On the issue of troop levels in Afghanistan, the president said: “Last year, we removed 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Another 23,000 will leave by the end of the summer.”
That, of course, is accurate.
Here’s what he didn’t say:
When he took office in January 2009, there were 36,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan. He basically tripled that number to well over 100,000 troops.
Now, there are 90,000, and that number will go down to about 67,000 by the end of this summer. But that’s still nearly twice as many as when he took office.
I think it’s fair to say that Afghanistan is now clearly his war.
The president also didn’t tell us last night how many troops will remain in Afghanistan starting in 2015. He didn’t tell us whether those troops will have immunity from Afghan prosecution. He also didn’t say how many billions of dollars U.S. taxpayers will continue spending in Afghanistan until 2024, when the newly signed U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement expires.