Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Precipitous Withdrawal Will Hurt Obama

According to the most recent Gallup Poll, Americans broadly support President Obama’s plan to begin withdrawing U.S. forces in Afghanistan this year, with additional troops scheduled to leave by the end of next summer and the remainder by 2014. Nearly three-quarters, 72 percent, are in favor, while 23 percent are opposed.

Two thoughts–the first of which is, these numbers aren’t terribly surprising. The Afghan war has been long (10 years and counting), hard and frustrating. The government with which we’re allied is corrupt. And so the nation has become war-weary. If the commander-in-chief isn’t willing to make the case for war, the (relatively) new strategy he’s put in place, or highlighting the progress being made – if the president is, in Bob Woodward’s apt phrase, “out of Afghanistan psychologically” — public support will collapse. And so it has.

Second, the president is making a mistake in assuming pulling troops out of Afghanistan will help him politically. The reason is this: if the war gets worse, if our progress in Afghanistan is undone, Obama will be judged on that. The course of the war will matter more to Americans than whether we have 105,000 troops versus 70,000 in Afghanistan in September 2012.

Whether he likes it or not, whether he thinks it’s fair or not, the president will be held accountable for the Afghanistan war and his policies. And his precipitous withdrawal, against the strong warnings of his military commanders, will come back to politically hurt him. If it does, then a measure of rough justice will have been served. But that won’t make up for the considerable damage Obama’s decision will do to our national interest.

Not by a long shot.



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.