Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James T. Conway speaks with Brig. Gen. Larry D. Nicholson, the commanding general of Marine Expeditionary Brigade-Afghanistan, at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan.
Gen. James Conway, the head Marine in charge, says of the president’s promise to withdraw troops from Afghanistan by next summer: “In some ways, we think right now it’s probably giving our enemy sustenance.”
General Conway said that he did not believe that conditions would be right in Helmand and Kandahar to hand over to Afghan forces for a few years. And he suggested the president’s date for the beginning of the withdrawal gave the wrong signal. It’s worth quoting at length:
“In terms of the July ‘11 issue, you know, I think if you—if you follow it closely, and of course we all do, we know the president was talking to several audiences at the same time when he made his comments on July 2011. In some ways, we think right now it’s probably giving our enemy sustenance. We think that he may be saying to himself—in fact we’ve intercepted communications that say, ‘Hey, you know, we only have to hold out for so long.’”