Troop Deal Delay Renews Administration Debate Over Afghanistan Role

Some Starting to Seriously Consider 'Zero Option'

The Obama Administration had already had its internal debate on the open-ended occupation of Afghanistan a year ago, but the delays in the signing of the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA) have renewed administration lip-service to the “zero option” of leaving after the end of the year.

It’s always been lip-service, with military officials saying it was never seriously considered, but as the time drags on the people who were most skeptical about the occupation are said to be renewing the debate, and asking if the “zero option” isn’t something worth serious consideration.

Its being fought against by the usual hawks, and now they’re pushing Iraq’s recent security problems as a defense for permanent occupation. In the end, not occupying Afghanistan probably still isn’t being given a real shot.

The problem is that while these reports suggest a new debate is taking place, exactly how serious it is remains a total mystery, since the administration keeps using claims of the “zero option” to try to browbeat President Karzai into giving in on the BSA.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of