CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: I think it's worse than a political act to announce the leaving. It's a kind of an act of personal narcissism. When this was talk about a few months ago in the press, there was a mention of the fact that if the full withdrawal happened in 2016, that would allow Obama to leave office having fulfilled a promise to liquidate the wars.
I mean, is that how we're now setting the strategy of the United States of America in a war zone where so many have died and so much treasure and blood has been spent so that a president can leave office looking good? It's certainly designed as has been suggested by Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and others to help the Democrats in the 2016 election, but why would you announce it in the first place?
The greatest success we had in the post-wars era were in Japan, and Korea and Germany, where we still have troops, 60, 70 years after the war. You don't announce a withdrawal and a liquidation. Obama justified the leaving of the 10,000 behind, ad he said it in his speech today, so that we don't lose the gains made with such sacrifice by the soldiers who have serve here, and then looking at Iraq, where he liquidated it and all the gains have been dissipated, he's essentially saying, 'Well, Afghanistan will be in the same spot two years later. The Taliban will wait the extra two years.'
Why would you announce it in advance even if you intended that and why wouldn't you reexamine the condition of country in a year or two after that and/or let the next administration decide whether you should keep a small, residual force that could affect the future of the country and redeem at least some of the sacrifice of the troops who died there?