During the confirmation hearings for General Petraeus assuming command of our forces in Afghanistan, Petraeus skillfully communicated that the deadline for starting the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan in July, 2011 is not something any military commander recommended.
In his testimony today, Petraeus started chipping away on the deadline that President Obama announced to appease his leftist constituency.
Petraeus is in a strong position to change the dynamics of the war in Afghanistan. No other general would have the credibility to say what Petraeus is saying without getting fired by our thin-skinned president. Eliminating talk of a deadline for withdrawal is key to success in the counter-insurgency war in Afghanistan.
No deadline for withdrawal does not mean endless US casualty. Without a deadline, Afghans will have more confidence that supporting the fight against the Taliban will not get them killed because of a premature US withdrawal. This leads to more success in fighting the Taliban which will reduce the number of US casualties.
We have had the American military for more than sixty years in Germany and Japan and for over fifty years in South Korea. There isn’t much objection to this because American troops are not killed in these countries. We may never get to the peaceful conditions of Germany, Japan and South Korea in Afghanistan, but a drastic decrease in casualties will make our presence there as long as needed less of an issue to the American people.