October 13, 2009

A Casual 13,000 (80,000)

The Washington Post is reporting the public authorization of 13,000 troops, mainly support staff, to Afghanistan. Apparently they were part of the original package signed by President Obama in March, but were left out of the announcement. Will be interesting to hear him explain himself, if he actually does. Seen or unseen, spoken or silent - we'll feast one way or another.

Update: Obama only met briefly with reporters to say he would make a troop decision in the "coming weeks." He ignored the latest Washington Post report and left its explanation to spokesman Robert Gibbs, who subsequently claimed that George Bush authorized the deployment before leaving office.

New Update: The AP reports that General McChrystal is increasingly worried that Afghanistan's fraud-riddled election, coupled with existing corruption, could be enough to negate his highest troop estimate - 80,000 additional US troops. Apparently McChrystal settled
compromised on 40,000 in relation to the 10,000-15,000 troops the White House supposedly wants. He also found another supporter in Hamid Karzai, to no surprise, who told ABC, "I'm fully behind him for what he is seeking in his report."

The Afghanistan debate is more a tapestry of propaganda, which is what the White House wants. Quoting Reuters,
"A deliberative style is an Obama trademark on issues from national security to the economy, though the White House is frustrated by media leaks that have thrust internal debate on Afghanistan into public view."

Two options ultimately merge into one outcome: either Obama wants to save a national debate until after he's made his decision or he doesn't want a debate at all. Aside from a complete absence of dialogue, waiting until Obama decides would result in the same outcome. The whole point of debating now is to pressure him, whatever the side. There's no point in waiting until after he deploys more troops except for theoretical purposes. America is trying to speak when it matters - now.

President Obama wants indefinite time to delay and for no one to talk while he does. Audacious indeed.

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