Obama Rethinks Afghan War

As President mulls change of tack, military wishes he'd mull a bit faster
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2009 11:57 AM CDT
President Obama stands with Paul and Janet Monti as he posthumously awards their son, Army Sgt. 1st. Class Jared C. Monti, the Medal of Honor for his service in Afghanistan, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2009.    (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – With Gen. Stanley McChrystal's assessment in hand, President Obama is conducting a "very, very serious review of all options" in Afghanistan, the Washington Post reports. The president, once confident in the plan to boost counterinsurgency efforts, now faces a game changed by last month's botched Afghan elections and eroding popular and congressional support for the war. McChrystal concluded that "mission failure" is likely unless more troops are committed.

Instead of expanding counterinsurgency and nation-building along the lines McChrystal urges, the president is now mulling a radical shift toward simply targeting leaders of terrorist groups who try to return to Afghanistan. Obama has yet to indicate which direction he'll take, to the frustration of military leaders who see the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan as increasingly urgent—and the president's deliberative pace as too slow.

(Read more Afghanistan stories.)