President Obama will likely announce that 10,000 American soldiers will withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of this year, an number that many top military officials think is too high and many American voters think is too low. The decision is "fraught with political peril" for Obama, The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza writes, because Pew Research Center just found that 56 percent of Americans want all troops out of the decade-long war as soon as possible. That's up from 40 percent a year ago, and it's like to continue to rise. Obama will portray the pullout as "promises made, promises kept," Cillizza writes, but will that be enough to satisfy voters?
Obama is hours away from delivering his speech, but many have already offered their analysis of what he'll say and what it means.
- Not Quite a Return of the Surge, Time's Joe Klein notes. Most of the troops coming home will be support personnel, not the combat units that shoot and clear houses. "The slow pace of withdrawal... has everything to do with recent events in Pakistan. There has been a sharp turn toward anti-American Islamist militancy since the Osama Bin Laden raid. General Ashfaq Kayani--the last of the Pakistani Army's American-trained and American-sympathizing leaders--is on the ropes and is likely to replace in a top-down military coup in the coming months by a more Islamist successor... This means that Pakistan will not only continue to support the Afghan Taliban, but will probably increase that support."
Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.