Pentagon Worried About Afghanistan
[Guest post by DRJ]
President Obama’s commander in Afghanistan, Army General Stanley McChrystal, has filed a report assessing progress in Afghanistan that he described as “serious” but in which “success is achievable.”
Meanwhile, a McClatchy report says this is the 5th assessment Obama has ordered since he was inaugurated. It also notes McChrystal is expected to request that 21,000 to 45,000 more troops be sent to Afghanistan. Pentagon officials are said to be worried that President Obama won’t authorize those additional troops … in part, because of the polls:
“However, administration officials said that amid rising violence and casualties, polls that show a majority of Americans now think the war in Afghanistan isn’t worth fighting. With tough battles ahead on health care, the budget and other issues, Vice President Joe Biden and other officials are increasingly anxious about how the American public would respond to sending additional troops.
The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to talk to the media, said Biden has argued that without sustained support from the American people, the U.S. can’t make the long-term commitment that would be needed to stabilize Afghanistan and dismantle al Qaida. Biden’s office declined to comment.
“I think they (the Obama administration) thought this would be more popular and easier,” a senior Pentagon official said. “We are not getting a Bush-like commitment to this war.”
Is politics playing a role? McChrystal’s current assessment was to have included troop recommendations but political concerns intervened:
“Monday’s assessment initially was to include troop recommendations, but political concerns prompted White House and Pentagon officials to agree that those recommendations would come later, advisers to McChrystal said. Although the White House took a hands-off approach toward Afghanistan earlier this summer, Pentagon officials said they’re now getting more questions about how many troops might be needed and for how long.”
One of the polls the Obama Administration may be worried about is this Washington Post/ABC News poll that shows 70% of Republicans support the war in Afghanistan while 70% of Democrats oppose it. However, as this 8/19/09 Hot Air post notes, Democrats opposed the war in July 2008, too.