How much will Barack Obama bet on Afghanistan?
updated 12:35 p.m. EDT, Fri October 2, 2009
By Jonathan Mann - CNN
President Obama presents the posthumous Medal of Honor to Paul and Janet Monti whose son Sergeant First Class Jared C. Monti was killed in Afghanistan.
The U.S. President is trying to decide in an intensive series of meetings with senior officials that began this week, and he may be changing his mind.
“Right now,” he said recently, “the first question is, are we doing the right thing? Are we pursuing the right strategy?”
As a candidate for the presidency, Obama declared the invasion of Iraq a diversion from America’s war on terror and vowed to withdraw. By contrast, he called Afghanistan a “war of necessity” and pledged to win.
Once in the Oval Office, he shifted U.S. strategy in Afghanistan and sent more than 20,000 additional troops, bringing the current total to 68,000.
But now, roughly eight months into his presidency and eight years into the war, military and civilian casualties are setting new records. Obama’s top general there is warning of the possibility of failure and is said to want for up to 40,000 more men to carry on the fight.