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“If another attack on our homeland comes, it will likely come from the same region where 9/11 was planned,” [Obama] said in a speech in Washington. “And yet today, we have five times more troops in Iraq than Afghanistan.”

“It is unacceptable that almost seven years after nearly 3,000 Americans were killed on our soil, the terrorists who attacked us on 9/11 are still at large,” [Obama] said. “Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahari are recording messages to their followers and plotting more terror. The Taliban controls parts of Afghanistan. Al Qaeda has an expanding base in Pakistan that is probably no farther from their old Afghan sanctuary than a train ride from Washington to Philadelphia.”

http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2008/07/obama_afghanist.html

“The Afghan government needs to do more. But we have to understand that the situation is precarious and urgent here in Afghanistan. And I believe this has to be our central focus, the central front, on our battle against terrorism,” Obama said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/07/20/obama.afghanistan/

All of these statements were made by Obama during the campaign, blasting the Bush administration and Senator McCain for the war in Iraq as a distraction from the real war- Afghanistan. Ten months into his administration, six months since his strategy shift in Afghanistan, Obama continues to delay his response to his Afghan commander, General Stan McCrystal, request for an additional 44,000 troops- which was made two months ago.

Obama has said that he wants to see how the runoff elections in Afghanistan go before he makes a decision. What is not clear is how the runoff election has any bearing of the US’s current operations in Afghanistan. Will there be a difference in the US’s relationship with Afghanistan between Abdallah or Karzi? No. Will Afghan politics be any less corrupt? No. Will the reach and effectiveness of the Afghan government change? No. It frankly makes no difference to US operations who sits in power in Kabul.

I know this though, the delay in making a decision is affecting US operations. A colleague of mine, recently returned from Kabul, informed me that operational planners are waiting for Obama to make a decision. They can’t move forces around until they know what their force structure is going to be. They can’t commit logistical assets until they know what their requirements will be. They can’t conduct certain combat ops until the know what their hold force structure will be. Obama’s delay is affecting the US’s ability to operate, and for this reason alone, he needs to make a decision.

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