“We Are Not Talking Exit Strategy”

The dissembling has already begun. HuffPo reports this morning on Clinton and Gates talking with David Gregory on Meet The Press this morning:

Clinton, Gates Walk Back On Obama’s “Locked In” Afghan Withdrawal

Don’t be confused by President Obama’s speech on Afghanistan. Despite the president’s word on Tuesday that a surge of US and international troops in Afghanistan would “allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011,” that date is not a “drop dead deadline”–at least according to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates recorded an interview this week with NBC’s David Gregory on Meet The Press. Set to air Sunday morning, both Obama advisers will walk back on Obama’s withdrawal language. While the president did say during his speech that conditions on the ground would be considered before a transition, Clinton and Gates seem to go a step further:

HILLARY CLINTON: We’re not talking about an exit strategy or a drop dead deadline. What we’re talking about is an assessment that in January 2011, we can begin a transition. A transition to hand off — responsibility to the Afghan forces.

ROBERT GATES: We’re not talking about an abrupt withdrawal. We’re talking about something that will take place over a period of time. Our commanders think that these additional forces, and one of the reasons for the President’s decision to try and accelerate their deployment is– is the view that this extended surge has the opportunity to make significant gains in terms of reversing the momentum of the Taliban, denying them control of Afghan territory, and degrading their capabilities.



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    • Edger on December 6, 2009 at 15:49

    How long did it take to get that many out of Iraq, Mr. Obama?

    Oh, wait, let’s not forget the digging in part…

    In Afghanistan, The Pentagon Digs In

       Forget for a moment the “debates” in Washington over Afghan War policy and, if you just focus on the construction activity and the flow of money into Afghanistan, what you see is a war that, from the point of view of the Pentagon, isn’t going to end any time soon. In fact, the U.S. military’s building boom in that country suggests that, in the ninth year of the Afghan War, the Pentagon has plans for a far longer-term, if not near-permanent, garrisoning of the country, no matter what course Washington may decide upon. Alternatively, it suggests that the Pentagon is willing to waste taxpayer money (which might have shored up sagging infrastructure in the U.S. and created a plethora of jobs) on what will sooner or later be abandoned runways, landing zones and forward operating bases.

       The building and fortifying of bases in Afghanistan isn’t the only sign that the U.S. military is digging in for an even longer haul. Another key indicator can be found in a Pentagon contract awarded in late September to SOS International, Ltd., a privately owned “operations support company” that provides everything from “cultural advisory services” to “intelligence and counterintelligence analysis and training” to numerous federal agencies. That contract, primarily for linguistic services in support of military operations in Afghanistan, has an estimated completion date of September 2014.

  1. All the fuss about Afghanistan sure knocked HCR out of the media cycle…wonder if that was by design? HMMMMMM Kinda makes you wonder about the President’s timing for his escalation announcement. HMMMMMMMM

  2. /snark

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