The PJ Tatler

Graveyard of Empires?

Oliver North nails it in today’s column about President Obama’s “ambivalence” towards the Afghanistan War:

Ever since he decided to provide fewer “surge troops” than requested by his hand-picked battlefield commander and announced an arbitrary “timetable for withdrawal” during a speech in December 2009, the president’s rhetoric has been devoid of words about “winning,” “defeating the Taliban” or even “peace and security for the Afghan people.” Gone, too, is any attempt at comity with Karzai. And while Obama repeatedly reminds us that “we got Osama bin Laden,” his efforts to repair relations with neighboring Pakistan have ground to a halt.

This week, in the aftermath of multiple reversals on the ground, the president reiterated that he still intends to withdraw 23,000 of the 91,000 U.S. troops currently deployed in Afghanistan before our presidential election — and before the “fighting season” comes to an end. In Kabul, Panetta renewed the administration’s commitment to “bringing home” all of the remaining 68,000 U.S. troops by 2014.

Taliban leaders immediately announced that they were suspending long-awaited “peace and reconciliation talks” in Qatar because of the “shaky, erratic and vague standpoint of the Americans.” What they didn’t say is what everyone already knows: The O-Team is getting out of Afghanistan no matter what’s happening on the battlefield. All the Taliban have to do is wait until we’re gone.

Obama’s surge never made sense to me — because it came with a pre-declared end-date. All the Taliban needed to do was keep their heads mostly down until the expiration date. I suppose the chaos, now at the end, was to be expected as well.

A calamitous end to a ambivalent surge.