President Obama announced tonight that he plans to withdrawal ten-thousand troops from Afghanistan this year and the balance of the military surge which is twenty-two thousand troops by September of next year! This is a major blunder, a huge mistake for the President politically and it will likely cause the ultimate loss of Afghanistan back to the Taliban. Politically it is a mistake because coming down the home stretch to the presidential elections next year this rate of troop withdrawal will result in the Taliban having made strong resurgences throughout Afghanistan moving American voters to believe Obama lost the war in Afghanistan and providing reason not to vote for him and the Presidents withdrawal plan will in fact have lost the war because in those areas where the Taliban return there will be no American/Nato troops coming back ( the allies don't have the force strength) to uproot them this time when the Taliban return they will have won the war in those areas and from those strongholds they can eventually roll up the whole country into their control the Afghanistan government/army provides no compelling case of being strong enough to defeat them. The President's plan does not take into account how fragile the security situation is in the south and east of Afghanistan, the Taliban may not be openly in control but behind the scenes they are present and the local civilians are not firm supporters of the government because they don't see the government prevailing against the Taliban long-term. President Obama is making a huge mistake in not listening to the first preference of the U.S. Generals which is essentially leave the vast vast majority of the surge troops in the Afghanistan theater through the summer of next year and then begin drawing them down and have them all out by the beginning of the Spring of 2013. This would give the Generals the troop strength to really hurt the Taliban through two fighting seasons this summer and next leaving the Afghanistan security forces with a much weaker foe to fight in the Taliban plus a stronger military because they will have that much more experience in fighting along side American troops taking it to the Taliban and we will have gained a lot of credibility with Pakistan in regards to being able to lobby them to take it to the Taliban on their side of the border because we took it to the Taliban on the Afghanistan side of the border. There is no perfect political decision on the troop draw down in Afghanistan for President Obama but the following is the optimum strategy he should have chosen. The American public is war weary and is rightfully very worried about domestic problems and the President's base has a lot of christians and religious types who tend to be anti-war (morally deluded but that's for another discussion) and liberals who want government to spend money on a variety of programs and put people to work on the public payroll (not war) and just don't care about how the government is going to get the money to pay for these things and this base puts a lot of pressure on the President to end the Afghanistan war as quickly as possible. The President should have chosen this plan I am bringing out three to five thousand non-combat troops out of Afghanistan this year and at the beginning of next year I am bringing out another three to five thousand-non combat troops in the beginning of 2012 if there isn't that many non-combat troops in Afghanistan to pull than pull one brigade which is about 4000 troops, leaving the remainder of the surge troops in theater through the summer of 2012 then bring all of the surge troops home as quickly as possible, essentially giving the Generals their first preference. The President could provide as a defense I always said that circumstances on the ground would ultimately determine my decisions and the fact that I am bringing five thousand troops home this year and five thousand at the beginning of next year and twenty-two thousand beginning in september of 2012 as fast as they can logistically be brought home means I am serious about winding down the Afghanistan war. But he could really defend himself with the anti-war Americans by coming out and saying I am bring all the U.S. troops out of Iraq this year and he could come out and say emphatically that this will save the American taxpayers a lot of money. This last item is no small development, the U.S. military, the U.S. state department has all been lobbying hard to the Iraqi government for U.S. troops to remain in Iraq past the end of this year for the same reasons that many Iraqi political and community leaders non-publicly have been saying which is that the US military presence provides insurance against different factions in Iraq moving to take up arms and fight to put in effect their political agenda. This whole push to extend the U.S. troop stay is stupid, stupid, stupid and unnecessary, unnecessary, unnecessary! Extending U.S. military presence past the end of 2011 will cause a major political wound for internal politics in Iraq, Iraq's leader Mr. Maliki has as a major coalitiion partner allies of the cleric Muqtada al Sadr who is fanatically anti-American, the U.S. military staying past 2011 is a huge gamble what will it bring from the Sadr faction in Iraq and Iraqis who sympathize with Sadrists in their view that Americans should completely get out of Iraq? Moreover, Iraq's security forces are strong their in a league several levels above Afghanistan's security forces any factions inclined to take up arms in Iraq would be foolish Iraq security forces would present a very powerful opposing force. Plus, Iraq's government is good, not perfect and there is a lot of partisanship understandably, the government is effective it is functional from a reasonable expectation standpoint, the bottom line is that the majority of Iraqis want the government and the country to succeed which all bodes for the conclusion that there is not going to be a civil war in Iraq when the U.S. leaves at the end of 2011, the country of Iraq will succeed that is not to say that in all probability there will not be an uptick in violence but the Iraqi government and security forces will be able to handle it. It has been bantered around in the media that it cost $1 million dollars a year to keep a U.S. soldier in the Iraqi theater for a year on average so completely ending the Iraqi war this year and bringing the 50,000 troops there home would save $50 billion dollars a year that would be no small feather in President Obama's hat!