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President Obama spoke for 10 minutes last night to tell the nation what most of us already knew; he would order 10,000 troops to be withdrawn from up from Afghanistan by the end of this year and about 23,000 by the end of summer next year. It didn't take long for those on the left to say that the number of troop withdrawal was too small but on the right it was a mixed bag. Most of the presidential candidates would have deferred to the generals,’ as if president Obama never consulted with the generals' It's no secret that General Petraeus wanted a modest withdrawal of 5000 or so, but he still wants to use counterinsurgency (nation building) tactics which call for more troops, more money, more years, and more blood before we would be able to see any kind of success. Presidential candidate, Rick Santorum, complained because the president omitted the word “victory" from his speech. How do you declare victory in a country that will never recognize a central government? How can you declare victory in Afghanistan, when the real war is in Pakistan and Yemen?

President Obama's 30,000 troops surge to Afghanistan has proven to be a success, because of the 100,000 additional Afghan soldiers and police that began training. Afghanistan is ahead of schedule for reaching the goal of 350,000 troops by October of this year. What does all this mean? Before the surge, we partnered with the Afghans in major operations about 54% of the time, now it's about 95% of time in all regional commands. The real success will show when we remove the training wheels.

I heard a talk show pundit say that it was obvious to him, the 23,000 troops who will withdrawal next year around September, is a ploy to get the president reelected. I believe it has more to do with our fiscal year ending in October and that's the time all the decision makers thought was a reasonable time. There's no doubt that the White House weighed in with the optics of that decision. There’s no doubt that the generals are probably unhappy, because they don’t think they can ever have too many troops.

The Republican Party is at war with itself on Afghanistan and Libya. The hawks who never met a war they didn't like, senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain, are calling members of their party “isolationist" for wanting to bring a quick end to the war in Afghanistan and Libya. Well at least they aren't being accused of “waving the white flag of surrender." This morning I heard Joe Scarborough say that only a strong republican can call for a complete withdrawal of our troops without being labeled as being weak. Is this where we are as a country? Present Obama's speech was the only one he could've given because he didn't have many options. The president is stuck in the middle, not wanting to be the one who left too soon or the president who left too late. On this decision, he chose a safe route that might disappoint the least.

The president did take the opportunity to emphasize the need to " nation build" at home rather than abroad, but I'll be looking for permanent installations being built in Afghanistan before I believe him. Besides the money we save from that war won't be earmarked for nation building at home. I heard a military analyst mock the assumption that the timeline would allow the Taliban to wait us out. He didn't see the Taliban waiting three years, besides; they know we're not locked in on a leaving date. The warmongers will use every excuse in the book to prolong our stay; without ever explaining what a suitable exit strategy will look like.