Whatever happens in Iraq, President Barack Obama can point to the late and unlamented Bush administration. But now he is making the Afghanistan war his own. Observes Mark Thompson in Time magazine:
Afghanistan became President Obama’s war on Tuesday, when he ordered two more U.S. combat brigades into the fight. He will send 17,000 combat troops to join the 36,000-strong U.S. force already in the theater. The fact that the units now ordered to Afghanistan had originally been slated for Iraq underscores the new Administration’s shift in priorities.
The reinforcements include about 8,000 Marines from Camp Lejeune, N.C., who should be in Afghanistan by late spring, and a 4,000-strong Army brigade from Fort Lewis, Wash., which should arrive in the summer. Those units will be joined by about 5,000 more Army “enablers” to provide logistical support. (See images of Afghanistan’s mean streets)
If things work out well, which seems an increasingly unlikely possibility, then President Obama can claim victory. But if the war worsens and there are calls for more troops, the issue may begin to consume his presidency like Iraq did George Bush’s administration. Then the change that Obama’s allies may begin demanding could be for a new president.
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