Sullivan is an Obamanian true believer, of which there remain many. But not me.
Why would anyone believe that Obama intends to end the Afghan War in three more years? After all the evidence that this is just another political stalling tactic, that's crazy. The American Establishment and the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Presidential Complex fully intend to pacify and occupy Afghanistan for the foreseeable future, because that's what it sees as being in the best interest of the American Empire.
And yes, Obama, we ARE an empire, the world's greatest since we inherited the mantle from the British after WWII. And the Establishment doesn't really want that to end, because it has been the primary source of our massive wealth and power. Afghanistan does so many things for us: it gives us a place from which to squeeze the Iranians, oversee Chinese activities, prevent Russia from reconstituting its empire, provide passage for Central Asian oil, etc. 'Zbig' called it the lynchpin of our foreign policy in the new century (The Grand Chessboard).
Forget Al-Qaeda, they're our guys. That's the big secret that few people get, but it's the key to this whole puzzle. Truth be told, our covert operatives have controlled them like pawns since we first oversaw their creation in the late 70s and early 80s--that was (again) Zbigniew Brzezinski's big idea. (Hell, that's not even a controversial statement, everyone admits that, though few people actually remember it now.) And frankly, A-Qaeda has done very little without our approval (including, in my opinion, 9/11, which very conveniently served our imperial purposes).
Al-Qaeda--with or without Bin Laden--remains our convenient pawn and scapegoat. They ramp up fear in our people so that we can continue our imperial ways around the world without populist opposition. And predictably, Obama used them once again last night as part of the rationale to remain the occupiers and destroyers of Afghanistan. And he'll use them the same way wherever he needs to around the world. They're the big 'Boogie Man' that our government uses to scare the American people when they start getting uppity. In fact, I wouldn't be at all surprised that an Al Qaeda 'attack' within the US occurs very soon, so as to pacify and immobilize the increasingly frustrated American people.
The face of Pax Americana--the US President--can (1) never admit that we are an empire, and (2) never act to end our imperial ways, because of the tidal imperial forces that control and dictate his/her actions. But in the case of Obama, I've come to believe that, far from opposing the empire, he is fully in agreement with it. I felt that the moment I saw him oohing and awwing over the accoutrements of Air Force One. He loves it. And of course, why wouldn't you, if you have no real identity.
We were sold a bill of goods with this guy. He was supposed to be our black Franklin Roosevelt (Jonathan Alter, The Defining Moment), the magnanimous, selfless Savior of our country and the world. I believed it (although there was always a place in my heart that remained skeptical). The Nobel Peace Committee sure got sucked into this story line, giving him a Peace Prize before he had even had a chance to do anything to earn it. At the time, I suggested that he refuse the prize until he earned it. I hope the Nobel Committee is ashamed of itself now.