**Posted by Phineas
It was as inevitable as the sun rising in the east: on the heals of President Obama announcing
our acquiescence to defeat a timetable for withdrawal from Afghanistan, the Brave Sir Robins of the NATO governments are rushing for the doors:
This morning NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has told reporters today that one-third of NATO forces will withdraw from Afghanistan by next year. In Paris President Nicholas Sarkozy said France would begin a “progressive withdrawal” from Afghanistan.
Everyone is rushing for the exits. The President was warned this could happen if it looked like America was about to cut and run.
In fact over the last few weeks during his worldwide farewell tour, Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned that the worse thing to happen is for NATO to “rush to the exits” in Afghanistan. This, he said, would jeopardize military progress.
Gates is right. Obama committed only a portion of the “surge” forces his commanders recommended, and so they were only able to secure the south of Afghanistan, instead of simultaneous operations to secure the south and northeast. The plan had been for follow-up operations to secure the northeast along the Pakistan border this next year, but, well, that was sacrificed to the gods of reelection. With last night’s news, there will likely be no offensive in the northeast and, as withdrawals progress, holding on to the gains made will be harder and harder. And it will be all the more difficult with our allies vanishing over the horizon, encouraged to do so by Obama’s speech.
“Just words,” eh?
All al Qaeda and the Taliban have to do now is wait us out, and Afghanistan will likely fall into their hands in just a few years. I never thought I’d see another “helicopter on the embassy roof in Saigon” moment, now I have a hard time imagining it not happening.
I only hope there will be visas for all the women who want to escape the coming nightmare.
PS: I’ll have further thoughts on Afghanistan later this weekend, after I’ve had some time to read and get past my disgust.
(Crossposted at Public Secrets)