In his “Initial Message to the Department” newly-stalled Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller signaled that the Pentagon would transition from a leadership role to a supporting role in the fight against Al Qaida, and bring home the troops.
As he notes in the Message dated 13 November:
“As we prepare for the future. we remain committed to finishing the war that Al Qaida brought to our shores in 2001. This war isn’t over. We are on the verge of defeating Al Qaida and its associates, but we must avoid our past strategic error of failing to see the fight through to the finish. Indeed, this fight has been long, our sacrifices have been enormous. and many are weary of war – I’m one of them – but this is the critical phase in which we transition our efforts from a leadership to supporting role. We are not a people of perpetual war – it is the antithesis of everything for which we stand and for which our ancestors fought. All wars must end. Ending wars requires compromise and partnership. We met the challenge; we gave it our all. Now, it’s time to come home.”
After President Donald J. Trump tweeted on 7 October his plan to have all troops home by Christmas, others, including former Secretary of Defense Mark R. Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mark A. Milley, asserted that U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan should be “condition-based.”