Obama spoke at the National Counterterrorism Center today:
We know that al Qaeda and its extremist allies threaten us from different corners of the globe -- from Pakistan, but also from East Africa and Southeast Asia; from Europe and the Gulf. And that's why we're applying focused and relentless pressure on al Qaeda -- by sharing more intelligence, strengthening the capacity of our partners, disrupting terrorist financing, cutting off supply chains, and inflicting major losses on al Qaeda's leadership.
Notes John Dickerson:
What country is missing? Afghanistan, the country where, for months, Obama has talked about "al-Qaida and its extremist allies," which previously had meant the Taliban.
Throw in today's administration-assisted NYT story on the efficacy of surgical strikes against al Qaeda in the AfPak region and one certainly does get the sense that the White House is laying the groundwork to approve something far less than the 40,000 troops Stanley McChrystal would ideally like for a robust counterinsurgency effort. That decision, whatever it is, will likely come around the end of this month.