The Skeptics

Is the President Ready to Turn the Page in Afghanistan?

Thursday on the Cato blog, I suggested that President Obama was not going to get many better opportunities to fundamentally change course in Afghanistan than the death of Osama bin Laden. His first interview after bin Laden’s demise was on “60 Minutes” with Steve Kroft, and the subject came up. The relevant bit is on this page, and perhaps the most important exchange is below:

KROFT: You seem to think that [bin Laden’s death] might hasten our withdrawal [from Afghanistan].

OBAMA: Well keep in mind what has happened on Sunday, I think, reconfirms that we can focus on al Qaeda, focus on the threats to our homeland, train Afghans, in a way that allows them to stabilize their country. But we don't need to have a perpetual footprint of the size that we have now.

As I suggested then, if the president needs proposals on how to go about reorienting our strategy in Afghanistan, he could start here or here.