escape this only by going away and trying to hide. They are right to worry. As for Democrats, they will be livid at the added cost in lives and treasure for a cause that makes little strategic sense to them. And they, too, are right.