Is Obama Shifting Policy on Afghanistan?

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Ben Cohen
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by Ben Cohen

An interesting piece in the Washington Post suggests the President is more than willing to shift strategy in Afghanistan after reviewing the current situation:

The president, one adviser said, is "taking a very deliberate, rational
approach, starting at the top" of what he called a "logic chain" that
begins with setting objectives, followed by determining a methodology
to achieve them. Only when the first two steps are completed, he said,
can the third step -- a determination of resources -- be taken.

"Who's to say we need more troops?" this official said. "McChrystal
is not responsible for assessing how we're doing against al-Qaeda."

The administration's template for error is the Bush administration's
policy in Iraq. Initially, a small group of White House and Pentagon
officials set the policy without regard for dissenting views; in later
years, President George W. Bush said he was following advice from
military commanders. "We have seen what happens when an administration
makes decisions by momentum and doesn't challenge underlying
assumptions and . . . ensure that everybody with an equity in the
matter is heard," another official said.

It is refreshing to have a non-ideological President willing to listen to facts, rather than pig headed one sticking to his guns no matter the situation. The premise of going to war with Afghanistan was deeply flawed in my opinion (they did not attack the United States), and Obama holds a share of the responsibility for sending troops over there (he has supported it since its inception). But if he is willing to pull troops out after coming to the inevitable conclusion that it simply cannot be won, he should be commended for it. Regardless of the current strategy, one thing is clear. Obama is at least listening.