“If George W. Bush is remembered by getting America stuck in Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s looking like Obama wants to be remembered as the president who got America stuck in Yemen.” These words, from a March Internet address by Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric and al-Qaeda leader now hiding in Yemen, sum up well the August 14 New York Times report in which they appear.
Two British newspapers, the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian, quoted in their August 12 editions statements made by Iraqi Lieutenant General Babakir Zebari, who at a defense conference in Baghdad the previous day called on the United States to leave troops in Iraq beyond next year’s planned withdrawal. "If I were asked about the withdrawal, I would say to politicians: the U.S. army must stay until the Iraqi army is fully ready in 2020,” said Zebari.
The New York Times reported on August 11 that U.S. military officials are building a case to reduce the planned withdrawal of some troops from Afghanistan, scheduled to begin next July. The article explained that the case is geared toward countering pressure being exerted on President Obama from within his own party to proceed quickly with the process of winding down the war.
A USA Today/Gallup poll released last week found that public support for President Obama’s Afghanistan war policy declined from 48 percent in February to 36 percent. USA Today attributed the 12-percent decline to “a rising U.S. death toll and the unauthorized release of classified military documents.”
President Barack Obama announced “America’s combat mission in Iraq would end” in an August 2 address to the Disabled American Veterans, but the details of the announcement have revealed that American soldiers will continue to fight and die in Iraq for at least another 18 months, if not longer.