Delivering an address at the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania today, President Obama conceded that Americans are “tiring” of the eight year long war in Afghanistan. He then insisted that he is “examining” the situation to determine the right strategy.
His examination and what is widely expected to be the revelation of his second “new” strategy since he took office eight months ago will not, however, give serious consideration to ending the war. Rather he is considering whether or not to approve a massive escalation proposed by General Stanley McChrystal.
President Obama escalated the war markedly when he took office, adding 21,000 troops to the conflict. Gen. McChrystal, however, is seeking another 45,000 which would bring the overall level to 113,000, almost triple the size of the force when the president was elected.
McChrystal’s escalation has been endorsed by the top military brass, and is widely expected to eventually be endorsed by President Obama, despite the massive unpopularity of the conflict. In the meantime, however, he is under growing pressure to accept the move.
Obama insists there is no hurry to accept the escalation, but Gen. McChrystal has already cautioned him not to take too long and the president’s political rivals are already accusing him of putting America in danger by not endorsing the massive troop hike immediately. And while a public sick of war seems to be good enough to delay the escalation, it doesn’t appear to make any real difference in the long term policy of continuing this war.