In his brief remarks on Wednesday night, the President, according to the NY Times coverage:
"announced plans to withdraw 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year. The remaining 20,000 troops from the 2009 'surge' of forces would leave by next summer, amounting to about a third of the 100,000 troops now in the country. He said the drawdown would continue 'at a steady pace' until the United States handed over security to the Afghan authorities in 2014."
His plan appears to have pleased almost no one except, if some reports are to be believed, the Taliban who have begun measuring for drapes in Kabul for when they return to power.
I don't know anything about military tactics or strategy especially when it comes to Afghanistan. Which is to say, I don't know any more than most Members of Congress.
Afghanistan has been a raspberry seed in the tooth of humanity for thousands of years. It's only real claim to fame is that people bent on conquering the world had to go through Afghanistan to get just about anywhere else in the region.
For many of them, as long as they were there anyway, they turned a rest stop on the interstate highway of world domination into a kingdom. Alexander the Great, for instance, did it in about 330 BC after he had conquered Persia.
Add to that our continuing involvement in Libya; the Predator attacks in Yemen and the looming entanglements in Syria and perhaps Iran and there are too many service members costing too much money in too many places which are too far away for purposes which are too vague.
I understand the position of those who warn of the dangers of American isolationism, but there is a huge difference between being an isolationist and demanding we back away from being the first (and often the only) nation standing against bad actors.
We can't - and shouldn't - close every military installation outside of U.S. territory but part of the benefit moving troops home is weaning the rest of the world off the theory which has held in too many capitals around the world for the last 100 years: The Americans will keep us safe.
Is the President's timetable for Afghanistan the correct one? I don't know, but I do know he has taken a major step toward reducing our military footprint there, and perhaps that will lead to other drawdowns around the world.