Up until now President Obama has been unable to round up any Republican backing for his major initiatives. Finally, though, it appears that Obama’s call for bipartisanship has paid off. There’s just one problem: it’s to support an expanded military presence in Afghanistan, and he needs the GOP because he doesn’t have enough backing within his own party.
With much of his party largely opposed to expanding military operations in Afghanistan, President Obama could be forced into the awkward political position of turning to congressional Republicans for support if he follows the recommendations of the commanding U.S. general there.
Congressional Democrats have begun promoting a compromise package of additional resources for Afghanistan that would emphasize training for Afghan security forces but deny Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal the additional combat troops he has indicated he needs to regain the initiative against the Taliban insurgency. The emerging Democratic consensus is likely to constrain the president as he considers how best to proceed with an increasingly unpopular war…
In interviews over the past week, Democratic leaders have endorsed the change in military focus and the expedited training of Afghan forces that McChrystal outlined in his stark initial assessment of the war. But they expressed deep misgivings over McChrystal’s impending request for as many as 40,000 new U.S. troops. Some argue that any increase in the U.S. military presence would help the Taliban whip up public anger toward an expanding foreign occupation that already comprises more than 100,000 U.S. and NATO soldiers and Marines.