Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Premature declaration of victory

New US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has said the US is "within reach of strategically defeating al-Qaeda".

Mr Panetta said that following the killing of Osama Bin Laden, key leaders in Pakistan, Yemen and elsewhere had been identified and would be targeted.

He offered the upbeat assessment during his first visit to Afghanistan since taking over at the Pentagon last week.

That was not a military assessment.

That was a political statement designed to give cover to various troop movement decisions.

Notice the caveat - - al-Qaida is not "defeated", they are "within reach" of being "strategically" defeated. The caveat destroys the apparent meaning of the word "defeated".

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