- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
October is deadliest month for U.S. in Afghanistan
He said reports that Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, commander of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, wants a major surge in U.S. forces “reaches too far, too fast.”
Gen. McChrystal understands the need for “a smart counterinsurgency in a limited geographic area,” Mr. Kerry said.
Mr. Obama, hours after presiding over his war council at the White House, told a crowd of 3,000 sailors and Marines in Florida that he will not rush a decision.
Criticized by former Vice President Dick Cheney for “dithering” over Afghanistan, Mr. Obama appeared in front of an enormous American flag and three rows of Navy sailors in dress whites. He spoke to a large crowd in a hangar at Naval Air Station Jacksonville.
“While I will never hesitate to use force to protect the American people or our vital interests, I also promise you this — and this is very important as we consider our next steps in Afghanistan: I will never rush the solemn decision of sending you into harm’s way,” Mr. Obama said.
“I won’t risk your lives unless it is absolutely necessary. And if it is necessary, we will back you up to the hilt,” he said. “Because you deserve the strategy, the clear mission, the defined goals, as well as the equipment and support you need to get the job done.”
The president has given no signal whether he plans to increase U.S. troops beyond the 68,000 already slated to be in Afghanistan by the end of the year, or whether he’ll make a decision before the runoff election.
The crowd in Florida gave the president an enthusiastic reception, though there were pockets of troops that appeared more reserved and gave only paltry applause.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the speech was “a chance to say thank you.”
Mr. Obama also met with Gold Star families, the relatives of U.S. troops killed in the line of duty, before his speech.
The administration is weighing a series of options from Gen. McChrystal that range from sending no additional forces to deploying as many as 80,000 more troops.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen gave Gen. McChrystal a boost over the weekend, saying he supports the counterinsurgency strategy the general has proposed.
“The only way to ensure that Afghanistan does not become, once again, a safe haven for terrorists is if it is made strong enough to resist the insurgency as well,” Mr. Rasmussen said at a NATO defense ministers’ meeting in Slovakia.
Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his advisers have proposed a more limited mission focusing on counterterrorism.
About the Author
Barbara Slavin is assistant managing editor for World and National Security at The Washington Times and the author of a 2007 book on Iran, titled “Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the U.S. and the Twisted Path to Confrontation.” Before joining The Times in July 2008, she was senior diplomatic reporter for USA Today. She has accompanied three secretaries of state ...
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- House votes for bargain to end budget drama
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- Inside China: Ukraine gets nuke umbrella
- Echoes of Cold War in Ukraine as Russia battles Western influence
- Somber duty: U.S. presidents in hot demand at Mandela's memorial
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- North Korean dictator stuns world with uncle's execution
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- Atheists smug as Hindus join Satanists to demand display at Oklahoma Statehouse
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow