Even the NY Times cannot fail to notice that Obama is wrestling with himself on Afghanistan:
WASHINGTON — President Obama is exploring alternatives to a major troop increase in Afghanistan, including a plan advocated by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. to scale back American forces and focus more on rooting out Al Qaeda there and in Pakistan, officials said Tuesday.
The options under review are part of what administration officials described as a wholesale reconsideration of a strategy the president announced with fanfare just six months ago. Two new intelligence reports are being conducted to evaluate Afghanistan and Pakistan, one official said.
The Times continues the flip-flop theme:
Among the alternatives being presented to Mr. Obama is Mr. Biden’s suggestion to revamp the strategy altogether. Instead of increasing troops, officials said Mr. Biden had proposed scaling back the overall American military presence. Rather than trying to protect the Afghan population from the Taliban, American forces would concentrate on strikes against Qaeda cells, primarily in Pakistan, using special forces, Predator missile attacks and other surgical tactics.
Mr. Obama rejected Mr. Biden’s approach in March, and it is not clear that it has more traction this time. But the fact that is on the table again speaks to the breadth of the administration’s review and the evolving views inside the White House of what has worked in the region and what has not. In recent days, officials have expressed satisfaction with the results of their cooperation with Pakistan in hunting down Qaeda figures in the unforgiving border lands.
But the Afghan presidential elections, widely marred by allegations of fraud, undermined the administration’s confidence that it had a reliable partner in President Hamid Karzai. Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden already had raised doubts about Mr. Karzai, which were only exacerbated by the fear that even if he emerges from a runoff election, he will have little credibility with his own people.
I'm glad they explained that, or cynics might have thought it was due to Obama's sagging poll numbers and a need to placate the left during the healthcare debacle.
The Times concludes:
Mr. Obama now has to reconcile past statements and policy with his current situation.“The problem for President Obama is he has made the case in the past that we took our eye off the ball and we should have stayed in Afghanistan,” said former Defense Secretary William S. Cohen. But now that he is in charge of the war, Mr. Cohen said, Mr. Obama is discovering “he doesn’t have much in the way of options” and time is of the essence.
AS THE CAFFEINE KICKS IN: The title has been upgraded, I hope.