When President Obama met with French President Francois Hollande, and Hollande stuck to his guns about withdrawing from Afghanistan at the end of this year, I wonder if at some point, Obama said, “I wish we could too.” He had to at least been thinking it.
The Americans who give their lives or get wounded in Afghanistan between now and the end of 2014 are engaged in an exercise in futility. The President knows this, and it has to eat at him. The only worthwhile missions are drone strikes and special forces raids in places like Pakistan and Yemen and Somalia, wherever Al Qaeda is still active.
After 9/11, the GOP faulted Bill Clinton for dealing with terrorism as a law enforcement issue. But we’ve gone too far in the other direction of treating it as a nation-building issue, requiring an enormous footprint. The proper approach is to treat it as an intelligence/special ops issue.