If this article is accurate, Trump is now fully a captive of the swamp. The Afghanistan misadventure has no purpose, no focus, and no goal. The Taliban and the Islamic State and other forces that want the Americans out are never going to give up, and there is no chance whatsoever that Afghanistan is going to become a stable, secular republic granting equality of rights to women and non-Muslims. Numerous American troops have been murdered by their Afghan “allies” whom they were trying to train. There is simply no way to distinguish Afghan forces who are actually on our side from jihadist infiltrators. Instead of increasing our commitment there, which is only going to destroy more lives and waste more money, Trump should be pulling our troops out and working on containing the jihadis there. But the swamp has prevailed.
“Trump’s Afghanistan Speech Kicks Off Post-Bannon White House Era,” by Ros Krasny, Bloomberg, August 20, 2017:
Donald Trump will make a prime-time speech about Afghanistan and South Asia on Monday as he looks to get his presidency back on track following the departure of chief strategist Stephen Bannon and a week of tumult over his response to white-nationalist violence.
The president ends his 17-day “working vacation,” spent largely at his golf resort in New Jersey, and returns to Washington Sunday night with his popularity at a low ebb. Monday night, he’ll “address our nation’s troops and the American people” at 9 p.m. Washington time, according to a White House statement….
Details of the revised U.S. Afghanistan policy were hashed out Friday at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, where Trump assembled his defense and national security teams for an hours-long meeting.
“Important day spent at Camp David with our very talented Generals and military leaders. Many decisions made, including on Afghanistan,” Trump said Saturday on Twitter.
A key point is whether Trump is prepared to commit more troops to America’s longest-running conflict, which the U.S. initiated after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Bannon, who opposed an expanding presence, wasn’t at the Camp David meeting and departed as Trump’s chief strategist on Aug. 18.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster back a proposal to add troops focused on training Afghan special forces. It’s intended to show a U.S. commitment to stay in the country, prod Taliban fighters to the negotiating table and stem the increased presence of terrorist groups including Islamic State.
Mattis was careful not to preempt his boss on the Afghanistan speech when he spoke to reporters on a military aircraft Sunday en route to Amman. He said he was satisfied with the process of formulating the new war strategy while not giving details….