No exit yet from Afghanistan

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President Barack Obama last night announced a plan to reduce the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan from more than 100,000 to between 60,000 and 70,000.  But the United States will still be making a stronger war effort than under President George W. Bush.  When left office, U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan was under 40,000.

What Obama is doing is not a reversal of policy.  His position in 2008, like Senator Kerry’s in 2004, was that, by invading Iraq, the United States was fighting the wrong war, and that the U.S. government should be shifting its forces from Iraq to Afghanistan.  Obama is doing what he said was going to do—unfortunately.

Historically Americans have had little patience with long drawn-out wars, and public opinion polls indicate growing impatience with this one.  Interestingly, some of the Republican Presidential candidates – Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Jon Huntsman – have reservations about continuing to fight in Afghanistan.

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Click on For Obama, Afghanistan troop-level decision has risks, rewards for analysis by The Hill of the political implications of President Obama’s decision.

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