After much dithering, President Obama is set to deliver his speech at West Point tonight announcing a 30,000 troop deployment to Afghanistan.
While Obama took his sweet time, our men and women in uniform will now be sent scrambling. Wait, wait, wait..now, hurry up!
President Obama has decided to expedite the deployment of 30,000 additional American troops to Afghanistan over the next six months, in an effort to reverse the momentum of Taliban gains and create urgency for the government in Kabul to match the American surge with one using its own forces, according to senior administration officials.
In bringing the total American force to nearly 100,000 troops by the end of May, the administration will move far faster than it had originally planned. Until recently, discussions focused on a deployment that would take a year, but Mr. Obama concluded that the situation required “more, sooner,” as one official said, explaining some of the central conclusions Mr. Obama reached at the end of a nearly three-month review of American war strategy.
… The new strategy draws heavily on lessons learned from President George W. Bush’s “surge” and strategy shift in Iraq in 2007, which Mr. Obama opposed as a senator and presidential candidate. Mr. Obama’s advisers are even referring to his troop buildup as an “extended surge.”
However officials said that Mr. Obama in his speech will give a time frame — something Mr. Bush did not do — for when the United States will start pulling the reinforcements out and begin turning over security responsibilities to Afghan forces one province at a time.
Mr. Obama’s aides would not say how specific he would be on Tuesday night about the time frame of the American presence. But clearly it would be well more than a year. That would take him to 2011 or 2012 — when Mr. Obama is up for re-election — before the troop levels would begin to fall again to fulfill the president’s oft-repeated assertion that he would offer no “open-ended commitment” to the Afghan government.
It is that date that is bound to be the focus of attention for his own party, at a time when many Democrats are openly opposed to sending more troops. Some have questioned how Mr. Obama can simultaneously argue for a troop increase and a relatively quick pull-back. But in interviews, administration officials said that without the accelerated deployment, there was little hope of being able to stabilize the situation in the region enough to start withdrawals.
“This is to speed the process,” one said.
If you haven’t watched the video of VP Cheney’s remarks blasting Obama for projecting weakness, go here.
Somebody needs to say it.
John Hood sums up The Obama Doctrine: “We Surrender” — Pretty Soon.