So the story below made me wonder, is the “withdrawal” of troops just eye-wash to appease to the those who the President promised he would start to pull troops out this year? Or is it truly the start of a real withdrawal of troops?
Then you have SecDef Gates (who I have been critical of over the last 12+ months for being a ride the fence yes man) doing his last hoorah tour of the troops and starting to speak more frankly of his soon to be ex-boss.
Outgoing Defense Secretary Robert Gates says U.S. forces are doing a great job in Afghanistan, and people need to be patient and “consider the consequences of failure” if the U.S. were to pull out prematurely.
Gates returned last week from an overseas trip in which he bade farewell to troops ahead of his departure from his post at the end of the month. CIA Director Leon Panetta is expected to be confirmed this week as Gates’ replacement.
As I read Gates’s comments and see the story below I wonder isn’t this an exact opposite of each other? To me it seems we have the administration talking out of both sides of its mouth at the same exact time. As long as Gates is the SecDef, he still represents the Government.
Granted he may be just speaking his mind and his opinion from his standpoint, but then if that is the case who is right? The President who is telling America what he wants them to hear or the Secretary of Defense who is giving his honest opinion? I don’t know about you, but I would always want to hear the truth and not what someone thinks I want to hear.
Around 800 US troops would reportedly be withdrawn from Afghanistan next month and won’t be replaced, raising suspicion that President Barack Obama’s plans to bring back the troops by July 2011 have already been set in motion.
Defence Secretary Robert Gates has admitted that Washington has made a decision not to send replacement units over fears that the troops would have to be redeployed when Obama makes his drawdown decision at the end of the month, Fox News reports.
He said that Afghan commander General David Petraeus had recommended the move that suggests that these two units would be the first ones to leave the country.
“As General Petraeus was looking across Afghanistan and beginning to identify different options, it was pretty clear that these two units were units that would probably be on that list. And so we took the decision here as the chairman has just said to divert them so that we didn’t end up putting them someplace and then pulling them right back out again,” Gates said.
The plan came to light when senator Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, started receiving complaints from members of the Oklahoma National Guard’s 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team about their sudden change in mission.
Inhofe’s office said that members of the 45th, who had been preparing for months for an Afghan army-training mission, were disappointed to learn they have been reassigned to Kuwait to provide security for U.S. forces leaving Iraq.
“The last minute nature of the re-missioning of two battalions to Kuwait has impacted their training and deployment,” Inhofe said in a statement, adding that the members of the 45th strongly believe that “their re-missioning is part of a drawdown in Afghanistan, even though an assessment from General Petraeus is still outstanding.”