Obama to announce big drawdown of Afghan troops
Isn't this the guy who criticized Bush for not listening to his generals on the ground in Iraq?
My, how times have changed:
President Obama plans to announce a troop reduction in Afghanistan that Pentagon and other administration officials say is expected to bring home about 10,000 personnel by the end of the year.
In a speech to be delivered Wednesday, the president is expected to declare that successes in disrupting Al Qaeda's ability to stage attacks against the United States allow him to begin reducing troop levels, said the officials, who cautioned that Obama was still "finalizing" his decision.
In 2009 the president coupled his decision to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan with a pledge to begin removing some of those forces this summer. U.S. officials and outside experts familiar with recent deliberations said Obama was leaning toward withdrawing all the additional troops by the end of 2012 or early 2013. That would leave close to 70,000 U.S. forces in Afghanistan.
Withdrawing 10,000 or so troops this year represents a steeper drawdown than Gen. David H. Petraeus and senior Pentagon officials preferred. The Pentagon had been hoping to limit the initial withdrawal to 3,000 to 4,000.
But the killing of Osama bin Laden last month in Pakistan, budget pressures and the urging of some White House aides to make faster reductions have pushed Obama toward a steeper reduction, said officials familiar with the internal debate.
The reductions Petreaus wanted were largely symbolic - mostly support troops. He was making the argument that maximum pressure on the Taliban in the south for the rest of the summer is necessary in order for any withdrawal to impact our efforts as little as possible.
But military concerns are hardly driving this decision. Obama is busy running a re-election campaign and can't be bothered with such mundane considerations. Most Democrats just want the war to go away by election day and the president will oblige them.