Obama: Not worrying about perceptions on Afghanistan

November 10, 2009

OBAMA/INTERVIEWAs 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.

Click here for more Reuters political coverage

Photo credit: Reuters/Jim Young (Obama answers questions during Reuters interview)

3 comments

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/

This Podcast series does a great job explaining a lot of the Chaos: http://tr.im/EGe1

Obama,s reason for procrastinating over a decision on Afghanistan was that he hoped that if he waited the situation over there might have improved as the UN and the other nations involved would hopefully have influenced the Taliban to take a more moderate stance.But unfortunately the situation has got progressively worse,any ideas that he could have squeezed out of a fresh offensive have vanished as the Taliban are increasing their influence in the region and will cause the Pakistani government to fall if there is now not a massive incursion into the area from the USA.So this means if Obama had been more decisive from the beginning his task would have been considerably easer.

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive

From My Viewpoint, America Needs To Pursue Peace Deals With the Taliban.

Posted by hsr0601 | Report as abusive