When being presented to the American public, President Obama’s newly signed deal with the Afghan government is sold as securing the end of the Afghan War at the end of 2014, and dictating relations between the two nations afterward.
That this is the spin and not the reality as readily apparent, even if the exact text of the document hasn’t been released to the public yet. The deal is pleasing hawks, however, with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – SC) cheering at as proof that the US isn’t going to “abandon” Afghanistan.
The reality about the text isn’t really hidden, it’s just ignored. From the first, Afghan President Hamid Karzai has confirmed that the deal is meant to regulate how US troops will be governed in fighting the war from the end of 2014 through 2024. Even this isn’t guaranteed to be the end, and a new pact could be signed before 2024 to extend the occupation beyond that.
“America has been lulled to sleep by the mind-boggling elongation of a war 7,000 miles away,” noted Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D – OH), “the plain fact is we are not exiting Afghanistan, despite the appearances which the White House is trying to create.”
With polls all showing overwhelming opposition among US voters to continuing the war, the extension could have been hugely controversial. Yet so far, it hasn’t even registered to the public at large as an extension, and with both major party candidates equally hawkish on Afghanistan it is unlikely there is going to be a major push by either to be frank with them.