Obama Lied; He’s Expanding the US War in Afghanistan

What I like most about President Obama is his consistency and honesty.

Remember all those times—those countless times—Obama said he was going to end the Afghanistan War in 2014? Remember when one of the principal promises of his 2012 campaign was to end the US war in and occupation of Afghanistan? Remember when he called it a “fact”? He really did promise it a lot. A lot.

obama afghanistan promises

Yeah, well, he lied.

From 21 November 2014’s New York Times article “In a Shift, Obama Extends U.S. Role in Afghan Combat” (emphasis mine):

President Obama decided in recent weeks to authorize a more expansive mission for the military in Afghanistan in 2015 than originally planned, a move that ensures American troops will have a direct role in fighting in the war-ravaged country for at least another year.

Mr. Obama’s order allows American forces to carry out missions against the Taliban and other militant groups threatening American troops or the Afghan government, a broader mission than the president described to the public earlier this year, according to several administration, military and congressional officials with knowledge of the decision. The new authorization also allows American jets, bombers and drones to support Afghan troops on combat missions.

In an announcement in the White House Rose Garden in May, Mr. Obama said that the American military would have no combat role in Afghanistan next year, and that the missions for the 9,800 troops remaining in the country would be limited to training Afghan forces and to hunting the “remnants of Al Qaeda.” …

In effect, Mr. Obama’s decision largely extends much of the current American military role for another year. Mr. Obama and his aides were forced to make a decision because the 13-year old mission, Operation Enduring Freedom, is set to end on Dec. 31. …

The second factor is the transfer of power in Afghanistan to President Ashraf Ghani, who has been far more accepting of an expansive American military mission in his country than his predecessor, Hamid Karzai. According to a senior Afghan official and a former Afghan official who maintains close ties to his former colleagues, in recent weeks both Mr. Ghani and his new national security adviser, Hanif Atmar, have requested that the United States continue to fight Taliban forces in 2015 — as opposed to being strictly limited to operations against Al Qaeda. Mr. Ghani also recently lifted the limits on American airstrikes and joint raids that Mr. Karzai had put in place, the Afghan officials said. The new Afghan president has already developed a close working relationship with Gen. John F. Campbell, the allied commander in Afghanistan.

[An] officer said he expected the Pentagon to issue an order in the next several weeks detailing the military’s role in Afghanistan in 2015 under Operation Resolute Support, which will become the new name for the Afghanistan war.

But by the end of next year, half of the 9,800 American troops would leave Afghanistan. The rest would be consolidated in Kabul and Bagram, and then leave by the end of 2016, allowing Mr. Obama to say he ended the Afghan war before leaving office.

America’s NATO allies are expected to keep about 4,000 troops of their own in Afghanistan in 2015. The allies are expected to follow the American lead in consolidating and withdrawing their troops.

The United States could still have military advisers in Kabul after 2016 who would work out of an office of security cooperation at the United States Embassy. But the administration has not said how large that contingent might be and what its exact mission would be.

Ahh, “Operation Resolute Support,” such a great new euphemism for continued military occupation.

In May 2014, Obama already went back on his word, insisting US troops would leave Afghanistan by the end of 2016 (15 years after they first entered), but that they wouldn’t fight after 2014. It looks like this broken promise wasn’t even enough.

#PromiseKept?

I say #PromiseBroken.

(N.B., This is by no means the first time Obama has reneged on a promise. By no means at all. See: “Obama the Conservative.”)