So about that leaving Afghanistan by 2015 plan? Not so much. The US has now secured a new status of forces agreement that will keep the war going in Afghanistan indefinitely. Of course, given the US is back in Iraq after losing a status of forces agreement maybe these agreements are mostly symbolic anyway. If so, the symbolism could not clearer – the US has taken up permanent residence in Afghanistan.

And so should end the DC press’ parlor game of whether or not America is “getting out” of the Middle East. It is debatable as to whether it was even possible given the contours of our current political and economic system, but now we know it is definitely not going to happen.

Instead, the US will continue its direct military involvement in Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Syria. Because if the last decade has proved anything it’s that US intervention in the Middle East leads to more US intervention in the Middle East.

The deal, known as a bilateral security agreement, will allow 9,800 American and at least 2,000 NATO troops to remain in Afghanistan after the international combat mission formally ends on Dec. 31. Most of them will help train and assist the struggling Afghan security forces, although some American Special Operations forces will remain to conduct counterterrorism missions…

After signing the pact in Kabul, the American ambassador, James B. Cunningham, firmly embraced Hanif Atmar, the new Afghan security adviser, who signed for his country. And in Washington, Mr. Obama said the agreement reflected a “continued commitment to support the new Afghan unity government.”

In other words, the US will be pumping billions into Afghanistan so the Afghans can buy US military equipment while also conducting extensive special operations missions in hopes of keeping the still raging Taliban insurgency down to a manageable level. And, should that not work, except more US involvement to protect the “unity government.”

So, really, nothing is changing other than a possibly temporary reduction in ground troops. Today it seems US wars are never won or lost so much as demarcated by when a newsworthy amount of troops have been sent in or sent out. Forward?

Photo by US Army under public domain.

Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.