We’re Not Leaving Afghanistan

Politicians technically use the same language as us, but many of their words have very different meanings. In last week’s vice presidential debates, for example, Joe Biden said, “We are leaving [Afghanistan]. We are leaving in 2014, period. Period.” Micah Zenko at the Council on Foreign Relations reminds us how the words “leaving” or “withdrawal” mean something very different in politics:

The full withdrawal of all U.S. troops out of Afghanistan is not the current position of the Obama administration. On October 3, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the appointment of Ambassador James Warlick, deputy special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, to lead the negotiations for an agreement that would keep U.S. troops in Afghanistan for an undefined period of time. Reportedly, “Western officials have mentioned the residual American force as ranging from a few thousand to some 20,000.” In addition, some U.S. policymakers assume that Afghanistan will serve as hub for special operations raids and drone strikes into Pakistan.

Actually, a similar deceit is being peddled about Iraq. The Obama campaign constantly claims that they ended the Iraq war and brought all the troops home. In fact, they tried desperately to keep thousands of troops there, and simply got kicked out – only then deciding to pick up this narrative of ending the occupation.

But even that aside, the claim that “we left” is not true. As Zenko writes, “The United States currently has 225 troops, 530 security assistance team members, and over 4,000 contractors to equip and train Iraqi security forces.” And it’s worth remembering these Iraqi security forces we’re training have essentially been used as a secret police force for the increasingly authoritarian Maliki to attack, detain, and torture his political opponents and crack down harshly on public dissent.

In political campaigns, politicians can talk all they want about a full US withdrawal of Afghanistan. But technocrats have long admitted publicly that there will be no withdrawal. In a talk at the Council on Foreign Relations almost a year ago, under secretary of defense for policy at the Department of Defense Michèle Flournoy, explained that “2014 is not a withdrawal date—it’s an inflection point.” Afghans at that time “are still going to need support from the international community,” she said, and the U.S. has “been negotiating a strategic partnership agreement with the Afghan government that would lay out an enduring strategic partnership far into the future.”

Enduring partnership. Great. Of course a major problem is that so long as any foreign occupation exists in Afghanistan, and so long as any Kabul government is propped up from abroad, the insurgency will remain alive and well. The insurgency has persisted for 11 years despite the efforts of the world’s most advanced military. And all signs tell me they will continue to fight to oust the occupier even after a “withdrawal” (which we now know really only means a smaller occupation).

30 thoughts on “We’re Not Leaving Afghanistan”

  1. More of the same old, same old. Only without the media.

    Once in a while some 'expose' will tell the sad tale that things aren't
    any better, just more expensive.

  2. Actually, a similar deceit is being peddled about Iraq. The Obama campaign constantly claims that they ended the Iraq war and brought all the troops home. In fact, they tried desperately to keep thousands of troops there, and simply got kicked out – only then deciding to pick up this narrative of ending the occupation.houston wedding limo

  3. This really is an extremely amazing powerful resource that you're offering and you simply provide it away cost-free!! I that can match discovering websites of which be aware of the particular property value supplying you with an excellent learning resource for zero cost. We truly dearly loved examining these pages. Appreciate it!
    Ralph lauren pas cher

  4. Maent i gyd wedi agweddau cyfateb a meddwl o ran rhedeg busnes ac rwy'n credu bod y ffactorau sy'n eu gwneud yn wahanol i'r rhai y mae eu busnes bob amser yn peri pryder. Rwyf wedi cynnwys amrywiaeth o awgrymiadau yn seiliedig ar fy arsylwadau ohonynt.
    Fishing California

  5. Afghanistan is one of the many abandoned by many people because there are a lot of conflicts that are not completed because of a lot of things. This is one event that happens like.Sean Nevett

  6. Wars in Afghanistan had been going on long enough and it will only make people become more miserable. I think the war will only make the situation worse because the collapse of the country's economy.

  7. This website has very good content. Please let me know if you're looking for a article author for your weblog. You have some really great posts and I feel I would be a good asset.

  8. I am writing a research paper and collecting information on this topic. Your post is one of the better that I have read. Thank you for putting this information into one location.

  9. You are every reason, every hope, and every dream I've ever had, and no matter what happens to us in the future, everyday we are together is the greatest day of my life. I will always be yours.

  10. Afghans Love Being Occupied..Generally I do not learn article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very forced me to take a look at and do so! Your writing style has been amazed me. Thanks, quite nice post.

  11. You will be missed.The one place where as a venue and fan I could search by what ever perimeters I chose .Good Luck with your future endeavors.

  12. Your opinion is actually outstanding; the problem is one thing that does not lots of people are speaking intelligently concerning. Actually, a similar deceit is being peddled about Iraq. The Obama campaign constantly claims that they ended the Iraq war and brought all the troops home.

Comments are closed.