The July 2011 deadline Barack Obama set to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan was supposed to put pressure on Hamid Karzai’s government to step up its efforts to take over security duties. But it's wound up putting at least as much pressure on Obama, according to a harsh front-page story in today’s New York Times. Key political figures and foreign policy experts are questioning the value of the war.
For example Richard Lugar, one of Obama’s foreign policy mentors, recently complained that the war was “proceeding without a clear definition of success.” Congressional Democrats are in almost open revolt, holding up funding requests far longer than they ever did for President Bush. Several countries have set dates to leave Afghanistan completely. “Politically, the support is absolutely crumbling,” says one expert. “You can’t hide that from the players in the region,” which makes them even less cooperative. (Read more Barack Obama stories.)