Thursday, September 24, 2009

Top General Denies Rift With Obama on Afghan War

WASHINGTONThe senior American commander in Afghanistan on Wednesday rejected any suggestion that his grim assessment of the war had driven a wedge between the military and the Obama administration, but he warned against taking too long to settle on a final strategy.

The commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, said in an interview that he welcomed the fierce debate that had emerged this week over how to carry out the war.

“A policy debate is warranted,” General McChrystal said in a telephone interview from his headquarters in Kabul.

“We should not have any ambiguities, as a nation or a coalition,” he added. “At the end of the day, we’re putting young people in harm’s way.”

President Obama’s top advisers are rethinking the strategy that Mr. Obama unveiled in March, amid a growing political divide in the United States over how to proceed and confusion among allies that have fighting forces in Afghanistan.

General McChrystal would not address how many additional combat troops he would seek in a request he is preparing to send to the Defense Department. Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, said Wednesday that the commander’s request would be submitted this week, even though no decisions would be made until the administration had finished its newest review of Afghanistan policy.........

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