Lieutenant General John Allen told the Senate Armed Services Committee [Tuesday] that the Afghanistan decision President Obama announced last week was not among the range of options the military provided to the commander in chief. Allen’s testimony directly contradicts claims from senior Obama administration officials from a background briefing before the president’s announcement.
In response to questioning from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Allen testified that Obama’s decision on the pace and size of Afghanistan withdrawals was “a more aggressive option than that which was presented.”
Graham pressed him. “My question is: Was that a option?”
Allen: “It was not.”
Allen’s claim, which came under oath, contradicts the line the White House had been providing reporters over the past week—that Obama simply chose one option among several presented by General David Petraeus. In a conference call last Wednesday, June 22, a reporter asked senior Obama administration officials about those options. “Did General Petraeus specifically endorse this plan, or was it one of the options that General Petraeus gave to the president?” …
… So the new top commander in Afghanistan says Obama went outside the military’s range of options to devise his policy, and the White House says the president’s policy was within that range of options. Who is right? …
… Would Petraeus have made such a recommendation? No. He wants to win the war. When he was pressed last week to explain the peculiar timeframe, Petraeus said that it wasn’t military considerations that produced such a timeline but “risks having to do with other considerations.”
Which ones? Petraeus declined to say. But in a happy coincidence for the White house, the troops will be home in time for the presidential debates of 2012 and the November election.