President Obama is revisiting all of the Afghanistan war options his security team proposed and demanding more clarity on how and when U.S. forces will hand over security duties to the Afghan government, according to the Associated Press. The news came after the American ambassador in Kabul, Karl Eikenberry, warned against sending more American troops until Afghan President Hamid Karzai could show himself to be an effective leader. Is Obama back to square one on Afghanistan? (Watch a CBS report about Obama's rejection of all Afghanistan proposals)
Obama refuses to be rushed. Good for him: "The Pentagon won't like this," says Steve Benen in Washington Monthly, and conservatives are sure to howl that President Obama is "dithering" again. But President Obama is right to be listening to Ambassador Karl Eikenberry -- he's a retired general who served as our top military commander in Afghanistan. Obama just wants to know what we need to do to get our troops home. "Don't we all."
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The Ditherer-in-chief strikes again: Obama has taken his indecision to a frightening new level, says Boston Herald editor Jules Crittenden in his blog. Now he's "dither[ing] about dithering." The goal must be to scare Afghan President Hamid Karzai and the "scheming warlords" around him to shape up by suggesting the U.S. might pick up and leave. But while Obama attempts to prove he won't be pushed around, our soldiers are dying.
Obama has little leverage over Karzai: As President Obama decides how to handle Afghanistan, says Helene Cooper in The New York Times, he needs to get Hamid Karzai to crack down on the corruption and booming drug trade that have helped the Taliban bounce back. The one thing that would get Karzai's attention is pulling out U.S. troops, but that's out of the question. A pullout would not only create chaos in Afghanistan -- it "could tip the balance in even more volatile Pakistan."
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