Obama Will Announce the Specifics of a Troop Increase in Afghanistan by Next Week
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AFGHAN ANNOUNCEMENT A WEEK FROM TODAY.... After a lengthy review process, President Obama reportedly has all the information he needs to craft a new U.S. policy towards Afghanistan. We'll hear all about it in a televised address to the nation a week from tonight.
For two hours on Monday evening, Mr. Obama held his ninth meeting in the Situation Room with his war council.... The president's military and national security advisers came back to the president with answers he had requested during previous meetings, most of which focusing on these questions: Where are the off-ramps for the military? And what is the exit strategy?
The conversation settled around sending about 30,000 more American troops, two officials said, the first of whom would deploy early next year to be in place in southern or eastern Afghanistan by the spring. The troop reinforcements would likely be sent in waves, according to an official speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss war strategy. [...]
While the president is expected by several of his advisers to announce sending more than 20,000 new troops - perhaps closer to the 40,000, as recommended by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal - the White House is working to make the announcement more than simply a number of troops. It will include an outline of an exit strategy, officials said.
That last part is obviously key. The decision to send additional troops to Afghanistan will not be popular with many of the president's own supporters, many of whom believe the longest war in American history should come to an end. But if the White House has not only decided on the size of an escalation, but also a larger, revamped strategy that features a light at the end of the tunnel, the administration's new policy may address at least one underlying concern.
Steve Benen is "blogger in chief" of the popular Washington Monthly online blog, Political Animal . His background includes publishing The Carpetbagger Report, and writing for a variety of publications, including Talking Points Memo, The American Prospect, the Huffington Post, and The Guardian. He has also appeared on NPR's "Talk of the Nation," MSNBC's "Rachel Maddow Show," Air America Radio's "Sam Seder Show," and XM Radio's "POTUS '08."