After three months of deliberation, President Barack Obama presented his latest escalation in the war in Afghanistan as a recipe for success and a timetable for withdrawing from the nation, beginning in July 2011.
Since then officials have been downplaying the July 2011 date as essentially meaningless and insisting that the US doesn’t have any firm plans for exiting from Afghanistan. Now, it seems they’re not too clear on the success part either.
General David Petraeus cautioned today that the Afghan surge won’t be successful in nearly the same timetable as Iraq, and joined a chorus of military officials predicting that violence will be even worse next year.
Which seems to be one of the first sensible things the administration has said on the war in awhile. The Iraq “success” was that the US troop escalation coincided with a wholly unrelated drop in violence (which studies suggest was a function of years of sectarian cleansing).
The Afghan surge is instead the second massive escalation in less than a year, and as the previous escalation led to record violence it makes perfect sense to predict that another escalation will yield the same results. Less clear is why the administration approved of this strategy in the first place if it isn’t deluded into thinking it will yield victory in the ever worsening conflict.
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