On Wednesday of this week President Trump tweeted a promise to bring American troops home from Afghanistan, the country's longest running war now at 19-years, by Christmas.
The statement which no doubt is also related to the November election lead-up and possible looming foreign policy debate (which may or may not actually happen) took many defense officials by surprise.
But further, it now appears there's a coordinated effort to stymie such withdrawal plans before they ever get off the ground, with anonymous officials immediately telling the major networks that they disapprove.
We should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 7, 2020
Here are the usual "anonymous officials" slamming Trump's statements to Fox News on Thursday:
U.S. officials told Fox News that the sudden pronouncement, which appeared timed to help Trump in the presidential election, will make it harder for his negotiators and the Afghan government, who are currently in tough talks with the Taliban in Doha, Qatar.
Several officials close to the negotiations said the declaration may have even jeopardized the delicate talks. Counterterrorism officials said this may lead to a victory for the Taliban, and the collapse of the Afghan government and a “major shot of adrenalin” to the global jihadist movement.
So Trump's declared intent to bring the troops home by Christmas was met with howls and shrieks inside the beltway, to the point they are now warning it would hand over "a victory for the Taliban" but even more absurdly would boost "the global jihadist movement".
Talks between the US, the Taliban, and the national government have been ongoing in Doha, Qatar and are said to be making progress.
The media pile-on against Trump didn't end with Fox, but the AP also claimed in a headline that the US military was “blindsided” by Trump’s tweet while Reuters cited at least three unnamed officials to suggest the president was being reckless.
NBC said that Taliban leaders "welcome" the news:
National security adviser O'Brien says the U.S. would go down to 2,500 troops in Afghanistan by early next year.— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 8, 2020
President Trump says they "should" all be home by Christmas.
Taliban welcome the news. https://t.co/7dTBfXgaR4
And even NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg chimed in to say the timing was premature: “We decided to go into Afghanistan together, we will make decisions on future adjustments together, and when the time is right, we will leave together,” Stoltenberg said.
This is perhaps why the Afghan War is on the cusp of achieving two decades, with reports that veterans who were initially deployed just after 9/11 are now sending their own sons and daughters off to occupy the same land. The deep state never wants to see a war or endless occupation go to waste, apparently.