European Union Special Representative Vygaudas Usakas dismissed the notion that the Afghan war would end for NATO in 2014. He said that it was time for those involved in the mission to be honest with themselves. The war will last much much longer. How long is that?
Usakas believes NATO must commit to another 30 years of war although certainly the number of troops could be reduced before then. Although Usakas' comments will no doubt raise eyebrows other officials have also claimed that the war will last much longer than 2014. Officials in both the U.S. and Britain have talked of the war lasting another decade or even longer.
Meanwhile Obama is promising to start to bring troops back this year. This will probably be a purely symbolic move. This promise and the deadline of 2014 to turn over security to the Afghans are no doubt mostly to pacify an increasingly dissatisfied public.
The U.S. is talking about cutting defense spending. However what is happening is a reduction in the rate of growth of spending. The wars must go on even if at home police departments cut back severely or are even eliminated as budget deficits demand radical cuts.