Is Obama Shifting Policy on Afghanistan?

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.

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.