troop levels

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In Afghanistan Debate, Obama Focuses on Exit

White House wants to make sure surge will enable handover

(Newser) - The Obama administration’s extended ruminations on an Afghan surge aren’t really over how many troops to send in—they’re about how they’ll get those troops out. Obama’s main problem with the initial military plan was that it seemed too open ended, administration sources tell Gerald... More »

Pentagon Holds Secret Afghan War Games

Mullen leads exercise to assess effects of troop surge

(Newser) - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, led a secret war game earlier this month to assess the Obama administration's options in Afghanistan, including a 44,000-troop surge. A team of military leaders used Gen. Stanley McChrystal's analysis to examine how Taliban insurgents and the Afghan... More »

McCain: Afghan Call Can't Wait

Troops decision dominates, but everybody backs away from 'dithering' Cheney

(Newser) - The pace of President Obama's decision on troop levels in Afghanistan again dominated the Sunday dial. John McCain told Face the Nation that Obama should move regardless of the Nov. 7 runoff's outcome: "Every day we delay will be a delay in this strategy succeeding.” Orrin Hatch... More »

Public Thinks Obama's Clueless on Afghanistan

Deeply divided country leaves president between rock, hard place

(Newser) - When it comes to the Afghan war, Barack Obama is between a rock and a hard place politically. Only 45% of the public approves of his handling of it, down 10 percentage points from last month, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll, and a whopping 63% don’t... More »

'Irresponsible' to Send Troops Without Election Results: Kerry

Says Afghan leadership needs to be in place

(Newser) - The US is in no position to send more troops to Afghanistan with that country's presidential election still up in the air, Sen. John Kerry told State of the Union in an interview yesterday. Speaking from Kabul ahead of an announcement on whether a runoff would be held, the Senate... More »

Britain to Send 500 More Troops to Afghanistan

Expects other NATO countries to follow suit

(Newser) - Britain will send 500 more troops to Afghanistan, Gordon Brown is expected to announce today, defying calls to reduce Britain’s presence there. The men will come with strings attached, however: “The prime minister will want assurances from military chiefs that the extra troops will be properly equipped,”... More »

Pentagon Downplays 13K Surge in Afghan Support Troops

Extra thousands swell US numbers in Afghanistan

(Newser) - When does 21,000 equal 34,000? When the Pentagon is counting. The 21,000 additional troops President Obama approved for Afghanistan earlier this year have been accompanied by 13,000 extra support troops, bringing the total number in Afghanistan to nearly 68,000. Pentagon and White House officials have... More »

Pres. Hamlet Must Send in His Troops

Krauthammer: Dems have to get serious about Afghanistan

(Newser) - It’s time for Democrats, particularly President Obama, to get serious about the war in Afghanistan, writes Charles Krauthammer. From John Kerry on, Democrats have campaigned on the cynical political calculation that Afghanistan was the “good war.” But now that it’s time to send troops into that... More »

Petraeus Goes Quiet, for Good or Ill

Face of Iraq surge disappears in Afghanistan debate

(Newser) - By the end of George W. Bush's second term David Petraeus was the country's most famous military man, carpeting the media with interviews and pressing the flesh on Capitol Hill. The general who personified the Iraq troop surge is still around, and spoke up in strategy sessions with Barack Obama... More »

Obama May Need GOP to Send More Troops

Democrats uneasy about Afghan buildup

(Newser) - If President Obama decides to go along with Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s request for 40,000 more troops in Afghanistan, he’s probably going to need Republican help to do it. Democrats are increasingly opposed to the buildup, with party leaders telling the Washington Post they worry that more American... More »

Gates, Jones Split on Afghan Troop Timetable

DoD chief: decision in 'a few weeks'; general says 'no deadline'

(Newser) - The White House appears slightly out of sync on when exactly it expects to make a decision on troop levels in Afghanistan. "I don't have a deadline in my mind," national security adviser James Jones told Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, adding, "The most important thing... More »

Clinton: Obama Not 'Dissing' McChrystal on Troops

Former first couple dominates Sunday morning shows

(Newser) - Bill Clinton came to President Obama's defense today, saying on Meet the Press that the president isn't "dissing" Gen. Stanley McChrystal's request for more troops in Afghanistan. Both Clintons emphasized that settling the Afghan election is vital in determining whether the US has a legitimate partner in Hamid Karzai.... More »

Obama May Boost Drones Instead of Troops

Shifting focus to Pakistan may avoid increasing forces

(Newser) - The White House is looking at expanding counterterror operations in Pakistan as an alternative to a major military escalation in Afghanistan, two senior officials tell the AP. The military would rely on armed drones that could contain al-Qaeda in a smaller, if more remote, area and keep its leaders from... More »

McChrystal: US 'Will Fail' Without More Afghan Troops

Blunt warnings bared in secret Pentagon report

(Newser) - Afghanistan's top commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal made a blunt request for more troops in a confidential report to the Pentagon last month, warning that without more forces the war "will likely result in failure." The 66-page report, obtained by Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, contains repeated... More »

Obama 'Skeptical' About More Troops in Afghanistan

Pres calls Russians 'paranoid' and refuses to comment on ACORN

(Newser) - If it’s Sunday, it’s President Obama, who took to five Sunday talk shows today (including Univision, but excluding Fox) to promote his agenda. Among the highlights:
  • Obama warned US commanders on This Week he’s “skeptical” that more US troops in Afghanistan will make a difference.
  • On
... More »

Obama May Need the GOP on Afghan War

Republicans line up behind troop increases, while Democrats balk

(Newser) - If President Obama decides to send more troops to Afghanistan, based on Gen. Stanley McChrystal's grim review, he may have to rely on Republicans and not Democrats for support, writes the New York Times. The original narrative of the "good war" has faded over eight years, and August's... More »

US to Beef Up Afghanistan Combat Force

Up to 14K fighters swap places with noncombatant troops

(Newser) - The Pentagon will add up to 14,000 combat troops to its Afghanistan force, replacing noncombatant support units with more "trigger-pullers" as casualties continue to climb. With support for the war waning, the Defense Department's "force optimization" plan will not increase the number of US troops, and... More »

Afghan Report Pressures Prez for More Troops

Where military sees inadequate resources, Dem base sees hopeless mire

(Newser) - As he heads to Camp David tomorrow, with General Stanley McChrystal's assessment of the situation in Afghanistan under his arm, President Obama faces a political minefield. The grim report lays the groundwork for deploying more troops to Afghanistan, the New York Times reports, adding pressure on the president, who must... More »

McChrystal: US Is Failing in Afghanistan

General wants more Taliban engagement, warns of losing citizens' support

(Newser) - The US military's strategy in Afghanistan is failing, Gen. Stanley McChrystal will tell commanders in Washington today. A copy of the US commander's remarks leaked to the BBC compares the military to a bull charging at a matador—losing strength with each individual cut. McChrystal's report says Afghans are suffering... More »

US Commanders: We Need More Troops in Afghanistan

(Newser) - American military officials leading the NATO mission in Afghanistan told the Obama administration they need more troops to do their job, compounding Washington's headaches in the wake of an allegedly fraudulent presidential election. Support for the Afghan war is diving among Americans, and several US senators said this weekend that... More »

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