I doubt the public apology from the President will have the intended effect. Maybe advise and assist was just a cover for withdrawal, a bump on the road to the currently planned way out. There is a high likelihood of leaving Afghanistan much as we found it: very poor and tribal, wracked by conflict, and a strategic backyard for other interests. The Taliban and other militia groups could gain back political control, making it hard to have enough political stability for greater economic opportunity (the Chinese will likely just take what they need, capitalizing on our efforts). A space for terrorist activity could appear again which neither the Jirgas nor the current Afghan government would have incentive/interest enough to stop, even if they could.
Tom Ricks offers a possibly new strategy, but the underlying logic remains: no sitting U.S. President can allow a place where known terrorists have safe haven to plot and carry out attacks on our soil, without taking some action.
Related On This Site: This blog is at least two years behind events in Afghanistan, if it’s on them at all. From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And Pakistan…Stephen Biddle At Foreign Affairs: ‘Running Out Of Time For Afghan Governance Reform’