When you consider the kinds of decisions a president has to make, it might make you wonder why so many people want the job. Consider President Obama’s announcement this week of troop withdrawals from Afghanistan. The plan calls for 10,000 to leave by the end of the year, and about 23,000 more by next summer, leaving close to 70,000 in place.For Republican presidential hopefuls, like Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman, the withdrawal plan is too little. That puts them on the same page as many Democrats. Other Republicans, including Mitt Romney and Tim Pawlenty, had the opposite reaction, suggesting the president is moving too quickly. It’s impossible to say what role presidential politics played in his decision, but the war is bound to be a campaign issue. And the president is the only candidate who has the responsibility of weighing the huge financial costs of the Afghanistan war against the military and security risks of withdrawal.
So, did his plan please anybody? Need to Know’s Alison Stewart discussed the likely impact of the president’s plan with Celeste Ward Gventer. She served as a deputy assistant secretary of defense in 2007 and 2008, and was a military and political adviser in Iraq. She is now associate director at the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law at the University of Texas Austin.