After writing several installments of "What Time is it in Kandahar and Afghanistan?" recent events in Afghanistan seem to be bringing matters to a real crisis point. Unfortunately in D.C. it is time for another Presidential election. But this has been a problem several years in the making. Ever since President Obama ordered more troops to Afghanistan in the same speech that he set a timetable for withdrawal Operation Enduring Freedom began to unravel.
I am under no illusions that Afghanistan was not a near impossible proposition on a good day, but that is the point. The mission was tough enough before Obama, despite arguing during the 2008 campaign that OEF was the good war and would get his full attention. His change of course, no matter how it was sold by the administration, was the beginning of a withdrawal and it was recognized as such by U.S. allies and enemies alike.
The Obama administration like to tout the fact that it killed Bin Laden and has made generous use of drone strikes in Pakistan and I give it credit for these. However, the administration very likely has sacrificed strategic victory in Iraq and Afghanistan for a string of tactical successes. Leaving is not winning, but the Obama administration has not wanted to confront the true nature of the Global War on Terror. In an election year, it will be too tempting to declare victory and try to wash their hands of it.