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More troops to Afghanistan, but the public is wary
by via PWW
Wednesday Dec 2nd, 2009 7:46 AM
Tuesday, December 1, 2009 : With President Obama scheduled to announce his Afghanistan strategy Tuesday night, polls indicate the U.S. public has very mixed feelings about the war.
The White House said today that the president has already issued an order sending some 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan. Administration officials emphasized that this move is linked to a time frame for ending U.S. military involvement there.

In his speech to the nation tomorrow evening, Obama "will be more explicit about both goals and time frame than has been the case before and than has been part of the public discussion," a senior official told The New York Times. "He wants to give a clear sense of both the time frame for action and how the war will eventually wind down." He will also discuss how the plan will be paid for, officials said.

"This is not an open-ended commitment," Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

Obama will reportedly not try to tie the troop increase to "benchmarks" on the ground in Afghanistan and will not include a specific timetable. Instead, according to White House officials, he will say that the U.S. military presence will be cut back after the buildup. At the same time, he will seek to address concerns of neighboring Pakistan and India about the potential destabilization of the region, by saying that the U.S. will maintain a significant presence in Afghanistan for some time to come.

Recent polls show public sentiment on the issue in the U.S. is divided and contradictory.

In a USA Today/Gallup poll taken Nov. 20-22, 66 percent said things are going badly for the U.S. in Afghanistan. But 60 percent said the U.S. did not make a mistake in going into Afghanistan in 2001. And only 39 percent said President Obama should reduce the number of troops there. A majority, 56 percent, said he should either increase troops or keep the number the same.

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