Afghanistan assessment, a catalyst for Obama

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Washington, Sep.22 (ANI): The 66-page assessment report provided to U.S. President Barack Obama by his top military commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley A. McChrystal could be read in two possible ways.

Firstly, he could read it as a blunt and impassioned last-chance plea for a revamped counterinsurgency strategy bolstered by thousands more combat troops to rescue the beleaguered, eight-year mission, or secondly, he could read it as a searing indictment of American-led NATO military operations and a corrupt Afghan civilian government, pitted against a surprisingly adaptive and increasingly dangerous insurgency.

Either way, the report is serving to catalyze the thinking of a president - who is keenly aware of the historical perils of a protracted, faraway war - about what he can realistically accomplish in this conflict.

Obama faces a deteriorating security situation in Afghanistan, growing opposition to the war at home from Democrats and a desire to put off any major troop decision while he still needs much political capital to pass major health care legislation in Congress.

He is also grappling with a stark reality: it will be very hard to say no to General McChrystal.

Mr. Obama has called Afghanistan a "war of necessity," and in the most basic terms he has the same goal as President George W. Bush did after the Sept. 11 attacks, to prevent another major terrorist assault.

"Whatever decisions I make are going to be based first on a strategy to keep us safe, then we'll figure out how to resource it," Obama said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation."

The White House expects General McChrystal's request to be not just for American troops but for NATO forces as well. This week, the White House is sending questions about his review back to the general in Kabul, Afghanistan, and expects to get responses by the end of next week. (ANI)

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