President Obama: Afghanistan War Going So Great, Let's Never Leave!
During a press conference Thursday, the president explained that everything in Afghanistan is going according to plan -- hooray! -- which is why he has to alter the plan just a smidge.
"America's combat mission in Afghanistan came to an end," he said, thanks to more than a decade of war, plus "2200 American patriots who made the ultimate sacrifice."
We whoop-assed "devastating blows against the Al Qaeda leadership" and "delivered justice to Osama bin Laden." (And no, that ingrate President Obama did not bother to thank George Bush for making that possible, with that dead-r-alive smoke-em-out bullhorn bluster he tough-talked throughout his presidency, during which, FACT, Bush never managed to kill or capture bin Laden.)
What else did we mission accomplish in Afghanistan?
We "pushed the Taliban back" and "our troops trained Afghan forces so they could take the lead for their own security ... Today, American forces no longer patrol Afghan villages or valleys ... Those missions now belong to Afghans who are fully responsible” for their country.
Wow, high fives all around, everybody, seems like our job is finally done.
Oh. Right. Of course there is a but.
"Afghan forces are still not as strong as they need to be." Ohhh, so those troops we successfully trained so they could be in charge of their own country and we could get the hell out of dodge aren't ready to take the training wheels off yet?
The bottom line is, in key areas in the country the security situation is still very fragile. And in some places there's risk of deterioration.
And that means:
I have decided to maintain our current posture of 9,800 troops in Afghanistan through most of next year, 2016. Their mission will not change. Our troops will continue to pursue those two narrow tasks that I outlined earlier: training Afghan forces and going after Al Qaeda.
The president will be keeping 5500 troops at a small number of bases, which will allow us to continue training Afghan's troops so they won't need us anymore. You know, one day. Maybe. Or not! Depends on how well we continue to be victorious.
Much of this was predictable. We understood that as we transitioned, the Taliban would try to exploit some of our movements out of particular areas.
It's just that Afghans aren't quite as good at destroying the Taliban as we like to think we are, so we're gonna stay close, real close, so we can cheer them on and give them participation ribbons and encouragement and say things like, "Aw, you guys did real good on that last mission. Yay, you!"
Efforts that deliver progress and justice for the Afghan people will continue to have strong support from the United States.
It's not as if the president isn't aware that we are a tad bit tired of this war that we've been "winning" since 2001.
"I know that many of you have grown weary of this conflict," the president said. And don't forget, he "does not support the idea of endless war." It's just that our commitment to the Afghan people "remains firm" and securing Afghanistan -- you know, more -- "is vital to our national security interests."
But at least when this mission is finally done, whenever that is, we'll be able to marvel at the beautiful peaceful democracy we created in the ravaged country:
My fellow Americans, after so many years of war, Afghanistan will not be a perfect place.
But the point is, "The nature of the mission has not changed, and the cessation of our combat role has not changed." It's all going sort of more or less as predicted, except for how we won't be fully withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2016 after all, but mostly! And that plan is not going to change, unless, of course, it becomes necessary to change it.
"I suspect we will continue to evaluate this going forward," Obama said, "as will the next president." And then next president. And the next president. And the next president. And the next president ...
But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln -- and other than the 25 military and civilian Americans who died in Afghanistan last year, and other than the doctors and patients we accidentally bombed earlier this month, and other than the nearly 10,000 troops remaining who aren't planning to get killed in Afghanistan, but stuff happens, you never know -- we've done a bang-up job, we're just about done, and the president is "absolutely confident this is the right thing to do."
God bless America.