And waving our red weapons o'er our heads
Let's all cry 'Peace, Freedom, Liberty!'
Shakespeare - Julius Caesar
I rarely disagree with Filkins, but Obama and Romney's plans aren't nearly identical. Both don't know what would actually stabilize the country, but Romney is open to slowly the withdrawal and hawkish on a post-2014. He could want double or triple Obama's number, which floats between 5,000 and 15,000. Romney's administration would be more hostile to Pakistan as well, and Obama's has been terrible, but this is a big difference going forward. Romney's plan would totally fail to bring even a superficial end to the war, whereas Obama is hoping to slink out without too much damage to himself. Either way the war will continue after 2014, but the intensity will depend on US policy.
A lucid and, I suspect, accurate precis, James. To be fair to the WH it is hard to end wars, even failed ones when the culture of the national security establishment rewards hawkish postures, IMO. The securocracy tends to view anyone who counsels moderation or prudence as some sort of idealist/wimp/surrender monkey. Look at what happened to Ron Paul, one of the few voices who addressed the practicalities and realities of US wars. Ridiculed would be an apposite word. Romney is a dangerous man. Luckily I think he has no chance of victory. I think (hope) America has moved on from the 'freedom isn't free', bumper-sticker policies of the Bush era.