The Senate Armed Services Committee questioned General David Petraeus and Michele Flournoy about the ObamAdmin’s Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy. Can you make sense of this?

Sen. Jim Webb, D-Virginia, wanted to know what will indicate that the United States can end its involvement in military operations in the region. “I think a key point of defining success is when both the Afghans and Pakistanis have both the capability and the will to deal with the remaining threat by themselves,” Flournoy said. “(When) the period of extraordinary intervention and assistance comes to a transition point and we go to a more long-term, normal development assistance relationship with both countries. When we have reduced the threat and built that capacity locally to the point where they can be much more self-reliant in managing this problem.”

I have emphasized the phrases that are ridiculously vague. Really, the entire statement is vague, but these turn the vagueness up to eleven.

What Flournoy is really saying: U.S. forces will be in Afghanistan and Pakistan for as long as both countries are politically unstable and incapable of crushing “extremists” (another vague term) who threaten the viability of the governments whom Western powers prefer as managers of client states.

So, ya know, another ten years. Not counting the decades the U.S. will maintain a military presence comparable to bases in South Korea. And Iraq.

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