The Plank

Recommended Rereading Before Obama's Afghanistan Speech


Tonight, President Obama will announce his plan to increase troop numbers in Afghanistan. The speech is the culmination of an extensive policy review that began in September, when General Stanley McChrystal made a formal request for more troops. In October, Patrick J. Egan and Joshua A. Tucker wrote about the political minefield that Obama would have to navigate to get a troop increase to pass, and so far, it looks like some of their predictions are coming true:

If, as appears likely, Obama decides to grant McChrystal an intermediate number of troops--especially if it is 20,000 or more--then he should consider framing (as is currently being done by some media outlets) it as a replication of the now successful "surge" strategy in Iraq. Obama can stress that he's proposing a surge not only in form but also in substance—that is, a temporary escalation that will be followed by gradual transfer of responsibilities to Afghan security forces and then a draw-down.

Read the piece for more ways that Obama can sell his Afghanistan plan tonight.


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