December 7th, 2009
06:00 PM ET

Do you believe Obama will begin Afghan pullout in 2011?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President said in last week's speech that he will send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan - but also set July 2011 as a target for starting to withdraw forces.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/07/art.afghan.troop.pull.gi.jpg caption=""]
But you'd never know it listening to some of his top assistants over the weekend.

A lot of people didn't like that the president set a timeline for withdrawal. Republicans suggested setting a withdrawal date 18 months out would allow the Taliban and other enemies to just wait us out. Also - Afghan and Pakistani officials are worried the U.S. will leave too quickly.

So here's what we got over the weekend:

  • Secretary of State Hillary Clinton: quote "we are not talking about an exit strategy and a drop-dead deadline".
  • Defense Secretary Robert Gates: "there isn't a deadline"... and only a "handful" or "small number" of troops might start withdrawing in July 2011... conditions permitting
  • National Security Adviser General James Jones says the July 2011 withdrawal date is quote "not a cliff, it's a ramp" for the beginning of turning over to Afghan Forces... Jones adds the U.S. would be in the region "for a long time"
  • And head of U.S. Central Command, General David Petraeus - says the president's strategy "doesn't trigger a rush to the exits"

That should clear things up.

Meanwhile - Afghan President Hamid Karzai is asking for patience... saying that his country's military might not be ready in 18 months to take over responsibility.

Here’s my question to you: President Obama said the U.S. would begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan in July 2011. Do you believe him?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Kris from Ohio writes:
Absolutely not. President Obama merely threw in the talk of a withdrawal date to appease some of his own party, then the administration immediately started hedging on the date. It reminded me of when a child tells a whopper and then starts trying to move closer to the truth without admitting to the lie (which at my house got worse punishment).

A Vet from Michigan writes:
Yes. Hasn't the U.S. been withdrawing troops from Europe since 1945, from Japan since 1946 and from Korea since 1953? The only place we've withdrawn troops from in my memory is Vietnam.

Paul from Plainville, New York writes:
Jack, I think President Obama intends to do what he said, to begin withdrawing troops in 2011. I also think he was wisely vague, and will make his decisions based on the unfolding situation on the ground, as any wise leader would do.

Rory from Vancouver writes:
Well, Jack, if you look at the map of Afghanistan and the surrounding countries, it appears that Obama is positioning the troops so that they surround Iran, some in Iraq and some in Afghanistan, they now have 18 months to prepare for a new war, just a thought.

Ed writes:
Jack, Our president has zero executive experience, zero military experience and is a very confused dude. Everything he says has multiple meanings… It's not that he is lying to us, Jack. He simply has no idea what he is doing so how can senior officials respond with any accuracy.

Cliff from Rego Park, New York writes:
Jack, After hearing that 90% of the Afghan troops are illiterate and unable to handle tasks such as reading a map, the only way we'll be out by 2011 is if in place of American troops, we send in American teachers. All we have to do is rename the initiative: leave no Afghan soldier behind.

Filed under: Afghanistan • President Barack Obama
soundoff (218 Responses)
  1. Russ in PA

    Not really. There is now only a one-party system in the US, and I suppose he'll be happy to keep troops in foreign lands until he needs to bring them home to shut down dissent in America.

    December 7, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  2. Jack Carlson

    Absolutely not ! Mr. Obama is the most prolific liar we have had as Pres in American History. They won't have the troops in there for another 6-9 months, or longer.
    From Supporter to "we can't wait until 2012".
    Jack C

    December 7, 2009 at 1:53 pm |
  3. Trueman

    Hi Jack,
    It really depends on what his generals say, right? After all, generals need jobs, too.

    December 7, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  4. Bob - Rawson Argentina

    Of course he will, the "number" is yet to be determined though and the key word is "Start"! Honestly, think about it. It's what I call "smart business" and he WILL be reapplying for his job at that time.

    Not only that but if there are not noticeable "improvements" the public outcry will deafen many of us.

    December 7, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  5. Mo

    Hi jack the answer is one word yes

    December 7, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  6. Joe in MO

    Yes. His deadline is a shot across the bow of the military-industrial complex which would stay there forever.

    December 7, 2009 at 2:26 pm |
  7. Doug - Dallas, TX

    Who knows, two years is an eternity for Afghanistan. Karzai is already starting the PR bull by saying they may not be ready by then and we should have patience. He's no dummy, he realizes as long as we're there he stays in power. Afghanistan is a bottomless pit that we're going to throw more money and lives into for virtually nothing in return. Bottom line is we should have already pulled our troops out.

    December 7, 2009 at 2:27 pm |
  8. Sandra - Temecula, CA

    I believe he believes himself. A deadline should have never been set and he should have been more confident in his decision to send them in the first place. In the end, I believe the troops will come home when the job is done or deemed impossible to complete, whatever date that is will not be dictated by the calendar.

    December 7, 2009 at 2:30 pm |
  9. john ...... marlton, nj

    No, Obama is a unprecedented liar....

    December 7, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  10. BILL, WI

    I guess that OBL is not a concern as all the political hype made him out to be during the presidential campaign.

    December 7, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  11. louie michigan

    wish he would bring ALL the troops home NOW..so much bloodshed i the 2 Bush/Cheney wars..Today is 12/7..still recall Pres Roosevelt speaking to us on the radio when I was in grammar schl 12/7/41..the beginning of WW 2...so many war. & I know dear neighbors, friends who are buried in France, so many Gold Star Mothers suffered,,enough of wars...

    December 7, 2009 at 2:47 pm |
  12. Dennis North Carolina

    Too early to tell but lets not let the enemy know as the media has done in the past which may have cost us lives.

    December 7, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  13. Joe CE

    Yes. Either the strategy is working and will allow it or if te strategy is not working, the public will not tolerate conitnued involvement. Really no choice for Obama.

    December 7, 2009 at 2:50 pm |
  14. Jerry Johns Creek, GA

    Personally I don't see how we can begin to pull our troops out by July 2011. However, I applaud President Obama for holding President Karzai responsible for getting things done and having him recognize that to save his own skin he must react. Karzai needs the deadline. I would hope that there are key objectives laid out for the Afghan government to attain by July 2011.

    December 7, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  15. Carl D.

    Jack, The correct answer is no. This man is just the typical politician, say one thing to get elected, then do another.

    December 7, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  16. Rick Medina,OH


    Our boys should already be home with their wives and kids. We have never had a quarrel with the Afghan people. No one knows where bin Laden is, and it is clear that 100K+ NATO soldiers can't find him either. So, let's send them home, and use our technological toys and spies to continue the chase.

    Rick, Medina, OH

    December 7, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  17. Casey | Ruth, CA.

    Yes, I believe the President will begin the pullout by then or sooner, if it is possible. I truly believes he would like to be rid of both wars so that he can focus on getting things like healthcare and jobs done to help the poor and middle classes.

    I am proud to have a president who is intelligent, caring and pragmatic.

    December 7, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  18. Richard McKinney, Texas

    Jack that Lie rates right up there with, " The check is in the mail" and "I am from the government and I am here to help you". Obama is just saying what he needs to say to get the American people behind him. He is also trying to convince other NATO countries to send troops to Afghanistan and in order to do that they have to think there is a time line for withdrawal otherwise they will not send any. Unless Obama has a crystal ball that he can see into the future with he is full of crap when it comes to a withdrawal date.

    December 7, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  19. IKHAN from San Jose ca

    I don't think so Jack.
    Already there are rumblings on the Hill & secy of Def. & top military brass scrambling to announce that we'll be there for the long hall & that 2011 is not really a deadline.
    Iraq disaster should have taught us that Afghanistan is no place for our troops to be. History underscores that.
    The terrain, tribal culture & those powers playing high stake games in the region for their own good not ours, are signs enough for us to pull out soonest without loss of more precious American lives funds needed here.
    Unfortunately there are those who would even now have us believe that war in Iraq has been a good thing like columnist Tom Friedman & others. And that we should continue pouring soldiers & treasure in Afghanistan. The Hawks would continue influencing decisions in the White House no matter what the people say.

    December 7, 2009 at 2:58 pm |
  20. Tony from Southport

    First of all I never believe a word out of his mouth. Period. Lie to me once, shame on you. Lie to me twice, shame on me. Lie to us over and over again.....shame on us.

    December 7, 2009 at 3:06 pm |
  21. T. Thomas in Abilene Tx.

    Even if the President pulls a few troops out then, I am not convinced. We will be in Afghanistan for years to come – losing troops and spending money we do not have while angering Islam worldwide as Imperialist Americans ,making us much less safe .Where is the upside to this policy?

    December 7, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
  22. Ed

    Yes, the President promised to "finish the job." And even though that job was started by Alexander the Great, we can get out by 2011 if Vietnamization works. Of course, I mean when the Afgahans take control of their own security.


    December 7, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  23. pat stewart

    I am sure that Obama believes what he's saying, but one can't see any future when you send your military away. Obama is relying on the wrong advise. We are not the teachers of the world's military. All we'll receive from this training is an Afghan Army as strong as we are, who'll use what they've learned to destroy us. Remember, our troops that're over there are training Afghan Soldiers how to fight against Pakistan's forces. Someone said on the television last eve that these two terrorist groups have different levels of warriors. Presently, we're fighting against the lowest group who fight to save their country. Many Iraqi's stated they'd fight for their homeland even to the death. We should come home.
    Pat S.

    Norristown, Pa.

    December 7, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  24. Tom in Atlanta

    I do. Simply because I think the tone they are signalling is that if Karzai doesn't step up, we'll have to, whether or not things are 'secure on the ground' and that Obama isn't going to have us be in an endless pointless war.

    Some of the hawks might interpret it like that, but the gist I see is..."We're going to give this one last try but if Karzai doesn't step up, we're not going to keep doing this forever."

    Karzai is almost as useless as Harry Reid. We WILL be leaving in 2011.

    December 7, 2009 at 3:17 pm |
  25. BOB WHITE, Kansas

    Nope: He owns the mess, now! He will stay until the politics for him are O.K. or until he has lost so much 'face' that he is forced out of both Afgahnistan and the presidency. He had the correct values and message during the campaign but he was not prepared for the job (as Hilliray said). The totally corrupt DC will be his waterloo.

    December 7, 2009 at 3:20 pm |
  26. Jane (Minnesota)

    Has everyone forgot that there's an assessment prior to that date that will determine how accurate the 2011 date is? Let's see how the mission assessment goes.

    December 7, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  27. Bill Missett

    The only reason we are in Afghanistan (Bin Laden's not there any more, remember?) is to protect the Unocal oil pipeline running from Turkmenistan to Pakistan, contracted for immediately after the U.S. went into Afghanistan.

    That's the reason Bush & Cheney (both oil men at heart) never really went after Bin Laden - to have an excuse to be in the country ad infinitum - to protect that oil pipeline. That's the reason we'll be there forever. Same reason we'll be in Iraq forever as well.

    (If you don't believe me, google "oil pipeline afghanistan")

    December 7, 2009 at 3:26 pm |
  28. Albert K., from Los Angeles

    Yes Jack, the two main points of Obama's speech are focused on what world peace requires. First, Afghanistan cannot be left to the Tiliban who would allow Al-Qaeda to have camps there. Second, we cannot allow the current government of Afghanistan more than 18 months to correct it's problem of corruption and assume control. In 18 months the problem will be solved or a new war plan, without the cost of troops on the ground, will have to be implemented.

    December 7, 2009 at 3:31 pm |
  29. Zach - DC

    He hasn't followed through on any other promises so far. What will make this one any different?

    December 7, 2009 at 3:36 pm |
  30. Mambisa - St. Petersburg, FL

    I don't believe it for a second. During his campaign, he promised it was time to start bringing the troops home and I believed it. I think Mr. Obama has found himself caught up in the madness of the military/industrial complex and he's going to find it impossible to break out.

    December 7, 2009 at 3:38 pm |
  31. K

    Of course I believe of NOBLE Peaced Prize winning president. I can also sell you fantastic ocean front property in Wisconsin too!

    December 7, 2009 at 3:41 pm |
  32. Mark, Bradenton,FL

    Jack no Obama is a liar he is worse than Bush. Why increasing troop levels by 30 000 in summer 2010 and then withraw them 6 months later??? He has not kept one single promise up to this day. I am an Indpendent and voted for him and say Romney 2012.

    December 7, 2009 at 3:46 pm |
  33. Randy from Salt Lake City

    Nope. He doen not make the decisions, Jack. The CIA, Isreal and military-industrial-security complex makes those decisions. He's just the PR man that spews the lies and tells us it's the truth.

    December 7, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  34. Brian Smith PhD

    Absolutely NOT unless there is another war, (or some other hollow leg), for military-industrial complex to keep its budgets alive and profitable. It is all about large military contractors cashing in on the American taxpayer. I do admit the contractors do give Americans jobs; however, it would be far better using having those jobs rebuilding the American infrastructure as opposed to making war tools. Besides who from heaven sent down word that America is the World's police force?

    December 7, 2009 at 3:54 pm |
  35. Paul, Austin, Texas

    I believe that by 2011 he will be able to start and know weather everything is going well enough to continue.

    December 7, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  36. joe m

    ever notice how every administration that wants to hedge their bets makes these kinds of promises. if one listens to everything that has been said, the date is firm, but withdrawal still depends on 'conditions on the ground'. so in theory the president just needs to bring home half a battalion, or maybe even a platoon, to live up to his promise. it really all depends on what 'is' is. what this is all about is politics, or more accurately the same old politics as usual. i sort of remember a promise being made about that as well... who was it that made it again?

    December 7, 2009 at 3:56 pm |
  37. J W

    In my opinion, if we don't pull out now, we'll never pull out....at least until our nation is completely broke and unable to maintain a defensive force.

    December 7, 2009 at 3:59 pm |
  38. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Sure Jack, he'll withdraw a few token troops to please the liberal base just before the 2012 election season. But he won't withdraw enough to cause a collapse before the elections for fear of being the president who lost Afghanistan. Unfortunately 'winning' doesn't seem to be a word in Obama's vocabulary unless applied to elections.

    December 7, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  39. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    Has he delivered on anything else he has promised? No he won't and if he does it will be simply because he is trying to appease his radical base, who wouldn't go to war if someone nuked one of our cities, rather than conditions on the ground. You can tell by his speech, he is still in "blame Bush" mode and is making a half-hearted attempt to look tough on foreign policy, which is a little difficult to pull-off by sitting around for 3 months doing nothing and then giving the General exactly what he asked for in the first place. Obama has no experience in this area and rather than listening to his experts, (I don't mean Biden) he drug out the process and added nothing of value. He will likely bring a few home in 2011 to sound good on the campaign trail, but that country will not be ready in 2011.

    December 7, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  40. Rob of Brooklyn

    lets face it we're there until we leave like the Russians with our tali between our legs. its an unwinable war.

    December 7, 2009 at 4:10 pm |
  41. Mode (PDX, OR)

    Jack, I don't think anyone knows what Obama is going to do, including himself. Moreover, it scares me to see a President who has essentially sold the children of Gen Xers into indentured servitude in control of our military. I can only hope some scandal breaks out soon, so we can impeach him and his Bush-like style government which is, in case you didn't know, completely miss guided.

    December 7, 2009 at 4:15 pm |
  42. Adam Simi Valley, CA

    They'll begin pulling out in 2011. That's GREAT! I just heard the Taliban and Al Qaeda were going on vacation until 2012. What a coincidence. Seriously, we have just told these uys we aren't committed to winning. We have given them a timetable and emboldened them to turn up the violence and savagery another notch. They know the war is unpopular and they just have to hold out and make the next year and a half miserable and deadly and we will just leave on our own. So, while I guess Obama will likely deliver on his promise to start bringing our soldiers home, I think he will do it for the wrong reason. Playing politics with people's lives is something he should be ashamed of, not leadership. He should have come out and said we would fight for justice until the ends of time, and settle for nothing short of annihilation of the enemy. Instead he says we are going to fight really hard unless it is a really hard fight and then we'll pack up our playthings and leave because we have a curfew.

    December 7, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  43. Denis Duffy

    Obama has not delivered on anything he campaigned on. Why should this lie seem more truthful? It will not happen. All talk and no truth.
    Another liar for a president.

    Pittsburgh, Pa.

    December 7, 2009 at 4:20 pm |
  44. Jim in Alabama

    No Jack. This is a smoke screen for continuing the war and an attempt to appease those who would have this war end now. Of course there's always the possibility that progress will be made during the meantime that would justify withdrawing our forces in 2011, but it's not a given. We've been hood winked by this administration just like with Bush.

    December 7, 2009 at 4:23 pm |
  45. Lance, Ridgecrest, Ca

    Jack, he will if he thinks it will help him politically, in his run for the next term. I believe politics is the ONLY factor that will guarantee whether or not he starts the withdrawal in 2011. If the left wants him out, he'll start the withdrawal, even if it means he has to send the troops back in after the election.

    December 7, 2009 at 4:26 pm |
  46. DinoDog, Palm Springs, Florida

    Yes! You take 100 away and that is a withdrawal. Republicans mostly and some Democrats are backed by the military industrial complex and that is why we must send more troops. War is a very profitable business. The Republican spin revolves around a misguided theory that all troops will be withdrawn. Republicans love war, they just can't understand that people die as a result of their beliefs. Well, that's how I see it.

    December 7, 2009 at 4:30 pm |
  47. ken, NJ

    No, it is another big lie. Mullen, gates and clinton have spoken and they said "it depends on conditions on the ground". This is the same thing we got from the bush/cheney team. It appears that we will be there for the next 10 years at a cost of at least 1 trillion dollars. Karzai said we must be patient, but my patience has run out on afghanistan.
    We will now have 100,000 troops and 100,000 contractors to find and kill 100 al queda who are not in afghanistan. How many more taliban must we kill to feel safer. We need to stop the vengeance and move on.

    December 7, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  48. Cheryl, Cocoa, Fl

    No. The talking heads spent the weekend backing up from that commitment. Why would I believe it?

    December 7, 2009 at 4:39 pm |
  49. Talitha

    Absolutely not. How does he sleep at night?

    December 7, 2009 at 4:40 pm |
  50. Kris in Ohio

    Absolutely not. President Obama merely threw in the talk of a withdrawal date to appease some of his own party; the Administration then immediately started hedging on the date. It reminded me of when a child tells a whopper and then starts trying to move closer to the truth without admitting to the lie (which at my house got worse punishment).

    December 7, 2009 at 4:42 pm |
  51. Harold, in ANCHORAGE, AK

    Yes, but sooner(like today) would be better.We don't want our Marine nephew to die for Karzi's corrupt regime and drug lords

    December 7, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  52. Iesha Ward - Washington, DC Metro

    Yes I do!

    December 7, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  53. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    Yes! I beleive that he wants to start withdrawing troops as the security conditions improves in some areas. The withdrawing would not be done all at once since it would depend on the level of sustainable security in specific regions. I also beleive that he is making sure there is a review done to make sure the strategy is working or adjust it where necessary in order to improve the strategy if it is needed depending on any occuring changing conditions on the ground for allowing us to actually be able to withdraw! I do beleive that the President would not only beginning withdrawing troops in due time but he made it clear that we are not there militarily for the long run because military is not the long term solution!

    December 7, 2009 at 4:46 pm |
  54. Richard, Syracuse

    I believe the President will pull troops out when the time is right and the situation allows for it. If the last 7 plus years were not wasted doing little or nothing than the situation in Afghanistan would already be resolved.

    December 7, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  55. Eugene, Myers Flat, CA

    Dear Jack,
    President Obama will only pull troops out of Afghanistan, when the situation on the ground allows it. He'll follow the timeline indicated in his speech. He knows he can't pull another Viet Nam because these murderers have and definitely will follow us home. Obama may be an anti- war kind of guy but he's pragmatic enough to know that our country's future and WWIII are at stake.

    December 7, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  56. Michael Alexandria, VA

    If the deadline were something that could not be lived with, Petraeus and Casey would have resigned. The deadline is as advertised, a spur to the Afghans to work toward our exit. It's a good thing, Jack.

    December 7, 2009 at 4:57 pm |
  57. j h mckee

    one word jack yes

    December 7, 2009 at 5:02 pm |
  58. James

    Jack, I believe that is just what he will do. I think the real key is they will be combat troops. We will continue to have service people in Afgan for years to come.... The best result for us will be a N. Korea, S. Korea type of standoff!

    December 7, 2009 at 5:03 pm |
  59. Eugene, Myers Flat, CA

    Dear Jack,
    Not that we're finally in the "right war", Obama knows the score. He knows we must win and can't leave, until the situation on the ground indicates we can. After 2 tours in Nam, I never thought I'd say there was a right war Jack, but we have been attacked and the next attacks will be with Nukes. We must stop these murdering fanatics because it's now or never.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  60. JIm from SC

    My question to you Jack is; Do you believe there will be a Presidential Election in the USA in 2012? By the way the answer to both is YES, if he wants to get reelected.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:06 pm |
  61. vetinmichigan

    Yes. Hasn't the US been withdrawing troops from Europe since 1945, from Japan since 1946 and from Korea since 1953? The only place we've withdrawn troops from in my memory is Vietnam. As for Afghanistan, a token withdrawal will occur in 2011, full withdrawal TBD.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  62. Steve Canada

    I truly believe that is his intention to do so. He is the first president to try and educate the public on the dollar cost of this war in a long time. In these times its good that people understand the real impact on their lives from a financial point of view..Everyone realises the cost from a human point of view..As far as Karzai and his comments, he is just trying to preserve his meal ticket, thats all...

    December 7, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  63. Darrell Wright from Anderson, Indiana

    If Osama bin Laden and his croonies are captured and/or killed, then we will pull out of Afghanistan. If not, then we will not. Let us not forget why we are fighting in Afghanistan for. Remember this is not the same war as Iraq.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:14 pm |
  64. Audrey Glover West Point Ga.

    Jack, I have no reason not to believe President Obama as I trust his judgement and his word. Your questions and remarks recently have been getting quite outlandish referring to our elected President. You need to tone down the rhetoric.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:18 pm |
  65. Kim Smith, Dodge City, Kansas

    I would like to belive him, but that means that I would also have to believe that he has anything to do with running the government. Ask the CEO's of Halliburton, Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and the scores of others who's life blood is the continuance of war. If Obama had any guts, he would withdraw completely and let Afganistan determine it's own future.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  66. Marc in Toronto, Ontario


    The easiest of easy questions never seems to get asked. Who is going to pay for Afganistan's military personnel right now and after the American troops begin to transition out in July 2011 so that these newly trained and well equiped troops are not tempted to join
    or re-join the Taliban and then use their new skills and equipment to attack Americans? Sounds like Iran and Iraq irony all over again.

    You have to be awfully naive to believe that new agriculture ventures alone will pay their wages and keep them honest. We also know Americans can't afford to pay their salaries so the answer is quite simple – leave now, save lives, save money, let the Taliban and El Queda return to Afghanastan to set up camps then drone them back into their caves.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  67. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    We will not get out of there until the American people have had enough and tell the politicians that we either bring our troops home or they will lose their jobs. Just like Viet Nam. No, I don't believe him.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  68. Silas Kain - Boston

    Here's a better question, Jack. Has Barack Obama delivered on any of his substantial campaign promises? We're already almost a year into his Presidency and it gets to be more of a lame duck Administration by the day.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:20 pm |
  69. David in Raleigh, NC

    Obama gave the July 2011 withdraw deadline to appease his liberal leftist supporters who are his political base.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:21 pm |
  70. honestjohn in Vermont

    I believe he thinks he can begin ekeing a few troops out that early, but no significant withdrawal will occur by that date unless Al Queda and Taliban go away on an extended holiday.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  71. Marc in Toronto, Ontario

    The easiest of easy questions never seems to get asked. Who is going to pay for Afghanistan's military personnel right now and after the American troops begin to transition out in July 2011 so that these newly trained and well equiped troops are not tempted to join
    or re-join the Taliban and then use their new skills and equipment to attack Americans?

    You have to be awfully naive to believe that new agriculture ventures alone will pay their wages and keep them honest. We also know Americans can't afford to pay their salaries so the answer is quite simple Jack – leave now, save lives, save money, let the Taliban and El Queda return to Afghanistan to set up camps then drone them out forever or back into their caves.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:22 pm |
  72. David in Raleigh, NC

    Obama made a big strategy mistake when he said we would withdraw in July 2011. All the Taliban and Al-Qaeda have to do is wait until July 2011 and take over Afghanistan in August 2011.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  73. david doherty

    I really don't think the president or congress have the pull to dictate when we leave either of these money pits, Afganistan or Iraq. I think that will be up to the people really running these wars, you know, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, General Dynamics. The list goes on and on, but I think you get the idea! Theres too much money to be made dropping them there bombs! So we lose a few lives.

    Dave from NH.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  74. Frustrated in Florida

    I would like to believe him, but our government has been so dishonest with us in the past too many times.
    It's hard to believe that the president of Afghanistan can be serious about his military not being able to take over in the next 18 months.
    I don't think those people in Afghanistan want any kind of change.
    They seem to be content with several different war lords running
    different areas of the country.
    This president of Afghanistan sounds pesimistic right from the start.
    I feel this is going to be one of the biggest blunders our country is going to make and it is going to take a long time for us to recover
    from the cost of this war.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  75. John

    They will only pull out of Afghanistan when the money people can make in that region is dried up. That is the time table for all wars these days. Look at Iraq.

    Sad, isn't it Jack?
    San Jose, CA

    December 7, 2009 at 5:28 pm |
  76. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    Yes. Since when was a date for the start of conditions-based-withdrawal a timeline? Where's the "line"? It's just a time when the Afghans will be expected to be able to BEGIN taking their country back. Obama will not be giving the generals more troops so they better implement his strategy. That's how it works-HE'S the Commander-in-Chief.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:31 pm |
  77. Alex in Seattle

    Yes I do, but depending on the situation in 2011, it may be only a small number of troops coming home.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:32 pm |
  78. Tina Tx

    God I hope so. We have over stayed our welcome in the Middle East and leave them to fight amongst themselves and come back home and fight them with drones and keep the jerks from coming over here.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  79. Linda in Arizona

    I do not believe a word that comes out of his lying mouth.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:33 pm |
  80. Tim in Texas

    A timeline is a series of points on a line - not one point. The statement we will begin to transition security to Afghans in July 2011 is just that. It's a good solid statement. It sends a message to Karzi that he needs to get his act together because we aren't going to be there forever. It sends a message to our military that if they say they can reverse the momentum in two years , then they don't get to come back in two years and say they need more troops. It sends a message to the Taliban that we are going to fight them hard - if they decide to "wait us out", that's fine. We'll train troops, burn poppy fields, build security enclaves, all while they sit in caves eating dirt. There are two national security threats in this war - one is that we leave too soon and the other is that we stay too long. Obama addressed both.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:34 pm |
  81. Jim


    Maybe a token handful will be pulled out around July 2011 for appearances. I don't believe for an instant that Obama will begin any serious withdrawal from Afghanistan unless the situation really is dramatically improved.

    Reno, Nevada

    December 7, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  82. steve in virginia

    No, but I might change my mind if I ever hear him say something forthrightly truthful.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  83. Gail, Plano,Texas

    I believe the President. And I trust his judgment. I voted for him, I am proud to say. He is the Commander in Chief and deserves respect. And I wish John McCain would just keep quiet. Every time I hear him or see him, I am so grateful he is not the President!

    December 7, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  84. Paulette from Dallas,PA

    No. I'd like to know WHAT the President and his War Council discuss? If this were a college football team I'm afraid they would not be going to any BCS Bowl. There is no common game plan or atleast public front to present unity. The shame of it all is that this is not a football game and this illprepared motley crew is gaming with people's lives. Scary!!!

    December 7, 2009 at 5:43 pm |
  85. KarenB, central Florida

    Since its reached the point that blaming Bush for everything is not really an option, he will "say" whatever it takes to keep everyone dancing to his tune. It's difficult to "believe" any politician at this point.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  86. Lynn, Columbia, Mo.

    Not anymore. Bringing 2 soldiers home in July, 2011 is troops withdrawal. And what about bringing the troops home from Iraq? American soldiers should be in America.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  87. Ken M, Millington MI.

    Hello Jack. No, there will be a token withdrawal of some troops but the truth is we might be in Afghanistan 20yrs or more. Afghanistan virtually lives in a thirteenth century era,

    December 7, 2009 at 5:46 pm |

    Of course not. That crystal ball does not exist. Alot can happen between now and 2011. Suppose we get attacked again in this country. We are over due already. Will we still move our troops out? That would surely be a sign of defeat on our part.
    Its vietnam all over again. We must be swift when killing the enemy for a true victory. We have forgotten how to do this because of political correctiveness.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  89. Jerry Jacksonville, Fl.

    We can only hope so, should start in 2010

    December 7, 2009 at 5:48 pm |
  90. Mike from Denver

    Jack, as we are analyzing a political statement, I want to get it defined first. What is Obama's definition of withdrawing troops? Is he talking 10 or 10,000 troops. Once we know that, we will really have something to talk about.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:49 pm |
  91. patricia

    Yes. I think he'll rally the troops and the country and get the job done and get out. One thing that will help is a war tax, that will remind every taxpayer who don't know anyone in the war that there is a financial burden to be paid. He also knows being in a state of permanent hostility is bad for the country.

    Yup–it may be a slow pull out, but we'll go.


    December 7, 2009 at 5:52 pm |
  92. George, Montrose,PA

    Jack, I think he will have to bring back at least 10,000 or so just to keep face, you know right before the election and all.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  93. Loren, Chicago

    What do you mean withdraw? That overall combat strength will actually be reduced? Jack, you must be naive not to see the obvious in this one. The US mililtary is withdrawing troops every day, only its called rotation, and if the President wants to, they will say its a withdrawal when it's only a rotation. Or, perhaps, they will actually reduce numbers, but merely reduce supporting troops by closing a regional supply depot. There are lots of ways to maintain field strength without reducing the number of combat roles. This is a political statement and is meaningless to the soldiers on the ground.

    The shame of this is once again the American soldier has become a political pawn for an ill-conceived political action. While we went with good intentions, those are not enough without a clear end game, one that was sorely lacking, given what we have known for centuries about Afghanistan. We should have just bombed the heck out of the Taliban, destroying all their infrastucture, threatened Pakistan with doing the same if they continued their support, and declared victory. As it stands, we are in the same mess we were in eight years ago, no solution to terrorism in sight.

    December 7, 2009 at 5:57 pm |
  94. Bruce - Delaware


    December 7, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  95. Rich, Kankakee, IL.

    Nope, but it is funny that before they did not have enough people to fight back against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, but soon after the Presidents annocement to send more troops, they are launching attacks in Afghanistan even wothout the extra 30k troops, it's funny how that works!

    December 7, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  96. Don H.

    We will be in Afghanistan for 50 years regardless of what Obama says.
    How long ago did the Korean War end ? We still have 40,000 troops stationed in South Korea. The maintenance of U.S. troops abroad will eventually bankrupt this Country and reduce living standards in the U.S. to those of a Third World country, all to satisfy the vainglory of Washington, D.C.

    December 7, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  97. Maria

    I'd like to believe him, and I think he honestly thinks this will be the time for withdrawal. He's going to find out that in reality when you step in quicksand, you don't get out.



    December 7, 2009 at 6:06 pm |
  98. The Broker.

    Yes! Just to prove he is right. Then he will send twice as many three months later. Gates say's 4yrs? He is military. Obama knows nothing about warfare, or in-theatre stratagies..

    December 7, 2009 at 6:08 pm |
  99. Tom, Avon, Me, The Heart of Democracy

    The First lady is among the families of the troops all the time. She is experiencing the stress those families are under. My money is on her to see that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

    December 7, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  100. Ralph Spyer chicago Il

    Obama said if the Karzai government is able to take over responsibility; We will not be able to win because the American people have been down this road be for " I predict that you will sink step by step into a bottomless military and political quagmire, however much you spend in men and money. Charles de Gaulle

    December 7, 2009 at 6:10 pm |
  101. Antonio from Washington D.C.

    Yes, because faith without works is dead. You need faith and work to make this a reality!

    December 7, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  102. Linda in Charleston, SC

    Why would anyone believe a politician?

    December 7, 2009 at 6:20 pm |
  103. Hubert Bertrand Oberlin La.

    I use to think Obama was the only president to tell it like it is. Well I think he is streaching the truth, Why can't we have just ONE politician to tell the truth. and stick to it.

    December 7, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  104. David A Whitaker

    Yes I do believe that the President will begin withdrawal of troops in 2011. However this is a broad statement, because the situation over there will dictateD BY how they will withdraw.And it want be itch into stone on that date it just a guideline.


    December 7, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  105. Gerry In Toronto

    Obama set the time table to put pressure on Karzai to get his act together. The fact Karzai is suggesting it might take two years instead of 19 months is proof the Obama strategy worked and Karzai knows if he doesn't perform, the Taliban horse will be riding him instead of the other way around and the money tree will have worn out.

    December 7, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
  106. Ken in NC

    The President had better beleive what he said if he expects to be re-elected in 2012 because that is the only way I will beleive him.

    December 7, 2009 at 6:22 pm |
  107. JT Bloodworth, Las Cruces New Mexico

    No we are there to stay, for his short 4 years as President.

    December 7, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  108. andrew a

    is not matter obama didn't start this war and i don't think he will finish it,is 50-50 chance we win or loose get our troops out is the only posibility we are not going to win that war fighting someone who you can't see.you do not know your enemy i accept defeat,because of the two wars we got economic crisis,people loosing job,we are going backward i don't think so

    December 7, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  109. frankie

    I trust President Obama's reasons for this plan, and I trust his judgment. The military respects the Commander-in-Chief, and the military wants to make his plans work. So we will very likely begin leaving Afghanistan in July 2011. The reason no one can give you an exact prediction, is because this is a war.

    December 7, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  110. chaney, La.

    Yes Jack in 2011, the war in Afghanistan will be drawing down and the Afghan people will be on the road to a better life......and in the US while people are dying because they don't have health care, our Congress is still arguing about what is.... is'nt......and should be in health care reform..........

    December 7, 2009 at 6:29 pm |
  111. Marion/Alabama

    Jack ,Obama has till 2011 to dither his decision to death.Re-evaluate will be more like it,not with drawl.

    December 7, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
  112. Homeless D

    I HOPE he will.

    But then, I imagine there were those who hoped we would pull out of Germany once the war was won, and that we would pull out of Korea once that fiasco was over, and that we would pull our people out of every country in which we have a presence. Has not happened, so I place little faith on Obama being able to defy the war-mongers and get us out of anything!

    BTW, just who do we think we are, to have a MILITARY presence in other countries? Wouyld we sit still for other countries having bases and troops here?

    December 7, 2009 at 6:34 pm |
  113. Arturo F. Jasso

    Well. I think it is just like Vietnam in spite the fact of what the President says. 55,000 young Americans died in Vietnam "protecting" this nation against communism. What type of government do they have now? I rest my case. We cannot change the culture of an Islamic nation and make them Christians and democratic. They think their culture is superior to ours and no amount of soldiers, tanks and airplanes is going to change that . Not even in one hundred years!!

    December 7, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  114. Irv Lilley Ephrata, Pa.

    Jack, This is very cynical.But you seem to like cynicism. Who can really believe anything said in Washinton?

    December 7, 2009 at 6:39 pm |
  115. Luwanna Guysville Ohio


    From your own statement he set July 2011 as a target for the start of a withdrawl of troops, target is to possible as bogged down is to trapped. Yes I believe that the target date for a withdrawl will be July 2011 however, I also believe that conditions on the ground will most likely determine what happens.
    I wish we could just leave but wishes are for children who still believe in Santa.

    Luwanna Guysville Ohio

    December 7, 2009 at 6:40 pm |
  116. perry jones

    mr obama started pulling out in 2008 if you would only keep your eyes on the ball jack
    perry jones
    council bluffs ia

    December 7, 2009 at 6:42 pm |
  117. Anthony....Swedesboro, NJ

    War is an uncertain as we all know. This war against Islamic extremism is no less serious than WW2 or the Soviet Union. Islam has the potential to recruit millions if not billions of true believers who consider the rest of the world as infidels and worthy of annihilation. Time constraints are meaningless until the world obliterates this intransigent movement.
    But like all the wars, Europe sits on its hands confident that big brother, the US, will solve all their problems. Nothing has changed!

    December 7, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  118. Greg - Minneapolis

    The clearest evidence that Obama will NOT pull out the troops as scheduled is in all of the talking heads on the Sunday shows. Virtually all of them tried to put forth the idea that there was no deadline, a vital point Obama needs to have reinforced in the public's mind before he goes back on yet another promise. The troops have to stay until the job is DONE, and they have to be given a freer hand to do the job. Their job description should be very simple: "KILL the bad guys!"

    December 7, 2009 at 6:49 pm |
  119. Bill in Penna

    Sorry to have to be the first to tell you.

    We have put ourselves on the one-way track to oblivion.

    Nothing matters. Enjoy the now. The die is cast. With no financial base we give trillions of deficit dollars to the uberRich. Greed and hate have done us in. History and the planet will be glad when we are gone.

    Nice trip while it lasts. Could even last a decade.


    December 7, 2009 at 6:50 pm |
  120. Sharon

    Afghan President Harmid Karzai is asking for patience.....I guess patience is the name of everyone's game including Obama!

    Patience in turning around the economy! Year end reports will stagger the economy into a deeper pit–but with patience we can turn it around--

    The rest of the stimulus monies will be released in time–just be patient-

    The health care plan has finally come about–Pelosi said–we have waited==and waited==and waited for this moment! Pelosi and the Democrats think their patience has finally paid off–

    While being patient-over 15 million people are unemployed-the statistics on how many people have lost their home hasn't been released-just be patient-

    You can be so patient that one day Americans will wake up and will find out–THE COUNTRY HAS BEEN SOLD!

    December 7, 2009 at 6:53 pm |
  121. Mason

    I think that the president will do what is necessary to bring the war to an end. setting carved in stone deadlines in this war like viet nam is a crap shoot. I am a Viet nam vet of 3 tours and we should do what we have to do to keep the homeland safe

    December 7, 2009 at 7:00 pm |
  122. Mark from Naprerville IL


    I belive that the President will pull out of Afganistan before July 2011. Not because things will be better, rather we will be brought to our kness by the outrageous spending by our government.

    History is repeating its self. We are headed the way of Russia. Who would have thought.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
  123. U.S.S. Texas C.G.N. 39 sherman Tx.

    I believe that that a pull out date was issued but cannot be kept I believe that we have commited ourselves to a continued stalemate consisting of American lives and money's that would be better served repairing our broken down economy we are being led into war by a none stratigest of war tactics .

    December 7, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
  124. JC Pose

    I believe he may – but I seriously doubt it!.. Not unlike many of the wars we have been involved with give or take a few – ie: Vietnam, Honduras, Panama, Kuwait, Iraq, and now Afghanistan! – He will be inundated by the liberal left (or right) – and the war machine must go on – after all – War is good business – it creates new jobs (then you don't have to create new ones!) – and its good for the economy!..

    December 7, 2009 at 7:05 pm |
  125. Richard Green


    Why would an Afghan pullout be any different than our Iraq pullout? We still have a quarter of a million troops and contractors in Iraq. If we still have combat units in Iraq and we are still fighting in Afghanistan in 2012, and we don't elect someone who will get us out of both places, we may as well give up on our democracy. We voted in 2006 and 2008 to end these wars. I expect the 2010 vote will show that sentiiment is still alive. None of the Republicans and not enough of the Democrats are listening to the will of the majority of Americans. Vote them out!

    Rich Green
    San Clemente, Cal.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:06 pm |
  126. Charles -NJ

    No. But I can hope.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:06 pm |
  127. Nate

    From Bloomington, Indiana

    It just won't happen. The drawdown would depend, more than anything else, on Afghan confidence that their government is less corrupt than the Taliban was. But Karzai's track record for cleaning his own house has been underwhelming, and even the most urbane westernized Afghanis are questioning the recent election's legitimacy.

    The problem isn't going to be teaching the Afghan army how to fight – they already know how to do that. The problem is getting an honest civil government in place, and I'm just not seeing the sense of urgency that would come from Karzai realizing that NATO might not hang around to help his cronies to line their pockets.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:09 pm |
  128. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, NY


    After hearing that 90% of the Afghan troops are illiterate and unable to handle tasks such as reading a map, the only way we'll be out by 2011 is if in place of American troops, we send in American teachers.

    All we have to do is rename the initiative: leave no Afghan soldier behind.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:10 pm |
  129. Jesse Greenleaf

    No, I don't believe President Obama will begin to decline the forces in Afghanistan in July, 2011. This is the biggest political hoax since the U.S. INVASION of Iraq. The president must think we're all puppets, and sadly we are, in order to believe him. It's all about the political fight and has nothing to do with the terrorists that began this "War on Terror" over 8 years ago.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:10 pm |
  130. Mike Wasinski

    Why don't we see if it works before we start judging its success?

    December 7, 2009 at 7:10 pm |
  131. Dave

    In a word, Jack: Yes. First, beginning to withdraw means our peak military presence will be during that time. Second, I don't know about you but I have a to-do list I've been beginning to work on for years.

    It's politically necessary to not be in a military quagmire going into the 2011 elections. By putting the July stake into the proverbial sand, everybody knows what has to be done. American military power will accomplish the task they are given, as always.

    Sufficient military power will be applied to reduce the problem to something the UN can manage. We'll still be there in various capacities, helping Afghanistan and Pakistan to grow up and learn to manage their affairs. Obama won't cut and run the way Bush did.

    New York

    December 7, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  132. Amy

    Don't be silly Jack, did you forget Obama is Harvard Law Review?

    December 7, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  133. Troy Hawkins-WV

    Afghanistan is such a mess because George W. Bush and the Republicans started twiting with Iraq.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  134. Reid

    No, I don't believe the president; on this subject or any other. The scary part is, that I believe this pattern of deception is on purpose.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:11 pm |
  135. Elizabeth

    I supported President Obama in the election, but i do not believe that our troops will begin withdrawing from Afghanistan in July 2011. Any president who gives a withdrawal date within a year is usually lying and we are still in that country years later (i.e. Bush). As much as I would like to believe President Obama, I just can't.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  136. Sara Hendricker

    July 2011: Isn't that when "change we can believe in" begins.

    Sara, Kerrville TX

    December 7, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  137. Bill

    Yes, and I would like to be the lucky soldier who leaves on the that day.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  138. Trevor Peters

    Yes, I believe the president. And starting to withdraw troops can simply mean 1 solider a month is coming home. "Starting to withdraw" is not a big detriment to our goals.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  139. Allen Hinkle


    December 7, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  140. Frank Russo

    I didn't believe anything Obama said before he was elected, why start now. Almost all the promises he made pre-election were not within the scope of his authority to deliver. So much for change...

    December 7, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  141. jeane

    I thought he said we would begin to transition of security to the Afghans. Yes I do believe him. I also remember him saying somthing about events on the ground would dictate when we pull out.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  142. ken

    No, Obama is not telling the truth. He is in over his head with regard to the war effort and he may not even know it.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:12 pm |
  143. Annie, Atlanta

    What other choice do we have? We voted for the smart guy this time around, not a beer buddy. So let’s just hope he’s as smart as we thought. Personally I think the talking points this weekend were an attempt to tamp down on right wing screeching before it starts. After all, there's no profit in pulling out.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  144. Jerry

    Jack ,NO! I don't believe them, Remember when the White House said they were not sending 40,000 troops to Afaganistan? Jerry/ Iowa

    December 7, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  145. Nadim

    President Obama is expressing his wishes, however people of his administration are nailing hard truths..

    December 7, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  146. Dr Konde

    Obama set the time table to withdrawhopping that the Afghans wont see the USA as an occupying power and win over ordinally peace loving afghans

    December 7, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  147. Don, Post, Texas

    Why should anyone beieve anything he says. He's a Democrat isn't he?

    December 7, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  148. Esther Massillon Ohio

    do you know how to tell when a lawyer is lying? his lips are moving
    Hence Obama a Lawyer and Commander in decent.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:13 pm |
  149. Marie Noguerole in Portland, Oregon

    Yes Jack and its high time we let the Afghans know they need to step up their game. The U.S. has invested blood, sweat and tears in the Middle East as well as $$$. Its time for our men and women to come home and do some nation building stateside for a change.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  150. Joseph W.

    No i do not think we will be. Americans have gotten used to the "idea" of being at war. We have come to either expect it or not really have a problem with it. That is a scary place for this country to be. The Amercian public needs to demand a solution to this never ending war or we will be there far too long.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  151. Allen Hinkle

    Yes I do.

    OFallon, MO

    December 7, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  152. Ed Fertik

    Our President has zero executive experience, zero military experience and is a very confused dude. Everything he says has multiple meanings. He was even confused about his own religion when being interviewed by George Stephanopoulas, remember? It's not that he is lying to us Jack. He simply has no idea what he is doing so how can senior officials respond with any accuracy.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  153. Bryant

    I beleive that HE (Obama) beleives we will pull out by 2011. But then again the President has proven that his beliefs are based on "perfect utopian society principles." The problem is Obama needs to stop making decisions based on what he thinks will appease his base, and begin making decisions and statements based on reality. We're not leaving Afghanistan in 2011. We won't even be close to a withdrawal by then.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  154. Jean (expat in Brazil)

    Do I believe him? Sure! I also believe in Santa Claus, don't you?

    December 7, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  155. Elizabeth

    I supported President Obama in the election, but i do not believe that our troops will begin withdrawing from Afghanistan in July 2011. Any president who gives a withdrawal date within a year is usually lying and we are still in that country years later (i.e. Bush). As much as I would like to believe President Obama, I just can't

    Redondo Beach, California

    December 7, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  156. Don Starr

    I believe thart by that date, Pakistan will be in total chaos and will be spilling into India. Iraq will return to a civil war, and Afghanistan will continue to be a significant challenge. So, I guess I'm saying NO.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  157. Bill

    He also promised to have troops out of Iraq in 16 months when he became president. Any soldier listening to this knows there is no way he will be able to accomplish this task as stated.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  158. Mike

    No. They would only be in Afghanistan for a year by 2011. No.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:14 pm |
  159. Al Mera

    I do not believe Obama at all, so I do not believe we will be pulling out of Afghanistan any time soon. I also don't believe we have to be there at all. The whole war in that region of the globe is a farce pulled on the people of America.
    Ending the war is not good for the few big industries making billions of Dollars by the blood of our children.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  160. John Wali

    Jack, what do you mean believe, did not we believe in President Bush about WMD. So what difference does it make now. Anyway, Pres. Obama's approval rating is still better than congress and senate.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  161. S.B.

    absolutely, it's completely vague enough not to be believable.

    Vassalboro, ME

    December 7, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  162. ROCKY IN L.A.

    I believe that President Obama would LIKE to begin the withdrawl in 2011 but, barring some huge unforseen miracle event....'it ain't gonna happen'. Unfortunately, we'll probably end up being there as long as the Taliban is there. The Taliban will be there for a long time.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  163. Kaci Buhl

    I believe it. Stating our intention to leave is the only way to leave... and deadlines are effective at driving work. I know it's true for me – if I don't have a deadline, I work on something more "time-sensitive." The same is true for Afghans, I'm sure. Our President has changed the game by picking a new play; the Soviet's fate won't be ours.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  164. Bill in Delaware

    Yes, one lucky soldier will be sent home and Obama will claim he has started the process of withdrawal

    December 7, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  165. john j. grimes Watertown, Ma.

    I totally believe that we will begin removing troops from Afghanistan in 2011 and sending them back to Iraq in order to "stabilize" our adopted nation. I heard this all before about 40 years ago when the generals in Vietnam requested more troops to battle, what was it, oh yes, the Domino Theory. There was no "light at the end of the tunnel" and we lost 59,000 men for nothing. Like it or not, our former friend, the Taliban, will not go away no matter how long we stay and anyone who believes otherwise simply doesn't know the history of this pathetic country.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  166. John Loucks Phila, PA

    Like any other President regarding the Middle East, America will be in Afganistan a long while. When I voted for Obama, I believed in his
    promise of change if he was elected. Little did we know the change was Obama turning into another George Bush. Bring our troops home and lets starting worrying about America. Afganistan has been in conflict for 800 years, who really cares. If we have a great Homeland Security, let them blow themselves up over there.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:15 pm |
  167. Rick Greenberg

    It is hard to believe what President Obama will do. There is nothing new in double talk and nothing new with this administration.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  168. David Druckerman

    Yes, I think he will pull out a token few. Just in time to start campaigning again. You know, make us believe great numbers are coming home. Then after elections it will change. Also, isn't it immoral to profit from war?

    December 7, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  169. Jim Cook

    I agree the Taliban might wait until 2011 for us to leave, but what could be better than that? I think if they wait in the hills for 2 years it can only be helpful our cause.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  170. Gary M. Shuler (Missouri)

    I believe he has good intentions, but as a Retired Veteran, I think it's unrealistic to establish a pull out date at the same time you announce a troop increase. They're too many unknowns to have a drop dead date. The logistics for the troop increase and the strategy should be first and foremost. He's the Commander In Chief and he must realize that all of his decisions will not be popular with all. "When In Charge, Take Charge!"

    December 7, 2009 at 7:16 pm |
  171. Matt Harrison

    It's not a question of believing him or not, Jack. The point he made in his speech was that by giving a deadline, he is injecting some urgency to achieving the mission, for all parties: Pakistan, the Taliban, Karzai and his corrupt regime and the Nato forces. The Administration should have focused on this rather than spending their time confusing the message over the weekend.

    Hong Kong

    December 7, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  172. Brittney

    Are you kidding me, Jack, you just answered your own question. 2011 is going to be the beginning of the end. Obama is smart. The GOP argument is that we wont be ready to leave in June, but if you have people in the administration saying it is not actually "ending" in June, then you beat the republicans. Genius.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  173. Bob In Florida

    Jack...lighten up!!!! President Obama DID NOT sign a legally binding contract to give a pound of flesh if he does not pull out of Afghanistan in July 2011.

    I think it is an excellent way to appease both sides (somewhat) while doing EXACTLY what should be done to execute the war PROPERLY! Besides, if BUSH could not get victory in BOTH Iraq and Afghanistan since 2001.....BUSH was A TOTAL FAILURE in war.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  174. Joseph Kavanaugh

    He also said we would close Gitmo and it is still open. We will most likely stay in the middle east way beyond 2011. I feel he is on a mission to get Bin laden to close the chapter on 911. Obama will most likely get another crack at a second term if this is achieved. We will see.
    Postal Joe
    Rock Hill, NY

    December 7, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  175. Jaden

    If what Secretary of Defense says "conditions permitting", he will but if the conditions do not, he won't. He doesn't have to withdraw completely but a few from here and there is a withdrawal. The guy said he will begin withdrawing from Iraq when he was running from office and he did just that. And to all those who say he hasn't accomplished anything yet, the guy has been in office for 10 months let's wait and see. Maybe if the Republicans weren't so polarized some legislation would have been passed already.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:17 pm |
  176. JONIQUe

    I believe in the integrity of President Obama. How soon we forget President Cheny and VP Bush.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  177. John--Black Hills/SD

    2011 isn't soon enough for American troops to begin returning to the real world. Our purpose in Afghanistan has come and gone, it was the Bush administration who screwed the pooch, and we will loose in Afghanistan. Has anyone who doesn't see Detroit everyday understand what's going on the USA. How can we rebuild another nation half way around the world, if we can't rebuild a city in the heart of our nation. What are we doing pretending to spread democracy around the world? When they ask for it it's one thing, but shoving democracy down their throats is like drinking dry asphalt.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:18 pm |
  178. Ron - Baltimore, Maryland

    Jack of course I believe him, he is our president. He has never lied to us before. Has he?

    December 7, 2009 at 7:18 pm |

    Was his lips moving when he said this?? Jack everyone knows that all men are liers, specificly wannabe Golfers/Politicians/Presidents. Your the only one that can be believed Jack, except for maybe me.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  180. Wally

    Yes, I believe Obaoma will be withdrawing troops from Afganistan in 2011. He will be withdrawing at least three troops to say he has made his commitment for withdrawal. Jack, you and I both know the troop withdrawal issue is just another smoke screen. Come 2011 "conditions on the ground" will be the standard issue to slow the troop withdrawal. The American People should just start organizing and protesting, like we did during the Vietnam War, and force the government to "get the hell out of Afganistan and Iraq" and pay attention to our own problems right here in the US. What a waste of human lives and national treasure !

    December 7, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  181. Oscar

    Yes and No, yes because he keep his promise when he said that we'll pull out of Iraq and that is exactly what is going on in Iraq. No because anything can happen, we didn't get out there to occupy the country but to seek and destroy Osama Bin Laden who killed more than a thousand fellow American in 9/11. I think in July 2011, he will pull out the additional troops that he committed. But when it comes to the rest of the troops, it all depends on how successful the Afghan government operates and its Armed Forces. The sacrifices made for the last 8 years should have a good end result, I'm pretty sure those men and women died in battle field would want that to happen.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  182. InfotainMe

    Leaving Afghanistan for where...Iran? Probably.

    We're not leaving the middle east until Exxon and Haliburton say it's OK.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  183. Paul F. Caron

    Jack: No! This is part of the stuff we are led to believe in this deceptive age. I feel this war policy is mainly put forth to keep the factories humming and it also gives all our military people at the Pentagon something to do. For an area of the world that has no air force, navy, or army, we sure worry a lot about the people over theer attacking us. I would suggest watching our borders a bit better in order to control the troublemakers coming in. Is that unreasonable?

    December 7, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  184. Kuirthiy

    I don't know if Obama thinks he has a crystal ball. Whether the troops will or will not leave Afghanistan in 2011 is a function of all the relevant circumstances. Will he withdraw troops in 2011 if the Taleban gains ground? Will he withdraw the troops if no substantial changes occur? Unless Obama doesn't care about wining in Afghanistan, his time-table is nothing but another way of accepting that the jig is up. We have to understand that the surge is to please the Republicans, and the timetable is to please the Democrats. It is all but politics as usual.

    Kuirthiy, Calgary

    December 7, 2009 at 7:20 pm |
  185. Doug

    Yes, I believe him. He's a very smart man and he takes his time on deciding matters. It seems like everyone wants the President and his National Security Team to be open and up front about every move they plan to make in Afghanistan, as well as their tactics. There is no need to know every move. I'm glad we finally have a Commander in Chief who believes in a Plan A and a Plan B, and maybe even a Plan C. Let the President and his team do their job. I believe there is much more planned by his administration that will bring this inherited war to an end. It's time for people to shut up for a while.

    Alexandria, VA

    December 7, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  186. Jim Vicalvi-Sturgis,MI

    I was one of the ones who didn't believe the pied piper of Washington from the beginning. If they would get rid of him, and Congress, the smaller amount of hot air would put us in the black.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  187. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    We sent our military into a war based on lies and I don't think President Obama is going to lie about when they will be leaving.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  188. Mike, Boston MA

    I don't think it will be wise to pull out that early. This is a region that, if left unchecked, will cause a lot of problems for us. We need to make sure that all radical and anti-American elements have been eliminated. However, giving a timeline will let the Afghanis know that we mean business. They need to get their act together. It is fair to say that the Obama administration, which has been in office for less than a year, has done a far better job of addressing the issues of Afghanistan than what the Bush administration did in eight years (i.e. letting Osama Bin Laden get away).

    December 7, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  189. Margaret, Houston, Texas

    President Obama is just another of the long line of presidents who say one thing and do another. The only thing that will cause our government to withdraw from its own war zones is when it runs out of money, or gets defeated by another power far greater than itself, or both. Can't you see it coming? One day, the U.S. will leave the Islamic World, where the war lovers who have influenced the U.S. political arena, learn their own lesson of hard knocks. All empires die when they over-extend themselves. I can't wait for that glorious day, when our political leaders are finally humbled, and beat their swords into plowshares.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:21 pm |
  190. Robert in Vegas

    Why can`t Afgans train troops quickly , I was trained,and shipped to Korea in16 weeks. It takes political will on the part of the government to take care of their own needs .They had better gather up the camel road apples and get on the stick,or we will no longer support them.Obama should keep his word at least once in his tenure as President .Bring the troops home from all foreign posts. I am tired of supporting these foreign governments.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  191. Nick

    No. I don't believe that American troops will be withdrawn from Afganhistan by 2011 only because it is a situation in which you can't determain when it will be the right time to start withdrawing the main combat troops. In a millitary operation nothing ever goes according to plan. I love President Obama and believe personally that he made the right decision to send more troops and soon begin the withdrawl from Iraq. The job in Iraq is done and we need to begin the process to get out. But for Afganhistan, I think that if we left, the taliban would just take over Afganhistan again and then we would have spent 8 years there for Nothing. I believe the right decision has been made and I hope for the best.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  192. Mitch Fl

    This is the man that said we will have secure borders before we do anything about.illegals.He will not allow earmakks if elected president. and our taxes will not go up.
    Case closed.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:22 pm |
  193. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    There is no pull out date but instead a pull in date for more troops to continue a stalemate.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:23 pm |
  194. Rick

    Hell no, the only change Obama has brought to Washington is one more slimy politician.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:24 pm |
  195. Richard

    Sadly, NO, I don't believe him, because there are too many super-hawks in this administration that think war is always the answer to everything. I really think this war needs to end, 8 years is too long! If special forces were sent to bring the real criminals to justice that would be one thing, but occupying a country for almost a decade is counterproductive and gains us more enemies not less.

    Los Angeles

    December 7, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  196. Rose Indian Beach, NC

    Yes, I believe troop withdrawal will begin by 2011. Believe is the key word. I believe troop withdrawal will begin but others will be sent to take their places.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:25 pm |
  197. Army Spouse from New Jersey

    Of course he intends on having a plan to withdrawal. Wasn't that the main criticism of our last President – that he sent us over to Iraq without a plan on how to get us out? Now our current President is being criticized for giving us what we wanted before. You have to laugh – America is so diverse we completely contradict ourselves either way. Democracy – who says everyone has to be happy? I always thought it was more important to be RIGHT. The RIGHT reason for a timeline is for the Soldiers and their families. It may not mean all at once, but it’s a light at the end of the tunnel for US.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:26 pm |
  198. Bernie of Lowell, MA

    The pull-out might start, but we'll have troops in Afghanistan for perhaps another 100 years. Just look at Korea. We've been there now for over 50 years guarding the DMZ.

    In Israel, too, we're 'in' for a much longer time, too. Even though we've got no troops there, we've got an alcoholic-like codependency with them that will continue as long as both the Israelis and the Palestinians concoct ways to agitate the situation.

    Karzai is no dummy. His ageless political structure is still a tribal mishmash of warlords who can't agree on anything and are more concerned with defending their own turf than with surrendering their autonomy to any bigger political entity. He knows that as long as he drags his heels with expanding his own security forces, he'll have us there for a very long time, too.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:26 pm |
  199. Emmet Wilson

    No, I do not believe we wil begin to leave Afganistan in 18 months. Obama has not followed thro with any of his ideas since elected and this will just be another. And a very sad one. This time he is being controlled by the Pentagon and hawks. We are chasing ghosts in Iraq and Afganistan. No one wants us there. Both countries are made up of fearful villagers or friends of AlQueda or Taliban. We can only lose just as we did in VietNam (I was there).
    Clinton and others came out immediately rephrasing, redefining, and otherwise reniging Obamas decision. Obama does not have the nerve to go against them. We will sadly be there for years. There is always one more battle and one more excuse to stay.
    Afganistan was the war we should have been into years ago, but not today. Leave Afganistan to their people and bring all our troops home to protect our borders.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:27 pm |
  200. Jim Sullivan

    I absolutely believe him! We'll bring Pvt. Ryan home and the rest of the troops will be stuck there.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:27 pm |
  201. Joseph Kavanaugh

    Liar, Liar pants on Fire!!! Childish? yes but true.. Obama will have our troops there till Bin-Laden is caught!!! It is probably the only way he will secure a second term....Tough days ahead...

    Postal Joe
    Rock Hill, NY

    December 7, 2009 at 7:28 pm |
  202. Johan

    First time ever, I saw Cafferty on CNN. He is really witty and puts the whole story in the right perspective, nice style. First of all : the President of the 'free' US, is one of least free people on the planet. If Obama speaks, he never speaks only for himself. But, he is very good. He succeeds in keeping himself right in between confirmation and denial, or any other opposing concepts leading the interview. And his speeches, well prepaired of course, are as smooth as only award winning actors can give them. Though, I think, Obama has a lot of idealism running through his veins, and I hope he keeps it up. Don't forget, though a lot promises didn't make it, many did! He is young, ambitious, a-typical, let's hope he is all that. But a wall of media and commerce is very difficult to actually judge a character through. If one doesn't follow him, day by day and knows him personally, one cannot judge through a wall that is filtering so much essence, that hardly any analysing is possible.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:31 pm |
  203. Guy from Hawaii

    Aloha Jack,
    Do I believe him?..."Start withdrawing...yes?" We still have troops in South Korea if I'm not mistaken...that would be 56 years now! The Military, Big Business, Corporations and "Men in the Shadows" run this country not the President. It has always been that way. They pull the puppet strings so that their interests i.e. profits are taken cared of. War is a losing proposition and this one will be no different unless, of course, you have your money invested where Dick Cheney does.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:32 pm |
  204. Gary Woodhaven, Michigan

    Sure I believe him.

    Because by 2011 we'll be in Pakistan, Yemen, and or Somalia.

    Even in an arcade you run out of quarters eventually and can't play whack-a-mole.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:33 pm |
  205. osman

    Jack , Of course not. would you beleive that, Jack? President Obama is little bit worry about the cnn option research pole which lately demonstrates that his prominency is going down. i think he should ignore all thses poles and focus more on the reality. he can not change everything at once. At least his trying and you Americans must try to aknowledge his effort. man, this man is not God. put yourself in his shoe. by the way his was an advocator. apparently, is are pushing him to become a terrorist just like the America did to Malcom X in the past. I am afraid that he does not end up the way.


    December 7, 2009 at 7:33 pm |
  206. U.S.S. Texas C.G.N. 39 sherman Tx.

    This could happen if we pay attention to the tactics of General Patton .

    December 7, 2009 at 7:34 pm |
  207. Luci - Pekin, IL.

    Yes, I believe our President. If your Republicans ever get back in office, we will be in war after war. They love wars, as their friends make loads of money and the Repubs get their pockets padded. They are the ones that got us into these wars and Obama is trying to get us out.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:35 pm |
  208. Tony Hochstetler

    Sure, he will BEGIN...but that could mean pulling a few thousand out, shaking there hands at the airport with cameras rolling, just to leave the rest of them there for the next 10 years. This would be another great publicity stunt, just like the "town hall" meetings last summer.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:36 pm |
  209. Bon

    To cover himself politically some troops will withdraw in July of 2011 or by December of 2011 but we all should know as from the case in Iraq that we are in for a long term stay. If the Taliban think they can wait us out then they are in for a long wait. I am one of those Obama supporters who think it is dumb to announce a deadline for withdrawal.Never give away your position to the enemy, it makes you vulnerable. That's a combat tactic you can get even from the movies.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:42 pm |
  210. lynne from nc

    In a way yes because one can tell that he doesn't stomach the thought of war, much less want to do it. And he also knows that the money spent could be used here at home. This will happen for sure if they catch bin Laden sneaking between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:42 pm |
  211. sandi g from Buffalo NY

    No I do not because he is a pretty slick politician

    December 7, 2009 at 7:43 pm |
  212. keith in ky

    Well since he is a proven liar- – – – I would have to go with NO!

    December 7, 2009 at 7:48 pm |
  213. Frank

    Anyone who looks at the history of Afganistan and the history of Vietnam should conclude that this war can't be won and we can't be beaten. We are just pouring money and the lives of brave young americans down a rathole.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:49 pm |
  214. Aliou, FL

    republicans are riding obama like a w. horse. He is making their fortunes in companies that sell arms, and insurance or pharm.
    Dancing to any tune they play, in the name of by partisanship. Only, the by in bypartisan means obama bend more.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:49 pm |
  215. Allan Rainey

    Yes I believe he will send the troops home in 2011, and also i think people need to get off his back! He Hasent been in office a full year yet! Give him a break!

    December 7, 2009 at 7:54 pm |
  216. Mary

    No and even if we catch Bin Laden it will not stop the work of the terrorists.
    I think this Afgan president just wants to bleed this country for all he can get.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:55 pm |
  217. AnotherVoice

    One wise man in the government once said "You break it, you've bought it". Only in America, where you break it, spend billions to glue it back up and give it back to the store.

    December 7, 2009 at 7:57 pm |
  218. Jeff Devine From Long Island

    My Fellow Americans,

    It doesn't matter when the troops come back. What matters is who is paying for all of this? That's the billion dollar question!

    December 7, 2009 at 7:59 pm |