Pentagon officials are making it clear that the 2011 timeline is dead and whatever “transition” happens between now and 2014 will not mean any lessening of the intensity of the war in Afghanistan.
Supreme Allied Commander Admiral James Stavridis insisted that the US was committed to see the mission continue with the same intensity for years to come, and officials suggested that the aspirational 2014 date was not being taken seriously.
The comments are largely in keeping with previous ones made by Obama Administration officials, who since this month’s Lisbon Summit have stopped even giving lip service to the 2011 transition date and are now playing up the end of 2014, while insisting that it doesn’t mean anything close to the end of the war.
When announcing the most recent escalation in December, President Obama spun it as the beginning of the end, with the July 2011 date as a firm transition date. While some officials disavowed it hours later, the pretense was kept up by some officials as recently as last month, though it is clear that the Pentagon never had any intention of reducing the size of the occupation force in Afghanistan.