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The Afghan-surge guessing game
One leak puts Obama's upcoming Afghanistan troop surge at 10,000, another puts it at 40,000. Is someone lying?
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BS News, citing “informed sources,” reports that President Obama has decided to send roughly 40,000 more troops to Afghanistan, nearly matching the leaked request from Gen. Stanley McChyrstal. The Associated Press puts the number in the “tens of thousands.” National Security Adviser James Jones strongly denied the reports, saying Obama has not made a decision on troop levels yet. Who’s telling the truth here? (Watch a CBS News report about Obama's decision to send more troops to Afghanistan)

The Pentagon is playing games: You can probably thank the military brass for the confusion, says Joe Sudbay at AMERICAblog. Senior White House officials told CNN that “people at the Pentagon are trying to force a certain outcome” by leaking the 40,000 number. That’s not good. “The situation in Afghanistan is bad enough without ‘people at the Pentagon’ playing games with Obama.”
“On Afghanistan, ‘People at the Pentagon are trying to force a certain outcome’”


‘Surge Lite’ won’t work: White House leaks indicate that Obama will “opt for a mini-surge” of 10,000 to 20,000 troops, says Richard Cohen in The Washington Post. That won't work -- sending 40,000 troops won't, either. Given our diminishing supply of “both treasure and patience,” it might be better to “leave Afghanistan to the drones and Special Forces. It’s no way to win, but it’s a good way not to lose.”
“Why ‘Surge Light’ won’t work”


McChrystal’s numbers don’t add up: The generals “put Obama on the political hot seat” by going public with their request for more troops, says Leslie Gelb in The Daily Beast. Now it’s their turn—they need to explain how they'll accomplish the impossible task of getting 44,000 new pairs of boots on the ground in a year, per McChrystal’s timeline, and what good they'll do. If their explanations are “weak, it’s time for Washington to turn the war over to friendly Afghans.”
“McChrystal’s fuzzy math”

It’s all speculation until Obama talks: We’re all playing “the waiting and guessing game,” says Michael Scherer in Time. “There are credible people in town who think they know what President Obama is thinking. And Obama has not made any official decision.” Nor will he until he gets back from Asia in a week or so. The only safe bet is that “the chatter is sure to continue” while he’s gone.
“The Afghanistan guessing game”

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