Bond: Obama Isn’t Shifting Away From Counterinsurgency in Afghanistan
The Cable’s Josh Rogin interviews Senate Intelligence Committee ranking member Kit Bond (R-Mo.), who attended this afternoon’s White House meeting on Afghanistan/Pakistan strategy. Not a lot of detail emerged, but this is Bond’s takeaway:
Obama pledged not to return to a counterterrorism approach, where troops “shoot and then fall back to the base,” Bond said.
Obama told the lawmakers that “nobody on his team was proposing that,” Bond reported, which lawmakers took to mean that the president was leaning toward a strategy heavily focused on counter insurgency, which is of course more manpower intensive.
Whether that means Obama ruled out a counterterrorism approach, a live question up for debate in the strategy review, or ruled out going back to the mostly-counterterrorism-heavy-but-underresourced approach in place before Gen. David McKiernan, the predecessor of current commander Stanley McChrystal, is unclear from the piece. (As is whether Bond is trying to put a thumb on the scale.) New TPM White House reporter Christina Bellantoni says the White House isn’t itself sure, so it would be surprising if Obama told the assembled lawmakers something so definitive. More soon.