Obama Announces Plans For Afghanistan At 8pm

Jillian Bandes
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Posted: Dec 01, 2009 7:00 PM
President Obama’s primetime address tonight at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y., will announce the infusion of 30,000 troops into Afghanistan by Christmas. This is the conclusion of over 3 months of excruciating debate after Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander in Afghanistan, made his initial troop request. McChrystal asked for 30,000-40,000 more troops and is probably getting the best he could hope for given the reluctant Democratic Congress.

The buildup will be completed by next summer, eventually leading to a total deployment of around 100,000 troops – the same number of troops currently deployed in Iraq. Obama is also expected to set a timeline for withdrawl, by removing troops sometime before the end of his term, meaning that troops will start exiting the country just as he goes up for re-election.

Obama's speech tonight will be another political dance as he tries to balance national security concerns and political tides. It’s almost a repeat of what he did during the 2008 election. NRO’s Rich Lowrey says that's for the best.
[Obama's] heart is not really in this war, but the responsibilities of the office have basically forced him into making the right choice. Although he wants to hedge his commitment with all sorts of timelines and conditions, I'm guessing the logic of the war will continue to carry him in the right direction.