A national defense analyst and Pentagon advisor says there's clearly division among the president's national defense team about what course of action needs to take place in Afghanistan.
The White House said on Monday that leaving Afghanistan is not an option President Barack Obama is considering. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says the president is undertaking a thorough review of the U.S. policy in the war that is about to enter its ninth year. The debate over whether to send as many as 40,000 more U.S. troops to Afghanistan is a major element of a strategy overhaul that senior administration policy advisors will consider this week as they gather for top-level meetings on the evolving direction of the war.
Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis (USA-Ret.) says the divide among Obama's advisors on what strategy to pursue in Afghanistan is obvious. "I know that Vice President [Joe] Biden has vocalized what I consider a counter-terrorism strategy, which essentially would only have sufficient number of forces, drones, and the like to go after al-Qaeda and some of the insurgents rather than trying to secure villages and large populated areas, which traditionally is done in counter-insurgency strategy," says Maginnis. "General McChrystal's additional troop increase request is to allow him to secure these large, populated areas."
Obama has invited a bipartisan group of congressional leaders to the White House to confer on Afghanistan on Tuesday.