I guess the dimbulbs at the Pentagon have discovered that which we’ve discussed here over the last few years – that the US can’t just depend on withdrawal as our sole strategy in the war against terror. Probably because the public is noticing that we’re failing in Afghanistan and not because of the efforts of our troops there, but because, like Vietnam, the civilian leaders lack the political will to prosecute the war the way they should. But, they’re three years late. Anyway, the Associated Press reports on Leon Panetta’s latest theatrical proclamation on a change of strategy;
Panetta said the evolving campaign will feature the use of small U.S. strike forces; more partnering with foreign commandos; and more training and other forms of assistance that enable partner nations to combat terrorism on their own.
“All this sends a very simple and very powerful message to al-Qaida, to the Taliban, and to the violent extremist groups who want to regain a safe haven in Afghanistan: We are not going anywhere; our commitment to Afghanistan is long term, and you cannot wait us out,” Panetta said in a speech to the Center for a New American Security, a think tank.
So, basically, this new strategy is just more of the old strategy, only bigger with fewer troops. I guess they’re coming to the conclusion that they understaffed the surge, and now that the surge troops have been drawn down, they find that they need more troops, but tough words will replace those troops.
Panetta claims that they’ll “pursue” al Qaeda into Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, but it was a scant few months ago that we heard that al-Qaeda was on the ropes. So the same people who crowed that al Qaeda was dead are now getting serious about the war? Too late. Al Qaeda weren’t the only ones waiting out the 2014 date for withdrawal.