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Pointing to "the shaky, erratic and vague standpoint of the Americans" as one key reason for their decision, Taliban leaders in Afghanistan put the kibosh on plans to meet with U.S. envoys, releasing a statement on Thursday explaining the change of plans.

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While he had visiting Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki close at hand, U.S. President Barack Obama took the opportunity Monday to make congratulatory noises from the podium about the end of the Iraq War and the imminent withdrawal of American troops from Maliki's homeland.

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"Today I can say that our troops in Iraq will definitely be home for the holidays," President Obama declared Friday, helpfully noting that this withdrawal plan makes good on one of his campaign promises. No doubt what he said strikes fear in the hearts of Republican presidential hopefuls and their supporting casts.

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President Obama will be able to say that he kept one of his promises from the ’08 campaign trail come Dec. 31 of this year, when all but 160 American troops will leave Iraq after more than eight years of heavy military involvement (read: war) in the Middle Eastern nation. (more)

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So, now we know Obama's big plan for pulling American troops out of Afghanistan, but it hasn't exactly been well received. This week's "Left, Right & Center" panel -- featuring Tony Blankley, Matt Miller, Robert Scheer and Chrystia Freeland -- offers no exception to the naysaying.

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The many contradictions in President Obama's speech about Afghanistan Wednesday night were perhaps intended to obscure the bottom line: Tens of thousands of American troops will remain for at least three more years, some of them will be maimed or killed, and Obama offered no good reason why.

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