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June 21, 2010

Comments

i wouldn't get too excited about any deadlines that Obama talks about.

cleek, this link you speak of, it does not seem to be working...

hmm...

try this one.

Not sure this is analogous.

Upon taking office, Obama ratified the timeline in the previously agreed-to SOFA, signed by US and Iraqi government officials.

As of now, Obama has stuck to the SOFA timeline.

Not saying he will always remain so faithful to that agreement, but thus far he has.

it's analogous enough for me.

what he sayeth he does not doeth.

Yeah, I suppose. But one was campaign fluff and the other was stuff said while he was Presidentin'.

I would have preferred a quicker timeline from Iraq, but honoring the SOFA is not the worst, and does follow protocol in terms of recognizing past agreements and abiding by them.

From the speech at cleek's link, apparently it was one year ago that the Iraqi forces were able to "stand up."

Somehow I missed that.

Eric: When does SOFA have us out (other than the seemingly neverending "residual" force)?

All out by 12/31/11.

The SOFA does not even account for the residue.

That would have to be negotiated separately.

By the end of this month, our "combat" forces must be out of Iraqi cities.

I suppose my reaction is that it is the unusual circumstance where everyone is saying the same thing (Afghanistan policy is bad and failing, and will fail) for whichever of the myriad of reasons that they pick. COIN was a waste, the timetable ensured we couldn't make military gains, Afghanistan has no reliable government, Pakistan isn't really going to help, etc.

The blame is Obama's, no matter which reason you choose. He has had two bites at the new strategy apple and did nothing right except cover his political flank with the deadline.

It is time to use the timeline to start reducing active operations, diddle around the capitol and Bagram until we can bring everyone home and declare victory domestically because he met a deadline. And quietly get everyone out of Iraq while we're doing that.

The blame is Obama's, no matter which reason you choose. He has had two bites at the new strategy apple and did nothing right except cover his political flank with the deadline.

Well, if he sticks to the timeline, then he did something right with the timeline and it wasn't "covering his flank" as much as picking a decent policy - even if it only came after a wrong-headed escalation.

Reality doesn't matter, it's just more of the groundwork for the "We were winning until those liberals stabbed us in the back!" bullshit narrative, lifted directly from Vietnam. AGAIN.

Agreed Nate. That's definitely a big part of it, as well as the COIN-danistas defensive maneuver to try to preserve their precious theories from the withering fire of reality.

The Right goes directly to 1918 these days bypassing Vietnam. At least the editorial cartoons that began to appear shortly after the Iraq invasion and never fully went away copied German motives with the donkey replacing the Sozi as the one with the dagger.
It's of course easier now that GIs wear "Fritz" helmets copied from the German Stahlhelm design.

it's just more of the groundwork for the "We were winning until those liberals stabbed us in the back!" bullshit narrative,

America cannot fail, it can only be failed.

subtitled: what a fool believes.

Don't go gettin all doobie on me man...

There are increasing grumblings about the timetable set by Obama, which would begin troop withdrawals in July 2011. "It's like fighting with both arms tied behind your back," a former senior military official told me.

And now this Rolling Stone article shows up. All very interesting (and by "interesting" I mean "we're so fncked.").

There is definitely going to be big time military push back.

The question is, will Obama blink, and how will the establishment media treat his resolve or lack thereof, depending.

There is definitely going to be big time military push back.

I still don't understand this mindset. Is it all about "winning" or, at least, "not losing"? I mean, WTF, can't someone at the Pentagon say "this is a dead loser, why not cut our losses and get out"?

Ugh,

Too much reputation on the line. Too much history of infighting, etc. I'll touch on it all in a post today.

Ugh: How often does anyone in any organization argue for changes that would reduce their power, budget and influence?

Of course the military's never going to argue that we're done, or that we don't need all these fancy toys to blow things up, or any of the sort. At least not while it's all run by career generals who've come up to appreciate their positions.

Nate: How often does anyone in any organization argue for changes that would reduce their power, budget and influence?

That's a fair point, but nobody is going to get killed because I demand that my department at my firm get to keep the spacious cushy corner offices when they're clearly not needed and costing the firm much money.

I never said power plays in bureaucracies had any sense of proportion to them. And the military is an extremely large bureaucracy.

"...what exactly was holding up progress during the intervening 8+ years? Procrastination?"

Well, yes. I agree with the larger point you are making here, but procrastination is exactly what happened. At least I don't think that Bush and the conservatives who supported him actually decided not to win the war in Afghanistan; they just never got around to trying. In 2002, the Taliban was offering almost no resistance. We could have done as many reconstruction projects as we were willing to pay for. In 2003, the Taliban began to regroup, but the Bush and his conservative supporters were more interested in Iraq than in addressing the problem.

By now, as you point out, "For a considerable swath of the Afghan resistance... the continued presence of a large, foreign occupying power is the very reason they are fighting in the first place." One of the challenges we faced when we invaded Afghanistan was to try to get things done before that happened. Obviously we missed that deadline. I don't know whether a different outcome was possible, but if the Bush Administration tried to meet the deadline, they certainly kept quiet about it.

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