Blogs » Politcs Plus » President Obama considers a strategy shift in Afghanistan


Despite an expected request for more troops in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama is seeking alternatives, according to the New York Times. Bob Woodward of the Washington Post is holding onto a damaging report of our efforts in Afghanistan. It is set to be released tomorrow after 98% of the material was declassified. Perhaps this is why, General McChrystal believes the only way to avoid defeat in Afghanistan is to significantly increase US troop levels to safeguard the population, fight the Taliban and reconstruct the country's civilian infrastructure - a strategy endorsed by Mr. Obama in a speech on March 27… Since that particular speech, President Obama has met with his top advisers on September 13 to explore new alternatives. Those in that meeting, included, Vice President Biden. Defense Secretary Robert Gates Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; national security adviser; James Jones and Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The group never met a consensus but more meetings or in the planning.

Vice President Joe Biden is suggesting revamping the strategy altogether, instead of protecting the Afghan population from the Taliban, he is suggesting that we scale back the American military presence and concentrate on Al Qaeda cells, primarily in Pakistan using special forces, predator missile attacks and surgical tactics. Mr. Biden said we are spending $30 in Afghanistan for every dollar in Pakistan, where the main threat is.

Bruce Riedel, who led the administration strategy review of Afghanistan and Pakistan earlier this year, said "a counterinsurgency strategy will only work if you have a credible and legitimate Afghan partner, that is in doubt now.”After the fraudulent election, I'm inclined to believe him.

On the other side, former Defense Secretary William S. Cohen said “the problem for President Obama, is he has made the case in the past that we took our eye off the ball, and we should have stayed in Afghanistan.”…Mr. Cohen went onto say “Now that he is in charge he doesn't have much in the way of options and time is of the essence.” He added "the longer you wait, the harder; it will be to reverse it.” Could this be that test every new president will have, that Joe Biden was talking about? The McClatchy Papers is reporting that General McChrystal feels so strong about his decision that he might resign, if the president does not increase troop levels.

I guess you would be hard-pressed to find a general they did not want to continue a war because, when you consider our superior military force, the possibility of losing a war should not even be considered. On the other hand, we really don't have the troops or the money for another long open-ended war.

This is the unclassified assessment: