Obama Takes Time on Troop Decisions

Unlike his predecessor.
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 16, 2009 11:07 AM CST
Barack Obama arrives for a meeting with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, unseen, at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Sunday, July 20, 2008.   (AP Photo/Presidential Palace, HO)
camera-icon View 3 more images

(Newser) – Barack Obama is resisting pressure from the Pentagon to swiftly approve a major shift of forces to Afghanistan, Politico reports. For weeks officials have been predicting the new president would, within days, OK the request for 10,000 more troops. Instead Obama has insisted on a methodical strategic review, debating the timetable, mission, and composition of forces, and showing a markedly different approach than his predecessor, who until the surge in 2007, appeared to defer to his commanders.

“I’m personally hopeful that President Obama will do something that President Bush didn’t do particularly well,” said one military police advocate. “He’s thinking through the implications of committing troops, not just for the first order, but the second and third.” Robert Gates called the deliberate pace “entirely appropriate,” and it’s probably a sign that the cautious defense secretary is being heard within the administration.