Laying the exit ground work

Obama's house think tank, the Center for New American Security continues its valuable work providing rationalizations for the planned exit from Afghanistan. As a reminder let me recap the Obama team's plan for the Stan.

1. Announce demi-surge of troops

2. Announce start of withdrawal during same speech

3. Find some Taliban to sign a peace treaty or deal with Karzai

4. Be leaving by the time re-election in 2012 comes around

Here is the view of the two guys who run CNAS and shockingly it doevetails completely with the Obama team's plans.

1. The shift is most obvious on the ground. The additional 30,000 troops promised by President Obama in his speech at West Point 14 months ago are finally in place and changing the trajectory of the fight.

2. Slowly but surely, even in Sangin, the Taliban are being driven from their sanctuaries as the coalition focuses on protecting the Afghan people in key population centers and hubs of economic activity, and along the roads that connect them. Once these areas are cleared, it will be possible to hold them with Afghan troops and a few American advisers — allowing the United States to thin its deployments over time.

3. The United States certainly can’t kill its way to victory, as it learned in Vietnam and Iraq, but it can put enough pressure on many Taliban fighters to encourage them to switch their allegiance, depriving the enemy of support and giving the coalition more sources of useful intelligence.

4. We should hold fast and work for the day when Afghanistan, and our vital interests there, can be safeguarded primarily by Afghans. That day is coming, faster than many Americans think.

Oh I think I know when it is and it will be when Obama gets back to the only thing he is any good at, campaigning. I hope things are going well enough in Afghanistan for us to get out of there, and if that is the case in the next 12 months, then bravo. But our military leaders have already begun pushing back on the idea that we will just be packing up this Summer and heading home. 2014 has already been mentioned as the date we are hoping to turn operational control over to the Afghans. This piece here is just a bone thrown to Obama so he can claim that his cunning plan is working and he can now begin to "end the war". This is more politics than strategy, but I did mention this is O's house think tank, they could just ship a press release to the house paper, oh wait that's what they did.