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babylonsister Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-12-09 08:45 PM
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Obama's hesitancy on war buildup sends messages
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Edited on Thu Nov-12-09 08:56 PM by babylonsister

Obama's hesitancy on war buildup sends messages

By ROBERT BURNS and BEN FELLER (AP) 1 hour ago

WASHINGTON President Barack Obama's drawn-out decision-making on Afghanistan is sending messages. To the Afghan government: Clean up your act. To the Pentagon: I'm no rubber stamp. To the American public: More troops can't be the sole answer.

Obama has been accused by some Republicans of "dithering" about whether to send more troops and deepen U.S. involvement in an increasingly unpopular war.

The slow process also has left him open to critics who recall his pronouncement in March, after developing what he called a "stronger, smarter and comprehensive" Afghan war strategy, that the situation there was "increasingly perilous." He ordered more troops to battle then, with little discernible result so far.

This time, he's making it clear he won't be rushed. Or pushed. And the way the messages he's sending play out could help determine whether the war effort is sustainable in the long run.


Obama is out to show a methodical approach to wartime decision-making that incorporates, but is not wedded to, the advice of the military.

The White House has also sought to distance itself from the style of President George W. Bush, whom Obama officials had long accused of being unwilling to listen to dissent.


It's also notable that while this deliberation has evolved, a president just 10 months on the job has gotten a much more direct look at the human cost of war, which has undoubtedly affected his thinking.

At Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, he greeted the remains of soldiers killed in Afghanistan.

At Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, he saw troops grievously injured in war.

At Fort Hood in Texas, he consoled the families of soldiers shot dead, allegedly by one of their own.

Even on Thursday, during his brief stop at Elmendorf, Obama was to meet privately with the family of a soldier who was killed in Afghanistan.

Before his Fort Hood trip this week, Obama said the visit "absolutely has an impact because it reminds me of the costs involved. It reminds me that these aren't abstractions."

As for the increasingly anxious American people, Obama said in late September: "I understand the public's weariness of this war, given that it comes on top of weariness about the war in Iraq."

His response: "I would expect that the public would ask some very tough questions. That's exactly what I'm doing, is asking some very tough questions."
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