It appears that The Won has finally made a decision about Afghanistan. From McClatchy:
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.
General Stanley McChrystal gave Obama three options, a low-risk option of 80,000 troops, a medium-risk option of 40,000 troops and a high-risk option of 20,000 troops. Obama decision seems to fall short of the medium risk option and it will be interesting to hear his decision why. Here is the breakdown of the troops Obama will send:
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.
In addition, a 7,000-strong division headquarters would be sent to take command of U.S.-led NATO forces in southern Afghanistan — to which the U.S. has long been committed — and 4,000 U.S. military trainers would be dispatched to help accelerate an expansion of the Afghan army and police.
But what is rather disturbing is that the plan contains “off-ramps”. These are dates for Obama to decide whether to continue the flow of troops or to retreat.
The administration's plan contains "off-ramps," points starting next June at which Obama could decide to continue the flow of troops, halt the deployments and adopt a more limited strategy or "begin looking very quickly at exiting" the country, depending on political and military progress, one defense official said.
I just don’t understand the need to announce to your enemies when and why you will throw in the towel. It should seem quite obvious that if the Taliban wants us out of Afghanistan all they have to do is intensify the fighting over the next six months. Furthermore, the whole idea behind McChrystal’s surge is to gain confidence from the Afghan people so that they will begin helping US forces. Why should they help out if our commitment is so tentative? It would be far safer for them to wait the six months to make sure we stay.
Something tells me come June 1, we will be packing it in under the banner of defeat and the White House claiming it was Bush’s fault.