The Pentagon is gearing up for a significant troop deployment as we near the official announcement tomorrow night of President Obama’s new Afghanistan strategy, which he delivered to his top advisors in a Sunday meeting at the White House.
After all the media hoopla generated by a very public disconnect between Gen. Stanley McChrystal and the President over plans for a new Afghanistan strategy, it looks like McChrystal is getting what he wanted.
According to a report from CNN, the U.S. military is preparing to send approximately 34,000 additional troops to the Afghan theater. This number stands significantly higher than early media estimates and is sending shockwaves through Washington as members of Congress scurry to prepare public responses to the President’s plan.
Media speculation of the fallout is not promising for President Obama, as many news outlets are anticipating Obama will have a difficult time selling his plan even among Congressional Democrats. This speculation is well founded.
“Democrats have to be convinced. The president’s party is certainly very divided on this issue. I think he’ll have the Republican support he needs, but at the end of day, if this is not a bipartisan effort, long-term, they won’t get the resources and the funding to make it work.”
– CNN contributor Ed Rollins
Appearing on CNN’s State of the Union, Democratic Sen. Jack Reed, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, confirmed Rollins’ assessment.
“I think he [Obama] has to make a speech that shows that all of our efforts are pointed to our reduced presence in Afghanistan, but I think he has to also indicate again and again how critical this is to our national security.”
Bernie Quigly, writing for The Hill, summed up the Democrats’ position on the war with a humorous bit of cynicism:
To review: Liberal response to the war so far has been resolute support (Bill, Hillary, Biden, Kerry) then resolute opposition (Obama, then later Hillary, Biden, Kerry), then support again in Afghanistan (Obama, Hillary) then indecision (Obama, Biden). This is the way things fall apart.
President Obama will convey specifics of his new Afghan strategy to the American people tomorrow night during his live address from West Point at 8 p.m. EST.