Friday, September 04, 2009

Officials Say Obama Advisers Split on Afghan Escalation

Biden Has ‘Deep Reservations’ About Expanding Afghan Presence

by Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com, September 03, 2009

Despite public comments being almost universally in favor of the continued escalation of the Afghan War, behind the scenes several key Obama Administration advisers are starting to express serious doubts about the wisdom of throwing more and more troops at the ever worsening conflict.

“There is a unanimity of opinion about what our objective is, and the objective is to disable and destroy al-Qaeda,” David Axelrod insisted. But as General Stanley McChrystal seeks another major escalation as part of his “new” strategy, several officials have reservations.

Vice President Joe Biden is among the skeptics, insisting that expanding the presence into Afghanistan may distract from what he sees as the real fight: Pakistan. National Security Adviser James Jones is also reportedly in opposition and had previous told McChrystal not to ask for more troops.

The vast majority of officials, including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates who had previously cautioned against sending too many troops, seem firmly in the corner of escalation. Still, the growing unpopularity of the war with the American public appears to be spawning at least a limited discussion in an administration that seems bent on escalating the war as much as possible as quickly as possible.

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