OBAMA ON AFGHANISTAN: NONE OF THE ABOVE?…. As a rule, I’ve grown rather skeptical of anonymously-sourced reports about what President Obama “will do” or “has decided” about the future of U.S. policy in Afghanistan. There’s been plenty of reporting on the process and deliberations, but reliable indications of what’s to come have proven hard to come by.
That said, this AP report suggests the president has been presented with a series of options, none of which he finds compelling.
President Barack Obama won’t accept any of the Afghanistan war options before him without changes, a senior administration official said, as concerns soar over the ability of the Afghan government to secure its own country one day. […]
He remains close to announcing his revamped war strategy — troops are just one component — and probably will do so shortly after he returns from a trip to Asia that ends Nov. 19.
Yet in Wednesday’s pivotal war council meeting, Obama wasn’t satisfied with any of the Afghanistan war options presented by his national security team, one official said.
The president instead pushed for revisions to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government. In turn, that could change the dynamic of both how many additional troops are sent to Afghanistan and what the timeline would be for their presence in the war zone, according to the official.
The president is, not surprisingly, well aware of the effort to dictate the process, and rush him into escalating the U.S. presence. But the more Obama is pushed, the more he’s inclined to push back with a stronger resolve.
The Pentagon won’t like this. Obama’s apparently doing it anyway. Good for him.
The White House call for altered plans coincides with new concerns from Ret. Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, who has put in writing his “reservations about deploying additional troops to the country.” Eikenberry knows of what he speaks: he once served as the top American military commander in the country.
During a meeting yesterday, Obama pressed Eikenberry on his concerns. The NYT said the “central focus” of the president’s questions was “how long it would take to see results and be able to withdraw.” One official added that the president “wants to know where the off-ramps are.”
Don’t we all.