Sunday, December 06, 2009

Obama's Big Gamble on Afghanistan

Read this excerpt from today's paper, stop and think for a second how Obama settled on how to conduct his Afghan war:

..."as his top military adviser ran through a slide show of options, Mr. Obama expressed frustration. He held up a chart showing how reinforcements would flow into Afghanistan over 18 months and eventually begin to pull out, a bell curve that meant American forces would be there for years to come.

“I want this pushed to the left,” he told advisers, pointing to the bell curve. In other words, the troops should be in sooner, then out sooner.

When the history of the Obama presidency is written, that day with the chart may prove to be a turning point, the moment a young commander in chief set in motion a high-stakes gamble to turn around a losing war. By moving the bell curve to the left, Mr. Obama decided to send 30,000 troops mostly in the next six months and then begin pulling them out a year after that, betting that a quick jolt of extra forces could knock the enemy back on its heels enough for the Afghans to take over the fight"....

source: New York Times, Dec 7, 2009

The scary thing is this: Obama finalized his early in/early out war strategy by wishing the "bell curve" to move to the left.

This sounds more like a waving of a magic wand moving that curve "leftward". And that the realities on the ground will comply with his wish that an early "surge" would "work" allowing him to withdraw sooner.

What is the probability that these 30,000 new troops are enough?

The whole report is here.

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