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Another Morning Afghanistan Meeting

The Washington Post, in the course of reporting on an Afghanistan war game conducted by Defense Department planners, notes that the Obama administration has “concluded the five planned review sessions” on Afghanistan/Pakistan strategy. Perhaps, but there’s another on the presidential schedule for this morning, around 11:30 a.m. (well, the vice president’s schedule says he’ll join in at that time). The pool of attendees is more restricted than the last five sessions:

Vice President Biden (via videoconference)

Secretary of State Clinton

Secretary of Defense Gates

General James Jones, National Security Advisor

Tom Donilon, Deputy National Security Advisor

John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Counterterrorism and Homeland Security

Rahm Emanuel, White House Chief of Staff

This one comes with a grim reminder of the war’s costs, as seven U.S. soldiers and three U.S. civilians died today after a helicopter crashed in western Afghanistan. Four more U.S. soldiers were killed this morning (Afghanistan time) when two helicopters collided in southern Afghanistan.

One other thing from The Post piece. Those looking for indicators of a presidential decision should check Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s calendar.

Early this month, McChrystal was told to delay a planned Washington trip until Obama had finished gathering facts on the way ahead. “When you see McChrystal in town,” along with Eikenberry and Patterson, a senior administration official said, “you’ll know that [Obama] is close to a decision.”

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