This week, President Obama announced a faster-than-expected drawdown in Afghanistan. Will withdrawing 10,000 troops by the end of the year give the military enough time to accomplish its goals during the spring fighting season? What do you think about Obama's overall plan to withdraw all 33,000 "surge" troops by the end of next summer? Does it risk jeopardizing recent gains, strike the right balance, or still leave too many troops there? Afghan war commander Gen. David Petraeus acknowledged this week the drawdown's timetable was more "aggressive" than he would prefer--but the military would "nevertheless salute smartly and do everything humanly possible to execute it." Petraeus had urged the president to keep the remaining 23,000 reinforcements in Afghanistan through the end of 2012. How significant is this difference of just a few months?
Overall, is the counterinsurgency plan working? COIN proponents would argue that the strategy--winning over the Afghan population with kindness, aid, and a multibillion-dollar policy to "clear, hold, and build" towns and villages while ruthlessly killing off insurgents--is just starting to succeed. Others, especially in light of the success of the Osama bin Laden raid, are pushing for a shift to counterterrorism strategy instead. What do you think?