POTUS Orders More Cowbell For The Endless War

obama-cowbell.jpgASSOCIATED PRESS: After months of debate, President Barack Obama will spell out a costly Afghanistan war expansion to a skeptical public Tuesday night, coupling an infusion of as many as 35,000 more troops with a vow that there will be no endless U.S. commitment. His first orders have already been made: at least one group of Marines who will be in place by Christmas. Obama has said that he prefers “not to hand off anything to the next president” and that his strategy will “put us on a path toward ending the war.” But he doesn’t plan to give any more exact timetable than that Tuesday night. The president will end his 92-day review of the war with a nationally broadcast address in which he will lay out his revamped strategy from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.  Obama’s war escalation includes sending 30,000 to 35,000 more American forces into Afghanistan in a graduated deployment over the next year, on top of the 71,000 already there. There also will be a fresh focus on training Afghan forces to take over the fight and allow the Americans to leave. On a few of the bigger questions most on the minds of increasingly restive members of Congress and the public, such as how much the additional $30 billion to $35 billion cost will balloon the already skyrocketed federal deficit, how long the U.S. commitment will continue and how it will wind down, Obama was expected to make references without offering specifics. MORE

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ANDREW SULLIVAN: I’m going to give the speech a chance. It’s a very difficult situation, and, after Bush’s grotesque mismanagement, no options are anything but varieties of awful. But everything I hear sounds like conventional drift to me – Bush’s policy with a much more interesting and intelligent discussion beforehand. So instead of staying in neo-colonial occupation against an insurgency that now feeds off US intervention with no real strategy, we will stay in neo-colonial occupation against an insurgency that now feeds off US intervention with lots of super-smart defenses of the indefensible. MORE

NEW YORKER: The President has come under heavy criticism for taking the time to ponder the imponderables. afghanistan12.thumbnail.jpg“The urgent necessity,” a respected Washington columnist wrote the other day, “is to make a decision—whether or not it is right.” Really? Does the columnist suppose that a country unable to find the patience for weeks (even months) of thinking could summon the stamina for years (even decades) of killing and dying? What Obama seems to have discovered is that this is no longer the war that began eight years ago. That war was an act of retribution and prevention. But now who are we punishing? What are we preventing? The old narrative is broken. The fifth war is becoming a sixth. MORE

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[SOURCE: National Priorities Project]

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