News reports are swirling today claiming that President Obama has decided to agree to Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s request for 40,000 more troops for Afghanistan. CBS News is running with an “almost 40,000,” but their report goes on to specify “four combat brigades plus thousands more support troops.”
Fox earlier today had the number pegged at 30,000 – but warned that:
Officials said President Obama will not announce his decision until after he returns from his upcoming trip to Asia and stressed that no final decision has been made, even in private.
NBC – via MSNBC – has the decision still a bit unclear saying:
But White House sources tell NBC’s Savannah Guthrie the president has not made a final decision and is still considering three options.
Before reporting that:
Officials said a substantial increase in troops is all but inevitable, but the precise number is less important than the message that an expansion and refocus of U.S. commitment in Afghanistan would send.
Yet, just moments ago, National Security Advisor James Jones told Bloomberg News that:
Obama hasn’t received final options that he has requested, neither has he reviewed those alternatives with his national security team, said National Security Adviser James Jones…
“Reports that President Obama has made a decision about Afghanistan are absolutely false,” Jones said in a e-mailed statement today. “Any reports to the contrary are completely untrue and come from uninformed sources.”
So, are the reports all over the establishment media spin or solid reporting? And who’s their source? CBS only mentions “a senior officer” and “informed sources,” while Fox, for all its caveats, included lists of specific forces to be deployed. Given the earlier PR pressure from McChrystal’s camp, it’s hard not to wonder who is putting this out now.
But spin or truth, this would be a good time to let the White House know that we’re not willing to pay for more of the same.