Well, who knew?
Most of us, that’s who. And that’s why, as soon as it was uttered, President Obama came under criticism.
I’m talking about his decision to announce the a troop withdrawal, in a speech he made at West Point some months ago, even while he was announcing a surge of troops (which, btw, is supposed to finally be complete this month).
Marine General James Conway talked about that announcement yesterday at a Pentagon press conference:
"In some ways we think right now it’s probably giving our enemy sustenance. We think that he may be saying to himself, in fact we’ve intercepted communications that say, ‘Hey, we only have to hold out for so long,’" Gen Conway told a Pentagon news conference.
"I honestly think it will be a few years before conditions on the ground are such that turnover will be possible for us," he said of Marines in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar.
I’m sure the general will receive the obligatory counseling session and make some sort of retraction – after all, the only area in government where there is actual accountability seems to be the military.
But, as with most of what this administration has done which runs counter to common sense, this was entirely predictable. When you announce something like a drawdown, your enemy adapts to the new announcement. It also turns on the light at the end of the tunnel.
Ironic, isn’t it, that of all the promised “hope and change” by this administration, the group benefiting the most is the Taliban.
As for staying on longer, Conway isn’t the first to say that will probably be the case. Petraeus has also been saying the same thing. Whether or not it is true – i.e. the administration bows to the reality on the ground and extends the timeline – it is obvious, for the reasons stated, that the generals want the enemy to think it is true.
Hell of a thing when you have to go behind your CiC cleaning up the mess he’s made, isn’t it?