posted by GeoT
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama met with senior counselors for three hours Wednesday to launch his review of Afghan war strategy, amid indications that his defense secretary — the key link between the White House and the military — is among those undecided about the right approach.
In an interview Wednesday, a senior defense official said that Defense Secretary Robert Gates now worries that counterinsurgency might no longer be a viable approach for countering the Taliban violence roiling once-stable parts of north and west Afghanistan.
Mr. Gates, a Bush administration holdover, has emerged as one of Mr. Obama’s most trusted advisers, so his views carry significant weight in the deliberations.
“Even 40,000 more troops don’t give you enough boots on the ground to protect the Afghans if the north and west continue to deteriorate,” the official said. “That may argue for a different approach.”A shift in Mr. Gates’s thinking would be particularly striking because he has long been a major advocate of counterinsurgency, which is credited with helping to sharply reduce Iraq’s once-unrelenting violence. Full Story Here