Vice President Biden shifted back into lose cannon mode Sunday, saying U.S. troops would be out of Afghanistan by 2014 and that the U.S. withdrawal next July would not feature a “token” number of troops.
Unfortunately, this is not the strategy of President Obama, who has only said U.S. troops will cede the lead role to Afghani troops by 2014 and that the magnitude July 2011 withdrawal will be based on conditions on the ground.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was forced today into a not unfamiliar role: cleaning up after the vice president.
”I think what the vice president was discussing was — was out combat role,” Gibbs said.
Well, Biden was not making such distinctions, and didn’t really sound like he had them in the back of his mind.
“We are starting it in July 2011 and we are going to be totally out of there, come hell or high water, by 2014,” he said.
As for removing more than a “token” number, Gibbs suggested Biden was simply reflecting a bit of boyish optimism.
“It – it will be determined by conditions on the ground,” Gibbs said. “But I think the – I think that the vice president knows, as many do here, that the president made – the president, in conjunction with the military, worked through a plan a year ago that they think is achievable to – to meet the – to meet the date of July 2011.”