No Set Plan for Withdrawal

Hope you hadn’t marked it on your calendar: President Obama's advisers have been working to downplay the significance of the July 2011 withdrawal date for Afghanistan that the president set in his speech last week. Robert Gates and Hillary Clinton have emphasized that that date will only be the start of a transfer of power to Afghan troops, and that any such transfer will be slow. “Some handful, or some small number, or whatever the conditions permit, will begin to withdraw at that time,” Gates said Sunday, while National Security Adviser James Jones said “We have strategic interests in South Asia that should not be measured in terms of finite times. We’re going to be in the region for a long time.”