Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Rumors of Obama’s Afghanistan Decision: More Troops or More Spin?

New Rumors of Obama’s Afghanistan Decision: More Troops or More Spin?

News reports are swirling today claiming that President Obama has decided to agree to Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s request for 40,000 more troops for Afghanistan. CBS News is running with an “almost 40,000,” but their report goes on to specify “four combat brigades plus thousands more support troops.”

Fox earlier today had the number pegged at 30,000 – but warned that:

Officials said President Obama will not announce his decision until after he returns from his upcoming trip to Asia and stressed that no final decision has been made, even in private.

NBC – via MSNBC – has the decision still a bit unclear saying:

But White House sources tell NBC’s Savannah Guthrie the president has not made a final decision and is still considering three options.

Before reporting that:

Officials said a substantial increase in troops is all but inevitable, but the precise number is less important than the message that an expansion and refocus of U.S. commitment in Afghanistan would send.

Yet, just moments ago, National Security Advisor James Jones told Bloomberg News that:

Obama hasn’t received final options that he has requested, neither has he reviewed those alternatives with his national security team, said National Security Adviser James Jones…

“Reports that President Obama has made a decision about Afghanistan are absolutely false,” Jones said in a e-mailed statement today. “Any reports to the contrary are completely untrue and come from uninformed sources.”

So, are the reports all over the establishment media spin or solid reporting? And who’s their source? CBS only mentions “a senior officer” and “informed sources,” while Fox, for all its caveats, included lists of specific forces to be deployed. Given the earlier PR pressure from McChrystal’s camp, it’s hard not to wonder who is putting this out now.

But spin or truth, this would be a good time to let the White House know that we’re not willing to pay for more of the same.

Related posts:

1. McChrystal Wants More Troops, More Billions for War in Afghanistan

2. More Troops for Afghanistan? Faster Withdrawal from Iraq?

3. Taking Out the Intelligence Laundry: McClatchy Avoids Policy Debate in Pro-Escalation Afghanistan Report

4. Afghanistan: 21,000 Plus 13,000 – or Plus 115,000?

5. Report Confirms Poor Electrical Work by KBR Endangers US Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan

Afghan Marshall Plan: Winning With Jobs Not Guns (filmed in Kabul)

In the midst of the superheated debate over the course of the war in Afghanistan, two men, one an American, the other an Afghan citizen, release this provocative look at the underside of an insurgency. In a country with 40% unemployment, they talk to those whose voices have been missing: ordinary Afghans. See and hear them up close in the squares where they gather by the thousands looking for work, as they struggle to feed their families, working for $4 a day if they are lucky. Ranked as the fourth poorest nation in the world, many have never even heard of 9/11, nor the Twin Towers. But someone is always hiring at a good daily wage: the Taliban. The documentary reveals that a civilian solution to stability would cost but a small fraction of the present occupation.

Proposed program to end the war at

Release of "Afghan Marshall Plan: Winning With Jobs Not Guns" (filmed in Kabul)

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