We Americans historically have been fascinated by the drive to the west, but General Petraeus has now informed fighting men and women in Afghanistan that their destiny lies eastward. He made clear US and NATO forces will shift attention from southern regions of Afghanistan and focus more intently to the eastern border with Pakistan. On his last day in uniform before becoming head of the CIA, told troops, the new drive to the east means, “it’s about shifting close-air support. It’s a bout shifting, above all, intelligence, surveillance and recognizance assets.” He believes much has been accomplished in Helmand province,but the time has arrived to focus on the Pakistan based Haqqani network and the terrorist Lashkar-e-Tabia.
When questioned about the wisdom of President Obama announcing troop withdrawals by next year, General Petraeus responded: “that decision has been made… It is our job to get on with it,and doe the absolute best we can.” Of course, if the president had not made the decision to withdraw, Republican presidential candidates would have blasted them for refusing to bring soldiers home from a war begun by a Republican president. Such is the world of politics.