I watched CNN & heard him say this, but I am not sure this is what he was suggesting: Obama Questions Plan to Add Forces in Afghanistan (UPDATED)
President Barack Obama on Sunday voiced skepticism that more troops would make a difference in Afghanistan, suggesting he might not rubber-stamp military officials' expected request to send more forces to that country.
"I don't want to put the resource question before the strategy question," Mr. Obama told CNN's "State of the Union." "There is a natural inclination to say, 'If I get more, then I can do more.' But right now, the question is—the first question is—are we doing the right thing? Are we pursuing the right strategy?"
Mr. Obama's comments suggested that the White House could be reassessing its strategy in Afghanistan, ahead of an expected request for more troops from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the U.S. and NATO commander there. Mr. Obama, who has approved more troops for Afghanistan while ordering a drawdown in Iraq, has already agreed to send an additional 21,000 troops to Afghanistan, bringing the total number of U.S. forces there to 68,000 by year's end.
UPDATE ON MONDAY MORNING:
Reading in The Washington Post what the President also said on other Sunday-morning news showss, I think the Journal has it right. The Washington Post reports in a headline entitled "Changes Have Obama Rethinking War Strategy":
Although Obama endorsed a strategy document in March that called for "executing and resourcing an integrated civilian-military counterinsurgency strategy," there have been significant changes in Afghanistan and Washington since then. A disputed presidential election, an erosion in support for the war effort among Democrats in Congress and the American public, and a sharp increase in U.S. casualties have prompted the president and his top advisers to reexamine their assumptions about the U.S. role in defeating the Taliban insurgency.
Instead of debating whether to give McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, more troops, the discussion in the White House is now focused on whether, after eight years of war, the United States should vastly expand counterinsurgency efforts along the lines he has proposed -- which involve an intensive program to improve security and governance in key population centers -- or whether it should begin shifting its approach away from such initiatives and simply target leaders of terrorist groups who try to return to Afghanistan.
Obama, appearing on several Sunday-morning television news shows, left little doubt that key assumptions in the earlier White House strategy are now on the table. "The first question is: Are we doing the right thing?" the president said on CNN. "Are we pursuing the right strategy?"
"Until I'm satisfied that we've got the right strategy, I'm not going to be sending some young man or woman over there -- beyond what we already have," Obama said on NBC's "Meet the Press." If an expanded counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan contributes to the goal of defeating al-Qaeda, "then we'll move forward," he said. "But, if it doesn't, then I'm not interested in just being in Afghanistan for the sake of being in Afghanistan or saving face or . . . sending a message that America is here for the duration."
The principal game-changer, in the view of White House officials, was Afghanistan's presidential election last month, which was compromised by fraud, much of it in support of President Hamid Karzai. Although the results have not been certified, he almost certainly will remain in office, but under a cloud of illegitimacy that could complicate U.S. efforts to promote good governance.
Among the key players shaping Obama's thinking on Afghanistan is Gates. The defense secretary has repeatedly expressed concern about the size of the military's footprint in Afghanistan even as he has acknowledged that McChrystal's plans have eased that anxiety.
Some officials charge that the military has been trying to push Obama into a corner with public statements such as those by Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that the situation in Afghanistan is "serious and deteriorating" and "probably needs more forces." One official questioned whether McChrystal had already gone beyond his writ with public statements describing the protection of the Afghan population as more important than killing Taliban fighters.