[Guest post by DRJ]
The Washington Post reports President Obama may not decide whether to send more troops to Afghanistan until after he returns from his trip to Asia scheduled for November 11-20:
“Asked if Obama’s review was drawing to an end, Gibbs said: “I think it’s nearing its conclusion, yes.”
He left unclear whether Obama would announce his new plan immediately after Afghanistan’s November 7 presidential election runoff or wait until after he returns from a November 11-20 Asia trip.”
McChrystal’s report requesting 40,000+ more troops was in the Pentagon August 30, 2009 but transmittal to the President was reportedly delayed for political reasons. That’s three more months of dithering … or to the Obama Administration, three more months meetings, reports, and assessments.
Given recent reports and events, there’s no doubt in my mind Obama is laying the groundwork to deny McChrystal’s full request. First there was a New York Times report that Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s brother has been involved with the CIA and is an influential but possibly corrupt player in Afghanistan. The Times would be a good place for the Administration to leak such a story, especially if it suggests American lives and money may be wasted in Afghanistan.
Then there was Obama’s trip to Dover Air Force Base last week to honor returning American troops killed in battle, a trip on which Obama callously took along the media to document in photos and words the ultimate tragedy of war. As Hot Air and others noted, the New York Times’ reporter may have been too obvious in making the point of Obama’s visit clear:
“Originally, the New York Times reported on President Barack Obama’s visit to Dover AFB and the arrival of fallen serviceman by explaining that the White House wanted Obama to be seen as concerned and aware of the sacrifices made in America’s war policies:
A small contingent of reporters and photographers accompanied Mr. Obama to Dover, where he arrived at 12:34 a.m. aboard Marine One. He returned to the South Lawn of the White House at 4:45 a.m.
The images and the sentiment of the president’s five-hour trip to Delaware were intended by the White House to convey to the nation that Mr. Obama was not making his Afghanistan decision lightly or in haste.
Following that link now, the second paragraph quoted is nowhere to be seen.”
Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton engaged in some blunt talk in Pakistan. Her comments indicate she, and almost certainly the Administration she speaks for, believe America’s al Qaeda enemies are really in Pakistan. This opens the door for Obama to claim America’s real enemies aren’t in Afghanistan.
In August, President Obama told a military audience Afghanistan was a “war of necessity” he vowed to fight. But as Michael Barone said last month, apparently now it’s no longer necessary.