I’m gratified to hear the leaking coverage of President Obama’s upcoming speech today on his new Afghanistan policy.
As you know, we at DT and DoD Buzz read the tea leaves and saw a strong pull toward a “minimalist” approach to the Afghan war, dumbing down the goals to “containment” and pushing responsibility on Pakistan for any failure.
But today’s coverage of the upcoming speech seems to indicate that Obama sided with the Petraeus’ of the world (and credit where credit is due, the Clinton approach) and decided that he’d throw all his chips on the table to win in Afghanistan.
I strongly believe that those of us who were pushing for the so-called “all-in” approach were buttressed by a little known Army officer who’s done some extraordinary work in the White House — one Lt. Gen. Doug Lute.
He’s the so-called “war czar” at the White House, shepherding the competing interests of State, intel, the DoD and White House into a cohesive strategy that makes military strategic sense. I guarantee it was his wise counsel that helped tip the balance toward a more robust approach and a rejection of the idea that we abandon the Afghans. (And I also bet he was the source of the pre-speech stories — and oh by the way, he’s a Bush holdover)
I’m glad to hear that more troops, more money, and, more importantly, more influence on making Afghanistan “work” is going to be Obama’s approach. We’ll keep a close eye on how this unfolds — both from Washington and the field — to make sure we don’t let the strategy get hijacked when things get tough.