Obama: Not worrying about perceptions on Afghanistan
As President Barack Obama nears a decision on whether to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, some experts say he should consider the signal his decision will send about his broader commitment to the war, which has grown increasingly unpopular at home.
The White House has been frustrated that its internal deliberations on the Afghanistan strategy have leaked into public view, something that Obama acknowledged on Monday in an interview with Reuters.
But will perceptions of the deliberations affect the decision itself?
In the view of some, Obama might risk sending a signal of a weakening commitment in Afghanistan were he to approve anything short of the 40,000 troop increase requested by Gen. Stanley McChrystal.
Obama says concern about such perceptions won’t be a factor for him.
“That’s not how I think about the problem,” he said in the Oval Office interview. “My obligation — my solemn obligation, as commander-in-chief, is to get this right. And then I worry about people’s perceptions later.”
In a separate interview with ABC’s Jake Tapper, Obama talked at some length about the factors that will influence his decision-making.
Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Obama answers questions during Reuters interview)