Ackerman has some fascinating details on this morning's NSC conference in the White House.

I suspect Eikenberry has given Obama the opening he needs to leave Afghanistan and refuse to commit more young Americans to the defense of a corrupt government and the prosecution of an unending war that no longer serves a core national interest for the US. If Obama does that, it will take enormous courage. It will reveal a strength of character and judgment that America and the world now need.

One other intuition: Obama has recently clearly been pondering the dreadful responsibility of sending soldiers to war. From the decision to witness the return of coffins at Dover to the un-scheduled solitary trip to Arlington and this week's emotionally cathartic ceremony at Fort Hood: these events, it seems to me, would concentrate any serious, ethical president's mind.

And I suspect Bob Gates is not that far apart from the minimalist position.

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