The new policy is send 30k troops for 18 months. Tribal leaders, Taliban leaders you only need to keep your head down for 18 months.
Actually I don't fault Obama for this. Our whole society both left and right are wrong headed about this. The right version of victory is send as many troops as needed, pacify the country like we did Japan and Germany in WWII. The left version is... actually I don't really know what the left wants other than to withdraw alltogether. Probably the main difference between my view and the view of the left is I don't profess to care much about Afghanistan. I am for getting out and I don't particularly care what happens to Afghanistan after that.
What I don't understand is why we are staking our success, our reputation and our ability to inspire fear in those who might want to attack us on whether or not Afghanistan becomes something better than what it is. It is sort of like the top down approach of the central planners in the current government who want to make us all better people with government policy. This is ridiculous. I can improve myself, I can have some effect on my family but making believe we can improve people through government policy is silly. Our Afghan policy is a bit like you or I staking our reputation on whether we can make the methamphetamine dealing family down the street better by sending your son and daughter to go break up their fights. When they get shot are we going to say they died for a cause? Their death was not for nothing?
18 months from now, 18 years from now Afghanistan is still going to be a mess. There is one way Afghanistan will not be a mess 18 years from now, maybe two. They could spontaneously change their ways and become a modern enlightened people. Quantum physicist will tell you virtually nothing has a 0 probability. The second and more likely (but still next to 0% chance) way for this to happen would be to send half a million to a million troops and garrison the country for 20 years or more until people begin to forget their current ways of living. Tens of thousands of american soldiers will die but in the end something will have been accomplished. Whether it will have been worth the cost is another matter. The current policy will mean probably hundreds will die until the insurgent forces make occupying Afghanistan unpopular enough for american poiticians to withdraw. At that point will we say they died for a worthy cause and that because of their sacrifice the world is a better place?