General’s Afghan report crystallizes Obama’s dilemma on Afghanistan

By Branko Brkic 22 September 2009

Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s recent report, calling for a revamped counterinsurgency strategy with more combat troops and offering an indictment of American-led NATO military operations and a corrupt Afghan civilian government, is catalyzing Obama’s thinking on this war. Obama is facing a deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, growing opposition to the war at home from Democrats and a desire to put off any major troop decision while he still needs much political capital to pass major health care legislation in Congress.  Nonetheless, he will find it hard to decline McChrystal’s pleas.  Obama has called Afghanistan a “war of necessity,” in much the same way George W. Bush did after the Sept. 11.  The conclusion McChrystal lays out, "The status quo will lead to failure" - poses a stark and urgent choice for Obama: Intensify the foundering conflict with more troops or narrow the mission to targeting terrorists.  This report became public in ‘The Washington Post’ on Monday.

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