Afghanistan Yo-Yo Policies

The policies governing our involvement in Afghanistan has always been a bit of a yo-yo….first promises then the walk back……

Even Obama was a yo-yo on this…in 2008 he promised to end the war in Afghanistan and bring our troops home…..he lied……

In addition to inheriting an economy in crisis when he took office, President Obama inherited two wars, one in Iraq and the other in Afghanistan. An early opponent of President George W. Bush’s decision to invade Iraq in 2003, Obama promised during the 2008 election campaign to withdraw American troops as soon as possible. In February 2009, he announced a plan to bring troop levels down from 160,000 to 50,000 by August 2010, including the removal of all combat forces. The remaining troops, he added, would be withdrawn by the end of 2011. For several years, the withdrawal proceeded smoothly, in part because Obama was able to build on the gains achieved by Bush’s “surge” of 20,000 additional troops in 2007, which had helped the government of Iraq to restore a measure of stability to the country. By 2012, only 150 American troops were in Iraq, a number that remained level for about three years.

https://millercenter.org/president/obama/foreign-affairs

Mayor Pete has promised to bring the troops home in his first year in office….

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, a veteran of the Afghanistan War, on Tuesday vowed to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan during his first year in office if elected president.

“We will withdraw. We have to,” Buttigieg said during Tuesday night’s Democratic debate.

Pressed by CNN moderator Jake Tapper about whether he would do so in his first year, Buttigieg replied, “Yes.”

“Look, around the world, we will do whatever it takes to keep America safe, but I thought I was one of the last troops leaving Afghanistan when I thought I was turning out the lights years ago,” Buttigieg said.

https://thehill.com/policy/defense/455464-buttigieg-pledges-afghanistan-withdrawal-in-first-year-in-office

Now where have we all heard this pile of manure before?

To answer that….several of the 2020 candidates have promised the same…..https://reason.com/2019/07/30/several-dem-candidates-promise-to-bring-troops-home-from-our-forever-wars-in-the-middle-east/

Even Trump and his Boyz get in on this deception……on 29 July 2019 Trump said…..”Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed on Monday that the administration intends to reduce the number of US ground troops in Afghanistan some time before the 2020 presidential election. Timing and size are not yet settled.”

Then on 31 July 2019 the story changes…..

Fresh off of reporting that President Trump had called for a substantial drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan before the 2020 election, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo now says that the reporters “got it wrong” and that there is no deadline for troop cuts.

Pompeo had said just the day prior that Trump was “unambiguous” about the drawdown, and that the policy was “end the endless wars, draw down, reduce.” It’s not clear how that could’ve been misinterpreted, though Pompeo now insists that’s not the policy.

Rather, Pompeo merely says that troop cuts are his personal “hope,” that he’d like to see US troops out before the next election, glibly adding to reporters on his flight that he’d also hope to see US troops out of Afghanistan before the plane lands.

Where that leaves actually US policy is unclear. There are ongoing talks with the Taliban which are said to be aiming for a deal that would end nearly two decades of US occupation of Afghanistan, and even though that deal seems quite close, the administration continues to downplay the possibility of actually following through in any real timetable.

(antiwar.com)

So any props I gave Trump for his announcement I rescind…..this is so typical of foreign policy or what passes for foreign policy….the ups and downs of the Yo-Yo.

As I was finishing up this post word came out that a deal maybe close between the Taleban and all others….

The US is nearing an agreement under which it would remove thousands of troops from Afghanistan, and the Taliban would denounce al-Qaeda and agree to a cease-fire. That would take US troop levels from about 14,000 to fewer than 9,000, roughly the number there when President Trump took office. The preliminary deal has come after months of talks involving the Taliban and Zalmay Khalilzad, a former US ambassador to Kabul who was born in Afghanistan. Trump picked him last year to work on an agreement. “I would say that they are 80 or 90 percent of the way there,” one official told the Washington Post. “But there is still a long way to go on that last 10 or 20 percent.” A Taliban spokesman said Thursday that it looks promising but added, “We hope there won’t be any obstacle, but it also depends on the seriousness of the Americans.”

The Afghan government has already selected a team to negotiate directly with the Taliban, and officials said they welcome that provision. But some worry what the Taliban will do when US troops leave. “The Americans call this a peace negotiation, but the Taliban definitely perceive it as a withdrawal negotiation,” one official told the Post. A State Department official took issue with that, saying the US goal is peace. More than 2,400 American troops have been killed in the war, per Fox News, which has also cost the US more than $900 billion

I want to be optimistic but that feeling has left the room when dealing with Trump “news” announcements.

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2 thoughts on “Afghanistan Yo-Yo Policies

  1. As you say, it has all been said before. There is too much money involved for them to ever want to totally pull out of Afghanistan.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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