President Obama revealed a new Afghanistan exit timeline yesterday, and with it confirmed "what everybody already knew: the war against the Taliban is not one that the US believes it can win, so we're going to stop trying," writes Max Fisher at Vox. That might not be such a bad thing for Americans—who are "understandably sick and tired of a war that has cost them so much and yielded so little." But most Afghans that Fisher has talked to were hoping America would stay as a bulwark against the Taliban.
For Amy Davidson at the New Yorker, the withdrawal can't come soon enough. "This is how wars end in the twenty-first century," Obama said yesterday, but to Davidson it sounded more like "how wars—or at least America's wars—continue in the twenty-first century," with residual forces like the 10,000 Obama is leaving lingering on, past weightless milestones toward nebulous goals. Those complaining that the 2016 total withdrawal deadline is arbitrary—see this Washington Post op-ed for an example—need to recognize the quiet triumph in definitively ending something. "Would it help if there were fireworks?"