Gen. Petraeus Cautions Against ‘Rapid Pullout’ in Afghanistan

Hopes to Demonstrate Progress by Next July

In a pair of interviews released today, General David Petraeus seemed to be setting Americans up for years of additional war in Afghanistan, cautioning against a “rapid pullout” while raising the possibility that he would oppose even a trivial July 2011 drawdown.

Rather Gen. Petraeus maintains that he is “not bound” by the July 2011 date and reserves the right to tell the president at that time, which will be just shy of the 10 year anniversary of the invasion, is “too soon.”

Though it is difficult to imagine how anything the US does at this point in what is arguable the longest war in American history would constitute a “rapid pullout,” Gen. Petraeus seems to be backing off all promises of “gains” by the end of the year, while the same time maintaining that the progress is being made.

But instead of being able to demonstrate this progress at a time when all of the metrics are showing a war getting worse and worse, the general seems to be trying to delay backing up these claims in the future, insisting only that he hopes to demonstrate the progress before July of next year. Even this seems to be at best prospective, and will likely get shrugged off in the future as the situation warrants.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.