Pentagon, White House at war over Afghan troop levels

A CBS report that Obama had already decided to send close to 40,000 additional troops to Afghanistan has been denied by NSA Jim Jones, according to CNN's Political Ticker:

"Reports that President Obama has made a decision about Afghanistan are absolutely false," Jones, who generally keeps a low public profile, said in a prepared statement Monday night. "He has not received final options for his consideration, he has not reviewed those options with his national security team, and he has not made any decisions about resources. Any reports to the contrary are completely untrue and come from uninformed sources."The statement was issued shortly after CBS News' veteran Pentagon Correspondent David Martin reported that Obama has "tentatively decided" to send four more combat brigades to Afghanistan and several thousand more support troops starting early next year. That would bring the total number of new troops to close to the 40,000 figure originally requested by Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

Two other senior administration officials flatly told CNN that the CBS report and other similar speculation is false. The Associated Press reported Monday that Obama is "nearing a decision to add tens of thousands more forces to Afghanistan, though not quite the 40,000 sought [by] his top general there."

The two senior administration officials suggested the information is being leaked by Pentagon sources who are trying to box Obama in by setting public expectations that he will send close to 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan as McChrystal requested.

"People at the Pentagon are trying to force a certain outcome," one of the senior administration officials told CNN.

You can read this one of two ways: a faction that supports an Afghan "surge" is pushing their ideas on the president. Or, the Pentagon is trying to goose our president to hurry the decision making process along.

Either way, Obama's dithering is getting people in the Pentagon antsy. Obama leaves for Asia on Thursday and press secretary Gibbs has indicated no announcement on Afghanistan will be made before then. And since the president doesn't return until November 20, it seems certain that we are now looking at perhaps after the Thanksgiving weekend before the president gets around to making a decision.


A CBS report that Obama had already decided to send close to 40,000 additional troops to Afghanistan has been denied by NSA Jim Jones, according to CNN's Political Ticker:

"Reports that President Obama has made a decision about Afghanistan are absolutely false," Jones, who generally keeps a low public profile, said in a prepared statement Monday night. "He has not received final options for his consideration, he has not reviewed those options with his national security team, and he has not made any decisions about resources. Any reports to the contrary are completely untrue and come from uninformed sources."

The statement was issued shortly after CBS News' veteran Pentagon Correspondent David Martin reported that Obama has "tentatively decided" to send four more combat brigades to Afghanistan and several thousand more support troops starting early next year. That would bring the total number of new troops to close to the 40,000 figure originally requested by Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

Two other senior administration officials flatly told CNN that the CBS report and other similar speculation is false. The Associated Press reported Monday that Obama is "nearing a decision to add tens of thousands more forces to Afghanistan, though not quite the 40,000 sought [by] his top general there."

The two senior administration officials suggested the information is being leaked by Pentagon sources who are trying to box Obama in by setting public expectations that he will send close to 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan as McChrystal requested.

"People at the Pentagon are trying to force a certain outcome," one of the senior administration officials told CNN.

You can read this one of two ways: a faction that supports an Afghan "surge" is pushing their ideas on the president. Or, the Pentagon is trying to goose our president to hurry the decision making process along.

Either way, Obama's dithering is getting people in the Pentagon antsy. Obama leaves for Asia on Thursday and press secretary Gibbs has indicated no announcement on Afghanistan will be made before then. And since the president doesn't return until November 20, it seems certain that we are now looking at perhaps after the Thanksgiving weekend before the president gets around to making a decision.