President Barack Obama's handpicked general, General David Petraeus, presently leading the war effort in Afghanistan, will soon ask the commander-in-chief for more time, the New York Times reports. This comes nearly 9 months after Obama courageously decided on a surge in Afghanistan, adding 30,000 troops to fight in the war. But the additional troops, at least not all of them, have arrived. That should happen only by the end of this month.
When Obama declared his intention of redoubling the U.S. effort in Afghanistan, he first stressed the reason for entering the war in the first place: "We did not ask for this fight. On September 11, 2001, 19 men hijacked four airplanes and used them to murder nearly 3,000 people. They struck at our military and economic nerve centers. They took the lives of innocent men, women, and children without regard to their faith or race or station. Were it not for the heroic actions of passengers onboard one of those flights, they could have also struck at one of the great symbols of our democracy in Washington, and killed many more."
Obama traced the hijackers to the Islamist terrorist group al Qaeda and to Afghanistan, where the terrorists "were harbored by the Taliban." The president, additionally, emphasized the near unanimous support for the war in Afghanistan among members of Congress, and stressed Nato's involvement in bolstering America's war effort.
Readily acknowledging the difficulty of beating back the terrorists on their home turf, Obama signaled that his resolve, just like the previous president's resolve, was unwavering. "America -- we are passing through a time of great trial," the president said. "And the message that we send in the midst of these storms must be clear: that our cause is just, our resolve unwavering. We will go forward with the confidence that right makes might, and with the commitment to forge an America that is safer, a world that is more secure, and a future that represents not the deepest of fears but the highest of hopes."
In that same speech, the president also established a timeline for American departure from Afghanistan. "[T]hese additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011," Obama told a crowded West Point auditorium.
That timeline, not the arguments in favor of the war, is precisely what Petraeus is pushing back against.
Petraeus was personally chosen by the president to replace General Stanley McChrystal, after the embattled McChrystal was forced to resign. Petraeus only officially assumed command in July. Since taking the position, the general has been conducting his own review of the war, while keeping a "low profile."
According the New York Times, Petraeus is expected to begin laying the groundwork to make the case to extend the U.S. war effort as early as this weekend, when he appears on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday.