Obama faces critical decision on how to proceed in Afghanistan
There’s debate within his own administration over sending more troops to Afghanistan at a time when casualties mount and many Americans grow weary of the war.
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Public opinion polls show waning support for the war, generally tied to two things: Evidence of corruption in Afghanistan’s recent election, and especially American military casualties there. Five more US troops were killed on Thursday and Friday, bringing total casualties to 36 this month and 218 for the year.
Meanwhile, senior military officials are pondering Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s expected request for an additional 40,000 troops, which would bring the total number of US troops there to about 105,000. (In addition, some 38,000 allied troops are in the country.)
General McChrystal, the top American commander in Afghanistan, met in Germany Friday with Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and other senior officers including Gen. David H. Petraeus, chief of U.S. Central Command, and Adm. James Stavridis, the supreme allied commander for NATO.
McChrystal’s troop request was to be presented to the White House this weekend.
Meanwhile, senior administration officials and advisers reportedly are divided on how to proceed with the war, reports the New York Times:
“As President Obama weighs sending more troops to Afghanistan, one of the most consequential decisions of his presidency, he has discovered that the military is not monolithic in support of the plan and that some of the civilian advisers he respects most have deep reservations.”
At the same time, opinion polls this week show increased public wariness about the war.
“Asked how they feel about 'sending additional U.S. troops' into the conflict, exactly half of Americans -- 50 percent -- say they oppose the idea, while 41 percent support it,” according to an analysis of a FOX News poll released Monday.