Will Obama Really Get Us out of Afghanistan in 2011?

Mitchell, Lincoln A.

The Obama administration began qualifying the President’s proposed timeline for beginning the withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan almost immediately after his speech last week. Administration officials such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Bob Gates have since then made it clear that the July 2011 date for beginning the drawdown is only a target. A closer reading of Obama’s speech suggests that Obama did not really commit to a withdrawal date, only to a date to “begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan.” This could mean anything because the extent and speed of the withdrawal remains unspecified.

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Harriman Institute
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September 29, 2011