Afghanistan Policy Review Begins Sooner Than You Think

On the premiere (pronounced prem-yare) of This Week with Christiane Amanpour, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offered different visions of the war in Afghanistan after next July. Gates suggested that the pace of a troop draw-down would be gentle and loping; Pelosi said she hoped it would be steep. Both talked about the administration's policy review in December.

But the policy review winds down in December. It actually begins in September, when drafts are due from various military and government entities: from the U.S. Treasury, from USAID, from the intelligence communities, even from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which supports civil development programs in the country. The National Security Council will spend several months collecting this input and writing a report that's due in December, when the NSC as a group and the president's war cabinet as a larger group will evaluate the reporting and review the policy. But inside government, people understand that the information collecting process has already begun.