Focus shifts to details of Afpak plan
By Ben Pershing
Two days after President Obama's major Afghanistan speech, the mixed reaction to his new strategy has been leavened by the realization that divides over the policy won't prevent it from happening.
"Despite misgivings, members of Congress seem poised to back President Barack Obama's plan to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan after getting assurances the commitment isn't open-ended," the AP reports. Politico concurs, writing that Democrats "show little appetite for seriously blocking" the strategy "and appear to be looking for ways instead to bridge their differences with the White House." The Hill writes that the remains much "confusion" over whether the Pentagon will need formally to ask Congress for more money for Afghanistan, and until it does, Nancy Pelosi can put off dealing with the widening slit in her own caucus on the war.
The Wall Street Journal focuses on Obama's exit strategy, writing: "Republican critics said setting a firm date for starting a troop withdrawal encourages the enemy to simply wait out the U.S. efforts, and many officials in Afghanistan agreed, calling the timeline unrealistic. Some Democrats, meanwhile, were concerned the deadline wasn't firm enough and that a sizable force would be left in Afghanistan indefinitely." Fred Kaplan reviews Wednesday's Afghanistan hearings on the Hill, writing that they helped answer two questions: "First, what did the president mean when he announced that the 30,000 extra troops he's sending to Afghanistan--some of whom won't arrive until the summer of 2010--will begin to come home in July 2011? Second, how many more troops will the NATO allies send, and how much fighting will they do?" ABC News plays up the fact that Robert Gates told a Senate panel that the 2011 date "is not a 'deadline' or an arbitrary timeline" for withdrawal.
December 3, 2009; 8:34 AM ET
Categories: The Rundown
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