Slip Sliding Away
Barack Obama, Tuesday:
these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011.
Robert Gibbs, Wednesday:
After the briefing, Gibbs went to the president for clarification. Gibbs then called me to his office to relate what the president said. The president told him it IS locked in – there is no flexibility. Troops WILL start coming home in July 2011. Period. It’s etched in stone. Gibbs said he even had the chisel.
Robert Gates, Sunday:
Because we will have a significant — we will have 100,000 forces — troops there. And they are not leaving — in July of 2011. Some handful or some small number or whatever the conditions permit, we’ll begin to withdraw at that time.