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Competing Philosophies Emerge in Review of Afghan Strategy

President Obama has ordered his top advisers to revise the Afghan war options they presented him. That word came after the top U.S. diplomat in Afghanistan warned against sending large new numbers of troops. Judy Woodruff talks to a reporter for more.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    President Obama has ordered his top advisers to revise the Afghan war options they presented him. That word came today after the top U.S. diplomat in Afghanistan warned against sending large new numbers of troops.

    Judy Woodruff has our lead story report.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    The president's call for new troop options came with 68,000 Americans already on the ground and calls for 40,000 more from commanding General Stanley McChrystal. But the U.S. ambassador, retired Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, reportedly has strongly advised against major new deployments until the Afghan government confronts widespread corruption.

    Reports of classified cables sent from Eikenberry to President Obama were splashed across the front pages of major newspapers today. The ambassador's advice seemed to be reflected in a White House statement issued last night.

    It read — quote — "After years of substantial investments by the American people, governance in Afghanistan must improve in a reasonable period of time" — end quote.

    News accounts said four proposals were on the table Thursday, as the president met again with his national security team. Today, however, Defense Secretary Robert Gates confirmed that Mr. Obama wanted something different.

    One option was to add 30,000 or more troops to take on the Taliban in targeted key areas. The other three ranged from a small influx of forces to the 40,000 General McChrystal has asked for. The events in the U.S. could add to the pressure on Afghan President Hamid Karzai, after his default reelection earlier this month.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton underscored that point today during a stop in the Philippines.

    HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, U.S. Secretary of State: We're looking to President Karzai, as he forms a new government, to take action that will demonstrate, not to the international community, but, first and foremost, to his own people, that his second term will respond to the needs that are so manifest.

    And I think that the corruption issue really goes to the heart of whether the people of Afghanistan feel that the government is on their side, is working for them.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    And, in London, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen echoed the need for building trust in the Afghan government.

    ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN, secretary-general, NATO: We need what I would call a new contract between the international community and the government in Kabul, with the aim to provide good governance in — in Afghanistan, so that the Afghan people can trust their government.

  • JUDY WOODRUFF:

    Rasmussen said NATO members are willing to pledge more forces to the fight, but with conditions. In particular, Britain has now said that it will add 500 troops if the corruption issue is resolved.

    And for more on where things stand with the Obama administration's Afghanistan review, we turn to "Washington Post" Pentagon reporter Greg Jaffe. He's also — also the author of the recent book "The Fourth Star: Four Generals and the Epic Struggle for the Future of the United States Army."

    Greg Jaffe, thank you for being with us.

    GREG JAFFE, "The Washington Post": Thanks.

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