Biden's Doubts on Afghan Strategy Wins Allies

VP's calls for a narrowed mission echo increasing pessimism on war
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 14, 2009 5:21 AM CDT
Joe Biden speaks about his trip to Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and Pakistan earlier this year.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
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(Newser) – Joe Biden was a lone voice of skepticism on Afghanistan strategy after his fact-finding tour there earlier this year, but many in the White House have gradually swung to his point of view. Biden's perspective that the mission should be narrowed is now favored by administration liberals. The position reflects both Biden's own shift in stance from "liberal hawkishness" and the nation's changing mood, analysts tell the New York Times.

Insiders say Biden's position on Afghanistan was strongly influenced by frustration with the Karzai government's corruption and the lessons learned from Iraq—where, as critics note, he supported the invasion and then opposed the surge. Analysts expect that whatever decision President Obama makes on Afghan strategy, Biden's influence will be apparent, much as Dick Cheney's was on President Bush's choices. "They’re both people who are not hobbled by their own ambitions," noted one consultant.