Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Barack Obama and Pentagon split on Afghanistan pullout

The pullout raises some questions. If the original purpose of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM was to hunt down Osam bin Laden, then the mission was completed once he was killed. Why continue the military presence? Unlike Iraq which had its government destroyed by the US invasion, Afghanistan has a government in place. Continuing our military presence in Afghanistan invites escalation as Taliban forces or Al Qaeda plot revenge. Pakistan is an unpredictable environment and raises additional potential of escalation.

The other question is, are these troops needed elsewhere? The obvious is Libya but with Syria and Turkey having skirmishes, could the Obama administration be concerned about hostilities in the Middle East? Iran remains committed to their pursuit of nuclear weapons, however with now Germany, France, China and Russia all condemning the initiative the United States may feel it can deal with Iran on a more unilateral basis. Therefore, the troop withdrawal from Afghanistan becomes even more crucial.

The bump in poll numbers President Obama received as a result of the killing of Osama bin Laden seems to have faded. The elections are still a long way off and pulling troops out of Afghanistan, regardless of their eventual use, could be a way for the President to still make good on one of his campaign promises.

The Guardian

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