While breaking news travels literally at the speed of light, the hours-old announcement by Barack Obama that American combat troops are not only going to remain in Afghanistan, but staying in-country even after he leaves the White House, is arguably considered by many as old news. Despite the Commander-in-Chief’s announcement widely reported by the legacy media, what’s not being mentioned is that Team Obama promised on live television that American troops would be out of the Central Asian nation as of 2014.
As both Matthew Rosenberg and Michael D. Shear collaborated on their New York Times report on Oct. 15, 2015, Obama told the nation and the world that 9,800 US troops would remain in Afghanistan through 2016, and after leaving the Oval Office in January of 2017, there will still be 5,500 of our troops in-country, ostensibly engaged in a simultaneous training mission of Afghan troops, and also involved in a combat mission against a growing ISIS, al-Qaeda, and Taliban resurgence.
However, not much ink is being spilled regarding Team Obama’s vow during the 2012 campaign to be completely out of Afghanistan by 2014. As seen on the Youtube video of the Oct. 11, 2012 Vice Presidential Debate between incumbent Vice President Joe Biden and challenger Rep. Paul Ryan, the Veep matter-of-factly stated, “That’s why with 49 of our allies in Afghanistan, we’ve agreed on a gradual drawdown so we’re out of there by the year 20 — in the year 2014. My friend [Rep. Ryan] and the governor [Mitt Romney] say it’s based on conditions, which means it depends. It does not depend for us. … But we are leaving. We are leaving in 2014. Period.”
Scooping the Western press, Satur C. Ocampo of The Philippine Star reported on Nov. 29, 2014, “What of Afghanistan? Obama has reneged on his promised troop pullout by end-December 2014. He has authorized 9,800 US troops, along with 3,000 NATO soldiers, to stay until 2015 to carry out combat missions against ‘militant groups.'” Interestingly enough, reporters Kay Johnson and Mirwais Harooni of Reuters gave a somewhat softer example of journalism on Nov. 30, 2014 when they reported that only that a “few thousand” American combat forces would remain in-country past 2014. Johnson and Harooni made no mention of the 2012 campaign promise to have all American troops withdrawn.
With the announcement by Obama of the lengthening of the American combat mission in Afghanistan, the time in the Afghan theater of war will be at least 14-years long. Nine of those years will be under Obama’s watch.
During the course of Coalition combat operations, almost three times more Americans have died in Afghanistan under Obama than during the Bush years. As cited by iCasualties.org, during the Bush years there were 1,049 Coalition combat deaths, 630 of therm were Americans. Under Obama’s watch there have been 2,457 Coalition deaths. Of those, 1,742 were American.