Given that "ending wars" is Barack Obama's self-boasted MO and that his definition of same has always been "total American surrender and withdrawal". A year ago he was talking about leaving a thousand troops in place to "protect our embassy" in Kabul while the Taliban (and ISIS) ruled the rest of the country (and, inevitably, slaughtered those thousand U.S. troops and sacked our embassy in Kabul, but I digress). Now he's talking about more than quintupling that number to....what? Do the same thing with two or three more Afghan cities? Is this to give the enemy more target practice? Never mind this effectively extending the "war in Afghanistan," what is it intended to accomplish other than to add five thousand Americans to the casualty lists?:
Barack Obama plans to keep 5,500 U.S. troops across Afghanistan into 2017, senior administration officials told NBC News — well more than the small security force he promised last year.
The United States currently has about 9,800 troops in Afghanistan — sharply down from 100,000 that were in the country as recently as 2010. Obama said last year that he wanted to withdraw nearly all of them by the end of 2016, leaving only about 1,000 to provide security for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
The president is expected to make a formal announcement sometime Thursday morning that he plans to maintain 5,500 troops at bases in Bagram, Jalalabad and Kandahar into 2017 and the term of his successor, the U.S. officials said Wednesday night.
I don't get it. Hawks would say we should still have a full hundred thousand troops in Afghanistan to crush the Taliban once and for all. "Doves" would do as O did in Iraq and said he was going to do in Afghanistan. So what does this not-very-"middle" course indicate? That he's barely learned his lesson from the cauldron of war and slaughter and rising global war his pell-mell retreat has created in the heart of the Middle East? That he still has an unsated appetite for more shed American blood? That he has more Bowe Bergdahls in the Hindu Kush, their missions of treason not yet completed?
One thing's certain: We won't learn anything from his "formal annoucement," which will require our eyes and ears to go through the usual delousing process.