Here’s the President’s quote – “The goal that I set, to defeat Al Qaeda and deny it the chance to rebuild, is now within our reach.”
So I’m former military, but I’m hardly an expert of the differences in military strategy. Heck, when it came to Air Command and Staff College (the professional military education course you need to take as a major) I did just the minimum to pass the required sections. I also don’t have any inside knowledge of what the focus in the last year or so has been in Afghanistan. As I understood it, at least, after 9/11 we were there in a counter-terrorism role (CT) to get after al-Qaeda. That later morphed into counter-insurgency (COIN) as we adjusted to being there long term and making sure we didn’t “lose” like we did in Vietnam. I think many figure a COIN strategy keeps us there looooong term, while a CT strategy can give us the “win” we’re looking for while still allowing us to get the heck out of that country. So when I see the President’s quote above, that sounds to me like we’re fully on board with changing (if we haven’t already) to a CT course. We took out al-Qaeda, we win!
And just for the record, I support whatever gets us out of Afghanistan sooner, so I say, go CT!