Former US Defense Secretary Robert Gates, in his new memoir, writes:
eventually lost faith in the troop increase he ordered in Afghanistan, his doubts fed by top White House civilian advisers opposed to the strategy, who continually brought him negative news reports suggesting it was failing …. as I sat there, I thought: The president doesn’t trust his commander, can’t stand (Afghan President Hamid) Karzai, doesn’t believe in his own strategy and doesn’t consider the war to be his”
If Gates is right, the real question is: Why didn’t Obama act on those conclusions and withdraw US forces from Afghanistan ASAP instead of dragging on the (as of now more than 12-year-long) war?
While it can be argued in good faith that the US had to go into Afghanistan to liquidate al Qaeda after 9/11, it’s been pretty clear for years now to most Americans that continued occupation, counter-insurgency and “nation-building” were very, very bad ideas. Obama would likely have had strong public support for a “declare victory and get the hell out” approach.
Instead, the Obama administration seems to be committed to a perpetual US military presence in Afghanistan. What’s up with that?