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More Boots To Afghanistan

Obama approves 17,000 new troops, or an increase of more than 50 percent beyond the roughly 30,000 we've got there now. His statement is careful to note that this is really a placeholder action that buys time while he (and Holbrooke and Petraeus and Jones) determine our strategic mission there:

This increase is necessary to stabilize a deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has not received the strategic attention, direction and resources it urgently requires. That is why I ordered a review of our policy upon taking office, so we have a comprehensive strategy and the necessary resources to meet clear and achievable objectives in Afghanistan and the region. This troop increase does not pre-determine the outcome of that strategic review.  Instead, it will further enable our team to put together a comprehensive strategy that will employ all elements of our national power to fulfill achievable goals in Afghanistan.

I suspect Obama will wind up committing far more troops in the end. But you might forgive a skeptic for wondering how you ask a man to be the last to die for a strategic review. Such is the terrible dilemma we're facing.

--Michael Crowley