The artificial Afghanistan withdrawal deadline has obviously caused some of our military leaders to question our strategy in Afghanistan.
That deadline, which President Barack Obama announced to the American people, the military, our allies and our enemies on December 1, 2009, has provoked many — including the government in Kabul, the Afghan people, the military in Pakistan, and our enemies the terrorists — to question America’s resolve to win the War in Afghanistan.
More disconcerting for the American people is that the timeline appears to be putting tremendous unnecessary pressure on our armed forces to accomplish their task: victory on the ground.
We don’t need an artificial timeline for withdrawal. We need a strategy for victory.
Though the president can’t pretend he never set a timeline, he can now exercise his authority as commander in chief to make things right.
He should start by eliminating the timeline and making it clear that winning the war is his top priority. He can do that by giving our military leaders whatever additional forces or resources they need to get the job done.
Together with Afghan forces and NATO, the United States must weaken the Taliban on the battlefield before engaging in serious negotiations with Taliban members who break ties with al-Qaeda. And the president must press Pakistan to deal firmly and unambiguously with all terrorists.
Now is the time for President Obama to recognize that his artificial timeline has had very real consequences. The president must right the ship, change course on his strategy, and make it clear to friend and foe that he is committed to victory in Afghanistan.