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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 6/21/11

Afghanistan Withdrawal: Obama Lied

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The United States has about 200,000 military personnel in Afghanistan, half of them troops, half of them contractors.

President Barack Obama put over two-thirds of that number there, first with a big escalation in 2009 that everyone refuses to pay the slightest attention to, then with a second escalation in 2010.

Obama made promises he is now breaking.

"After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home " [O]ur troop commitment in Afghanistan cannot be open-ended -- because the nation that I'm most interested in building is our own." -- President Barack Obama, 1 December 2009

"I'm confident that the withdrawal will be significant. People will say this is a real process of transition; this is not just a token gesture." -- President Barack Obama, 15 April 2011

"In July of 2011, you're going to see a whole lot of people moving out, bet on it." -- Vice President Joe Biden, quoted in Jonathan Alter's The Promise

The military publicly instructed Obama to break this commitment in May of this year through the Wall Street Journal.  The commander in chief was instructed to withdraw 5,000 people in July and another 5,000 over the following five months.  These would be out of the total of 200,000, meaning a withdrawal in July of 2.5 percent of the total forces, followed by a withdrawal in August of 0.5 percent, in September 0.5 percent, and so on.

The New York Times in early June did its bit for the cause of mass-murder by spinning 5,000 as a BIG number.  In fact the New York Times claimed the number just might be as high as 3,000 or even 5,000.

Just as Obama has obeyed the military on escalations and withdrawals, and obeyed the CIA on refusals to prosecute torture, Obama appears to be doing exactly what he is told once again.

According to Tuesday's Los Angeles Times, Obama will announce on Wednesday a plan to withdraw 10,000 personnel by the end of this year.  There isn't even any mention of how many of those will come home in July.  So, assuming a steady glacial progress over six months, we're looking at 0.83 percent withdrawn in July, 0.83 percent withdrawn in August, and so on.

This, the Los Angeles Times assures us, is more than the 3,000 to 4,000 that supposedly the Pentagon wanted to withdraw over the entire next six months.  In fact:

"Taking out 10,000 troops over the next six months could create problems for the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, especially if other countries, which now contribute about 40,000 troops, pull out more personnel than expected, several officials said."

Problems? For the US mission in Afghanistan?  You're kidding!  Wouldn't THAT be a novelty. 

Oh, I know! Let's blame the problems on the withdrawal of 0.83% of the forces, as imposed on Washington by the stupid leftwing liberal extremists.

Or, if that doesn't work, and somebody points out that two-thirds of our country has wanted this war ENDED for a long time now, we could blame something even better.  We could blame democracy. 

Of course, we won't be able to use that word.  Let's ask the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and the Los Angeles Times to get to work on this right away!

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David Swanson is the author of "When the World Outlawed War," "War Is A Lie" and "Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union." He blogs at and and works for the online (more...)
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