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General Biden

10:38 AM, Oct 7, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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The New York Times reports on the White House meeting with members of Congress:

Mr. Obama and Mr. Biden made it clear that the option Mr. Biden had proposed was not a pure counterterrorism alternative, relying only on drones and Special Forces to track down leaders of Al Qaeda. Instead, Mr. Biden's approach would increase the use of such surgical strikes while leaving the overall size of the American force in Afghanistan roughly at the 68,000 troops currently authorized.

The counterterrorism approach has been derided as the "Biden Plan" -- because Biden's support of the counterterrorism approach is itself such a damning indictment of the plan. On the other side, supporting a counterinsurgency strategy, are the commanders who've risen to the top of America's wartime military -- Petraeus and Mullen -- as well as the Secretary of Defense who managed the surge in Iraq, and Bruce Riedel, the man who oversaw the administration's first Afghanistan policy review. But none of these men has proposed his own plan, they are backing the assessment and proposal of the commander on the ground -- General Stanley McChrystal. So are we to understand that the alternative -- the "Biden Plan" -- was actually crafted by Joe Biden?

Does the Biden Plan even exist on paper? When Biden pitched splitting Iraq into three separate countries as opposed to adding the troops that ultimately defeated al Qaeda in Iraq, he at least wrote an article about it. There was a column and even a website if I remember correctly. What document outlines Biden's latest plan? What Pentagon assessment, guided by what intelligence, supports Biden's conclusions this time? Or did General Biden just scribble this all down on the back of a napkin? And has the Obama White House become so cut off from reality that they fail to understand how ridiculous it looks to have Biden's name attached to a strategy for the war in Afghanistan?

Of course, it's all to the good of the country and the war effort that the White House has killed the counterterrorism approach by labeling it the Biden Plan, but if I were a supporter of that approach, as so many on the left are, I would be furious that the White House had made a fool out of me by allowing Biden to be cast as the plan's most prominent supporter.

And one more thing from that Times report:

Several administration officials and lawmakers who attended the session on Tuesday said Mr. Obama was intent on using it to dismiss any impression that he would consider pulling out of Afghanistan. "There is no option that would entail a dramatic reduction in troops," said one administration official, who, like others quoted in this article, requested anonymity to discuss the closed-door meeting.

Is the president considering an option that would require a less than dramatic reduction in troops?

Update: A reader emails:

You're right: "The Biden-Gelb Plan" did have its own web site: planforiraq.com.

Of course, the site, like the plan, was long ago abandoned. But it lives forever thanks to the Wayback Machine. The Wayback Machine even archived Biden's formal PDF summary.