"Aides stress that the president's decision on specific troop levels and the other elements of a revamped approach is still at least two weeks away, and they say Obama has not tipped his hand in meetings that will continue at the White House on Friday.
But the thinking emerging from the strategy formulation portion of the debate offers a clue that Obama would be unlikely to favor a large military increase of the kind being advocated by the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal. McChrystal's troop request is said to include a range of options, from adding as few as 10,000 combat troops to — the general's strong preference — as many as 40,000.
Obama's developing strategy on the Taliban will "not tolerate their return to power," the senior official said in an interview with The Associated Press. But the U.S. would fight only to keep the Taliban from retaking control of Afghanistan's central government — something it is now far from being capable of — and from giving renewed sanctuary in Afghanistan to al-Qaida, the official said." Yahoonews
This is beginning to sound reasonable. I suppose it will be necessary to keep present force levels in Afghanistan for a while. This is likely to be a political necessity since the congressional Republican Party evidently wants to score points by backing a general against civilian leadership. Added to that is the evident fact that present dispositions have created a lot of very small outposts that are vulnerable to defeat in detail. Forces must be on hand to reinforce them until these exposed positions are eliminated.
Let's hope the president's decision resembles something like this story line. pl