Advancing a Free Society

President Obama changes direction on Afghanistan, again

Thursday, June 23, 2011

President Obama was sharply critical of the Bush administration for under-resourcing the war in Afghanistan; with his rapid drawdown of forces and funding announced last night, President Obama now deserves the same criticism.

President Obama has ordered a reduction of 10,000 troops by the end of this year and another 23,000 by the end of 2012, and they will "continue coming home at a steady pace" through 2014, when "the Afghan people will be responsible for their own security." He argued success on the battlefields of Afghanistan and elsewhere allow us to fight in a new way -- a new way from 18 months ago, which was the last time he changed direction -- and to focus on nation building at home instead of abroad.

Make no mistake: the president's choices went against the advice of both the war's military leadership and Secretary Gates' recommendations. Understanding the deference the American public has for our military's judgment on the wars, the White House is aggressively trying to spin the president's policy as supporting our military commanders and as a gradual reduction in the force. Neither of those are true.

Continue reading Kori Schake at Foreign Policy’s blog Shadow Government