Obama To Announce Afghanistan Plans Within Days
Shortly after Thanksgiving, we should know what the President has decided to do in Afghanistan:
WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama held a final strategy session with top aides on whether to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan and plans to announce his decision within days, the White House said.
NBC News reported that Dec. 1 was the “likely” date of the announcement, which was expected to be made in a primetime speech instead of an Oval address.
The session in the Situation Room on Monday with officials including Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates marked the ninth such meeting.
Obama is nearing a decision on whether to add as many as 40,000 troops to an eight-year-old war that began after the Sept. 11 attacks and has begun to try the patience of Americans.
“After completing a rigorous final meeting, President Obama has the information he wants and needs to make his decision and he will announce that decision within days,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in an e-mail.
According to one report, the decision will involve sending another 34,000 troops to war:
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama met Monday evening with his national security team to finalize a plan to dispatch some 34,000 additional U.S. troops over the next year to what he’s called “a war of necessity” in Afghanistan, U.S. officials told McClatchy.
Obama is expected to announce his long-awaited decision on Dec. 1, followed by meetings on Capitol Hill aimed at winning congressional support amid opposition by some Democrats who are worried about the strain on the U.S. Treasury and whether Afghanistan has become a quagmire, the officials said.
The U.S. officials all spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the issue publicly and because, one official said, the White House is incensed by leaks on its Afghanistan policy that didn’t originate in the White House.
They said the commander of the U.S.-led international force in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, could arrive in Washington as early as Sunday to participate in the rollout of the new plan, including testifying before Congress toward the end of next week. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry also are expected to appear before congressional committees.
As it now stands, the plan calls for the deployment over a nine-month period beginning in March of three Army brigades from the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., and the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y., and a Marine brigade from Camp Lejeune, N.C., for as many as 23,000 additional combat and support troops.
Let’s hope this works. I’m not optimistic.