Faced with increasing opposition from his own party’s Congressional majority over the massive escalation proposed by General Stanley McChrystal, President Obama may be forced to rely on a handful of his loyal followers bolstered by hawkish Republicans to push through any new escalations.
Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) is among several highly placed Congressmen who are advocating a refocusing of the war on the creation of a massive Afghan Army to fight off the insurgency.
This has led to calls for a “compromise package” which would give General McChrystal additional training forces and money but would decline to provide him with any additional combat troops. Gen. McChrystal’s plan reportedly seeks up to 45,000 additional troops, but it has never been made clear how many of those would be combat troops or how many would be support.
Though President Obama almost certainly does have the option of pulling together enough hawkish votes from both parties to win an escalation, such a move would come at a price. The most outspoken Republican hawks have been demanding that the general be given whatever he wants, and if their support is needed Obama would likely forfeit any ability to choose among various escalation plans laid out and would have to stick with the baseline (and largest) one.