While the Obama Administration has been presented as making a large-scale review of the war in Afghanistan with a myriad of options, the White House today insisted that none of those options involve the United States actually ending its eight year occupation.
“I don’t think we have the option to leave,” spokesman Robert Gibbs insisted, and indeed despite the massive unpopularity of the conflict and growing criticism of the administration’s lack of goals or strategy, few in Congress are even giving lip service to the idea of leaving the nation.
So when reports come out about the growing rift between the different factions of the administration about the strategy decision, the question isn’t really between hawks and doves, it is merely differences in how the administration will escalate.
Gen. McChrystal wants 45,000 additional troops to dramatically escalate the war on the ground. Vice President Biden and others have advocated keeping the ground war roughly as it is while dramatically escalating the number of airstrikes in and around Pakistan. Others are working on a “compromise” plan which will involve giving McChrystal a large number of additional troops and dramatically escalating the number of airstrikes in and around Pakistan.