December 15th, 2010
12:04 PM ET

Obama's Afghan review: As the war drags on, just a formality?

The game has changed in Afghanistan since President Obama last year laid out his plan to tame the Taliban and start withdrawing troops. While U.S. military officials boast of significant gains in the militants' southern strongholds in recent months thanks in large part to the President's troop surge, they caution that it won't be possible to fully gauge the impact until fighting picks up again in the spring. And even in the best-case scenario, it will still take at least four more years to complete a full handover to Afghan security forces. So as the Obama Administration this week undertakes the review of Afghan strategy promised 12 months ago, the White House — in deference to the military's view that more time is needed — has signaled that no major changes are under consideration. This week's assessment of the state of the war in Afghanistan has become little more than a formality. "[The review] is definitely not as significant as it was, which is good for the Department of Defense," says a senior U.S. officer serving in Afghanistan.

The writing has been on the wall for months. When the President told West Point cadets last December that he was deploying 30,000 extra troops to the conflict, he made clear that he believed he was raising the force level in order to create conditions to hasten U.S. withdrawal. But shortly after the speech, Administration and military officials began to downplay the July 2011 date Obama had named for the beginning of that drawdown.

Read more from TIME's Jason Motlagh

Filed under: Obama's Afghan review
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Dindy.....

    May be ruling the world with flying jets into buildings would be fine.

    December 16, 2010 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette, IN

      Who gave you the right to tell others how to live or for that matter kill those who have faith in something other than you do? Because of your judgment you shall be judged and WILL PAY for all the murderous sins your 360 degrees cult has committed!

      December 17, 2010 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Dan in Lafayette, IN

      Is that right,Pfunnie boy???

      December 18, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bledsoe


      December 19, 2010 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |

    There is no time to indulge in formalities as all other options have exhausted. The only way is to stop wars, withdrawal of US forces, and concentration on rehabilitation and reconstruction of this region. USA has to change its ways of dealing with important world issues, end total reliance on MIC and corporatocracy and leave day dreaming of ruling the world with the power of guns.

    December 16, 2010 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Bledsoe


      December 17, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |