Defense Secretary Robert Gates and other Bush-43 holdovers are pressing President Barack Obama to delay a meaningful drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan and continue the counterinsurgency war, but the Independent Institute’s Ivan Eland argues that a rapid withdrawal is in the best interests of the United States and the region.By Ivan Eland, Consortium News, June 15, 2011
The jockeying for position on troop withdrawals from Afghanistan and Iraq continues.
Recently, departing Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and the U.S. military have tried to box the Obama administration into leaving as many troops in Afghanistan as possible. Gates argued that a rapid withdrawal would threaten the gains accrued from the surge of 30,000 troops.
Gates opined, “I would try to maximize my combat capability as long as this process goes on — I think that’s a no-brainer.”
He has argued for a modest withdrawal, which other sources have pegged at between 3,000 and 5,000 troops; in other words, only a token pullout to fulfill President Obama’s pledge to begin withdrawing troops this summer.
Pushing back are Vice President Joe Biden and the White House staff, including National Security Adviser Tom Donilon. Biden and Donilon were initially skeptical of the troop surge and are pushing for a more rapid withdrawal.