Though he already publicly disavowed the date as having anything to do with ending the Afghan War months ago, President Obama is expected to expend further effort in downplaying the date and the “transitions” that may happen following it.
This might seem unnecessary, particularly as a number of his top officials have been dismissing the date starting just hours after he announced it, but with a number of Republican Congressmen looking to attack the president over the date in an effort to be even more hawkish on Afghanistan than the man who has virtually tripled US troops in the nation since taking office, the president doesn’t want to be caught looking insufficiently warlike.
Instead, officials say, the president will be making more of the 2014 timeline that a number of other NATO leaders have embraced, and the Pentagon will avoid announcing any specific transition dates in the near term. Officials say that Centcom has not submitted any withdrawal orders for the July deadline.
The July 2011 date was originally sold to Americans as the beginning of the end of the Afghan War, an effort to keep them from complaining to loudly about the massive December 2009 escalation. It worked, mostly, keeping opposition to the war relatively stable for several months, but as record death tolls set in for 2010, it has become increasingly clear that not only did the escalation not achieve any sort of progress, but that the administration has no real exit strategy except for hoping that things will get better by some random, but preferably far off, date.
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