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LA Times Report: 10,000 Force Drawdown in Afghanistan this Year

**UPDATED**

President Obama plans to announce a troop reduction in Afghanistan that Pentagon and other administration officials say is expected to bring home about 10,000 personnel by the end of the year. – Obama expected to announce major Afghan drawdown

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Zbigniew Brzezinski has a low bar for Pres. Obama. Sending a message for a “token of confidence” that things are moving in the right direction and that we’re not “stuck.” Ignoring Afghanistan after troops have left is the biggest mistake the U.S. has made over the last two decades, with Brzezinski naming former Pres. Clinton as having ignored Afghanistan. Staying engaged is his bottom line, which must include regional involvement from Pakistan, India, China and Russia.

But if Obama’s Wednesday speech doesn’t explain how the drawdown supports a political strategy for ending the war, it’ll mean one thing: he has no idea how to get out of Afghanistan. – Spencer Ackerman

Reports today reveal Pres. Obama will begin to drawdown the “surge” portion of his administration’s escalation of 30,000 troops this year, beginning with 10,000, with the remaining 20,000 to come home by 2012. It leaves 70,000 U.S. forces inside Afghanistan.

CNN is reporting this headline: Obama to announce plan to pull 30,000 troops out of Afghanistan.

However, 10,000 would be the starting number, which isn’t what the military wanted, as they were hoping for token troop withdrawal in the neighborhood of 3,000-4,000, which is politically unworkable in today’s climate.

Pres. Obama initially pledged to clean up George W. Bush’s mess in Afghanistan, after he dropped the ball to preemptively invade Iraq. However, Obama’s mission creep has been consistent, going into nation building from the start.

Part of that is due to his stalwart partner Sec. Clinton who believes strongly in our mission inside Afghanistan, particularly where Afghan society is concerned, particularly women’s roles.

I was on board until Stanley McChrystal’s implosion, which made the reality very stark, as it takes looking into the blackest abyss to cause a general to kill his own career.

Pres. Obama is under intense pressure from the Pentagon, who is no doubt telling him that he could be the proud owner of a failure on his watch if the withdrawal is too steep. It’s what the military always tells civilian leadeship, which has the same reaction every time.

I want to hear the Republicans make a different argument, the one begun by Ron Paul. Specifically, I want to hear Jon Huntsman make the case for complete Afghanistan withdrawal over the next 3-5 years. People forget that’s how long these things take.

If the presidential race could be about U.S. lack of foreign policy discipline and misadventurism it would actually be worth the space it will take up. Because there is no more important fiscal challenge to tackle than U.S. indiscriminate and unbridled spending in wars that have no end.

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