President Obama is putting the finishing touches on a plan to reduce U.S. forces in Afghanistan by more than 30,000, reports Leslie H. Gelb at The Daily Beast. But don't expect those soldiers to come home anytime soon. The administration's "secret" plan would let the military guide the withdrawal slowly, perhaps over as many as 18 months. Obama is expected to unveil the plan in July, Gelb says, in an attempt to satisfy people demanding a quick exit for our 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, as well as those insisting the U.S. must not leave until the Taliban no longer pose a threat. Is Obama's approach a good way to wrap up the war? (Watch an AP report about Obama's dilemma.)
We should get out faster: "The war isn't making us safer and it's not worth the costs," say Robert Greenwald and Derrick Crowe at The Huffington Post. So now that Osama bin Laden is dead, President Obama should jump at the chance to put an exit plan in motion. The American people can no longer "make sense of keeping troops fighting and dying in Afghanistan," so it's time to let the Afghan government start standing on its own.
"A groundswell for significant Afghanistan withdrawal"
Victory should be our exit plan: The transfer of security duties to Afghanistan will start in July, says Jeffrey Dressler at The Weekly Standard, but "there is still much that remains to be done." Despite recent progress, the U.S. can't hope for long-term stability without convincing Pakistan "to break with its insurgent proxies." And the only way to do that "is by defeating them on the battlefield in Afghanistan." It's not time to come home yet.
"How to deal with Pakistan"
The withdrawal should depend on conditions on the ground: There is no definitive Afghanistan pullout plan — yet — and there shouldn't be, says The Washington Post in an editorial. "Next month is not a logical or appropriate moment for the United States to begin a troop withdrawal — whether small, medium or large." Exiting too fast would mean giving back the progress Obama made with his surge of 30,000 soldiers in 2009. That might be good domestic politics, but it's no way to win a war.
"The Afghan withdrawal"
The reality is that the U.S. won't leave: Afghan President Hamid Karzai is spouting a lot of "hostile rhetoric" about the U.S. and its allies, says Simon Tisdall in Britain's Guardian, but behind the scenes, his government and Obama's are negotiating "a long-term 'strategic partnership' agreement" that could even include "quasi-permanent U.S. military bases." That means that in Afghanistan, as in Iraq, "behind all the talk of withdrawals lies this dirty little secret: The Yanks aren't going home."
"Will the U.S. really withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan?"