MSNBC's Rachel Maddow has spent the last week embedded with US troops in Afghanistan and has discovered that a withdrawal deadline is absolutely neces
July 6, 2010

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow has spent the last week embedded with US troops in Afghanistan and has discovered that a withdrawal deadline is absolutely necessary to complete the mission.

Maddow talked to NBC's Ann Curry Tuesday after touring the city of Kandahar.

"We've been hearing for a long time that the Kandahar offensive has been delayed," said Maddow. "It's been pushed back. That's the common wisdom, I think, in American circles. It's very clear here in Afghanistan that it's very much under way. It hasn't been delayed. It just doesn't look like a war movie."

"What you're looking at is setting up Afghan governance and there's a sense of urgency to do that because of the American deadline to start leaving next summer," she explained.

"There have been a lot of critics who have said that deadline doesn't make sense in terms of military strategy. But I think that's only true if you think of war, this kind of war, as if it's some kind of D-Day every day. It's really not like that. Counterinsurgency doesn't look like that," Maddow continued.

"The point of this counterinsurgency strategy is to set up an Afghan government so Afghanistan is essentially hardened against the Taliban coming back into power and against Afghanistan again linking up with these extremist groups," she said.

"The deadline is not for military strategy in pure military terms. The deadline is so the Afghan government feels like they've really got to get their act together and stand up and get it done."

"I have to tell you that the counterinsurgency doctrine may not work. It may not work no matter what we do to try to try to set up the Afghan government here, but it definitely won't work without a deadline at least in Kandahar, not based on what I've seen after this latest embedding," Maddow told Curry.

Critics have called the 2011 deadline to begin withdrawing troops a mistake.

"I'm concerned about the perception of our friends and our enemies as well as the people in Afghanistan, as to the depth of our commitment," Sen. John McCain told ABC's Jake Tapper Sunday.

"I know enough about what strategy and tactics are about. If you tell the enemy that you’re leaving on a date certain, unequivocally, then that enemy will wait until you leave," he said.

Sen. Joe Lieberman also hopes that as the deadline nears Gen. David Petraeus and Obama will change their minds.

"The President has come some distance now in the last couple of weeks and clarified that. Whatever we do in July of 2011 will be based on conditions on the ground at the time," he told Fox News' Major Garrett Sunday.

"You know, the President made the right decision last December that America has a vital, national security interest on the line here in Afghanistan. We've got to win it. And therefore, you don't put that on a timeline," said Lieberman.

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