Here’s a New York Times headline double-whammy for the anti-war crowd: On Afghanistan, “U.S. Military to Press for Slower Afghan Drawdown,” and on Iraq, “U.S. and Iraqi Interests May Work Against Pullout.”
It turns out there is more to ending wars than railing against George W. Bush and making speeches about international norms. Barack Obama has taken to citing U.S. accomplishments in Iraq only as justification for a withdrawal of troops. (Notice how things have inverted. The anti-war Democrat now claims mission accomplished, while the pro-Iraq War conservatives describe the job as unfinished.) Yet the president notes the challenges in Afghanistan also as justification for a fixed withdrawal date. For this commander in chief, both achievement and deficiency are grounds for laying down weapons. If the global order’s chief protector—which looks credibly weaker today than it has at any point in the past thirty years—decides that military victory is an inconvenient burden, the consequences will prove catastrophic in ways we can’t yet imagine.