Taking to Twitter on Saturday, President Trump declared that a decision has been made on the Afghanistan War following yesterday’s Camp David meeting. This was a single sentence, and not followed by further details.
Speculation on the war has circled for months. Trump had initially delegated the decision to Defense Secretary James Mattis, but Mattis found a cap limiting his maximum deployment too restrictive. Now, Vice President Pence and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster are also taking up the cause of large-scale escalation, pushing Trump to accept the recommendations of the commanders.
Pence and McMaster were at the Camp David meeting, but Blackwater founder Erik Prince, who has been pushing a “privatize the war” initiative, was blocked, apparently at the behest of McMaster. Trump aide Steve Bannon, another skeptic of military escalation, was sacked outright.
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders gave no hints on what had been decided either, though she did say that a formal announcement will be made “at the appropriate time.” Before the Tweet, reports out of Washington suggested nothing had been decided at all during the meeting.
With the Camp David meeting stacked with hawks, it’s unclear if President Trump’s reticence about signing off on a large scale escalation of the losing war is still intact. He’s clearly under both mounting pressure to make a decision, and pressure from Republican hawks to make it a decision to double down on the war, however, so if he didn’t sign off on that, the people briefing him during the Camp David meeting would’ve likely discouraged him making an announcement on a “decision” to try to keep whittling down his resistance.