Is Obama Being ‘Ambiguous’ On Afghan Drawdown Date?

Analysts See 'Deliberate Confusion' in Timetable

In December President Obama announced his latest massive escalation of the war in Afghanistan, selling it to Americans with the promise that the withdrawal from the nation would begin in July 2011.

Since then US officials have been downplaying the event and even President Obama himself has publicly disavowed the date. But as people continue to take shots at the date as “irresponsible” is President Obama being “ambiguous” about his plans or are people just not listening?

Some analysts see this as a “policy of deliberate confusion,” aimed at keeping his options open when July rolls around. But other than a handful of officials raising the prospect of a trivial drawdown at the time, no one seems to be taking it seriously.

No one, that is, except the media, which continues to trot out the July 2011 drawdown date as though President Obama hadn’t already rejected it publicly and continues to ask officials about the date as though it still holds any meaning.

Indeed if one were to take only the word of President Obama and his top staff there is no ambiguity, the July 2011 date has already been shrugged off. The real debate is going on in the rest of NATO, and it is between a speculative 2014 drawdown date and those advocating continuing the war ad infinitum, or until something vaguely resembling “victory” can be claimed.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of