With Osama bin Laden now swimming with the fishes, the U.S. has but one sensible path: to draw down U.S. forces to 15,000-25,000 by the end of 2013, try cutting a deal with the Taliban, and refocus American power in the region on containment, deterrence and diplomacy.
There might be better words to say this, but Mission Accomplished—as much as necessary and possible. The killing of bin Laden highlights that his al Qaeda operation in Afghanistan is in threads. By all intelligence and military accounts, they are down to fewer than 200 faithful. Extending a major land war indefinitely to kill every last one of them would be hideously wasteful. Thus the original mission is effectively accomplished.
The U.S. beef is not with the Taliban. It was over their hosting al Qaeda, and now there is little to host…
There is a deeper reason still for extricating ourselves from Afghanistan: America itself. The United States simply cannot afford to squander more time and resources for a nonvital Afghanistan before the core of U.S. power and freedom—the American economy—begins an irreversible decline. The ultimate danger is not that we will lose Afghanistan but that we will lose America.