So you thought we were withdrawing from Afghanistan, eh? The President has announced it enough: once in 2011 , once in 2012 , and once in 2013 . So if someone says something often enough, does that make it necessarily true? Well, of course not, and certainly not in this case, because NBC News has the scoop :
"While many Americans have been led to believe the war in Afghanistan will soon be over, a draft of a key U.S.-Afghan security deal obtained by NBC News shows the United States is prepared to maintain military outposts in Afghanistan for many years to come, and pay to support hundreds of thousands of Afghan security forces.
"The wide-ranging document, still unsigned by the United States and Afghanistan, has the potential to commit thousands of American troops to Afghanistan and spend billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars.
"The document outlines what appears to be the start of a new, open-ended military commitment in Afghanistan in the name of training and continuing to fight al-Qaeda. The war in Afghanistan doesn't seem to be ending, but renewed under new, scaled-down U.S.-Afghan terms."
We're leaving, says Obama -- except we're not. The text of the 25-page "Security and Defense Cooperation Agreement Between the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan" draft agreement reads:
"The Parties acknowledge that continued US military operations to defeat al-Qaeda and its affiliates may be appropriate and agree to continue their close cooperation and coordination toward that end."
There is to be no end to this war. We always knew this: what invader has ever finally subjugated the Afghans? Not the British, not the Russians, not even Alexander. Did we really think we were going to be the exception?
There were several sticking points in hammering out this agreement: Afghan President Hamid Karzai originally demanded a clause forbidding US troops from entering and searching Afghan homes. That was clearly not going to fly with Washington, and so after much back and forth the clause was dropped and instead President Obama wrote a letter to Karzai promising American soldiers won't enter Afghan homes "except under extraordinary circumstances involving urgent risk to life and limb of US nationals."