[…] Obama spoke [last] Tuesday of a transition to Afghan control, but we’ve heard that talk for a decade. That’s not some new bright idea that requires two-and-a-half more years to develop.
Obama talked of fighting al Qaeda, but the U.S. has not been fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and has admitted for years that there is virtually no al Qaeda presence there. That’s not the two-year project, and it’s not the reason to remain indefinitely after 2014.
The agreement requires that all “entities” involved in a peace process renounce violence, but the Taliban will no more do that while under foreign occupation than the United States will do so while occupying. This is not a serious plan to leave. Nor is it a plan based on Afghan sovereignty, numerous claims to the contrary notwithstanding. This is a treaty for more years of war, on the model of the Bush-Maliki treaty for Iraq, but with the difference that theirs included an end date.
The agreement says it enters into force when “the Parties notify one another, through diplomatic channels, of the completion of their respective internal legal requirements.” The U.S. Constitution requires ratification by the Senate of all treaties. Congress could insist on its right to approve or reject this, just as the Afghan Parliament will be permitted to do. Or Congress could require withdrawal now, as does bill HR 780, which has 70 cosponsors.