"I don't expect we're going to see a big withdrawal of troops at that time. We asked the question several times, receiving no answer other than any withdrawal will be based on conditions on the ground... There was no indication of any set number, or type of troops, or MOS (Military Occupational Specialty), whatever, that would be pulled out in July. I think they are just waiting to see what happens in the spring offensive and they will make plans as we get closer to July.”
"Everywhere we went, things were really upbeat and I know I feel much better about the situation there.”
- U.S. Representative Howard "Buck" McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, upon returning from Afghanistan.
The Republican’s remarks, coupled with General David Petraeus’s cautiously upbeat message, is the latest evidence that few U.S. troops will withdraw after July 2011. The Pentagon already dwells in 2014 and beyond. This should be the constant line from the White House and Pentagon: Afghanistan is going well, just not well enough to withdraw more than a token force. Or Afghanistan is going so well that U.S. troops should stay in their entirety and “finish the job.”
As if another three years will stabilize Afghanistan’s political and economic system.