“America has no designs beyond an end to al-Qaida safe havens,” said Obama in Bagram. “Our goal is not to build a country in America’s image, or to eradicate every vestige of the Taliban.” But if those are our goals, had we not achieved them all by early 2002? What, then, were we fighting for – these 10 years?
“My fellow Americans, we have traveled through more than a decade under the dark cloud of war,” said Barack Obama from Bagram Air Base.
“Here in the predawn darkness, we can see the light of a new day on the horizon. The Iraq War is over. The number of troops in harm’s way has been cut in half, and more will be coming home. … The time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.”
Interesting comment, that last.
If “the time of war” is at an end, does that rule out U.S. military action in Syria or war on Iran?
Setting aside the 14,000-mile round trip to Afghanistan to do an end zone dance on the anniversary of Seal Team Six’s dispatch of Osama bin Laden, Obama seems to have boxed in his Republican rivals.
His assurance that our wars are ending and our troops are coming home reflects the national will. And his partnership agreement with President Hamid Karzai and pledge that a U.S. force will remain to train the Afghan army and prevent al-Qaida’s return inoculates him against the charge that he is cutting and running.
Yet the New York Times was disappointed.
Obama had not said how the United States is to train the Afghan army to defeat the Taliban by 2014, nor how we can get Karzai to deal with the pervasive corruption and incompetence of his government.