I am not currently free to discuss this subject, but I would like to hear what the lot of you think about it. Here are some others' thoughts.

STRATFOR: the process of pulling back accelerates and particularly as allied forces increasingly hunker down on larger and more secure outposts, their already limited situational awareness will decline even further, which opens up its own vulnerabilities.

One of these will be the impact on not just situational awareness on the ground but intelligence collection and particularly exploitable relationships with local political factions. As the withdrawal becomes more and more undeniable and ISAF pulls back from key areas, the human relationships that underlie intelligence sharing will be affected and reduced. This is particularly the case in places where the Taliban are strongest, as villagers there return to a strategy of hedging their bets out of necessity and focus on the more enduring power structure, which in many areas will clearly be the Taliban.

(Obama's Afghanistan Plan and the Realities of Withdrawal is republished with permission of STRATFOR.)
The Washington Post:
PRESIDENT OBAMA failed to offer a convincing military or strategic rationale for the troop withdrawals from Afghanistan that he announced Wednesday night. In several ways, they are at odds with the strategy adopted by NATO, which aims to turn over the war to the Afghan army by the end of 2014. For that plan to succeed, military commanders believe that U.S. and allied forces must hold the areas in southern Afghanistan that have been cleared of the Taliban through this summer’s fighting season as well as that of 2012. They also must sweep eastern provinces that have not yet been reached by the counterinsurgency campaign.

By withdrawing 5,000 U.S. troops this summer and another 5,000 by the end of the year, Mr. Obama will make those tasks harder. By setting September 2012 as a deadline for withdrawing all of the 33,000 reinforcements he ordered in late 2009, the president risks undermining not only the war on the ground but also the effort to draw elements of the Taliban into a political settlement; the militants may prefer to wait out a retreating enemy. It also may be harder to gain cooperation from Pakistan, whose willingness to break with the Taliban is linked to its perception of U.S. determination to remain engaged in the region.
Richard Cohen, at least, is very happy:
The American Century just ended. This was the phrase coined by Henry Luce, which so aptly described America as the modern-day colossus, more powerful than any nation had ever been. Wednesday night, President Obama said that power had reached its limit. He was bringing 10,000 troops home from Afghanistan. The war was not finished, but we are.

“America, it is time to focus on nation building at home,” the president said.

There it was, the theme of the speech. We had done what we could in Afghanistan, and there was, of course, more to do. But the purse was empty and the nation was tired -- this is me, not Obama, talking, but he said much the same thing. “We must be as pragmatic as we are passionate; as strategic as we are resolute,” Obama said. In other words, we are going to pick our fights more carefully, and when we do, we can use the new weaponry of drones and the units of SEALs and such. No need for massive armies anymore. From the president’s mouth to God’s ear, I would add.

No comments: