The White House made it a point to declare again today that President Obama still hasn’t made a decision on the Afghanistan troop escalation that they’ve been talking about since August, and said no announcement was likely until well after his extended trip to Asia.
At the same time, administration officials say that the decision is very close to being made, and that the escalation will probably begin in January. A 34,000 troop escalation is reportedly the favored option.
With the war increasingly unpopular and growing worse by the month, President Obama has been loath to make his intentions public since Gen. McChrystal began making demands of him in August.
McChrystal’s escalation demands began with a reported request for 20,000 additional troops. Two weeks later it became 40,000 troops, which quickly became 45,000. A few weeks later this was changed to “over 60,000,” and then topped off in mid-October at 80,000. The Pentagon has reportedly said it only has about 30,000 troops available, making the larger requests useful for little but convincing the public that the “34,000” option is a measured compromise.
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