Obama: Afghanistan Decision Due in Next Several Weeks
By Kent Klein
18 November 2009
President Barack Obama says he will announce his highly anticipated decision on U.S. strategy in Afghanistan over the next several weeks. The president says the decision will put the United States and its NATO allies on a path toward winning the war.
During his visit to Beijing Wednesday, President Obama told NBC television his long-awaited decision on Afghanistan will address every aspect of U.S. strategy in the war.
"I am confident that at the end of this process I am going to be able to present to the American people, in very clear terms, what exactly is at stake, what we intend to do, how we are going to succeed, how much it is going to cost, how long it is going to take," he said.
The president said he wants to ensure that when U.S. forces eventually finish their mission, they will leave behind a stable Afghanistan.
"Creating a situation in which our footprint is smaller and Afghan security forces can do the job of keeping their country together," he said. "They are not there yet. They need help from us, and that is exactly what our strategy is going to be designed to do."
A new Quinnipiac University poll shows that Americans' support for the war in Afghanistan continues to slip. Of the voters questioned in the past week, 48 percent said fighting the war is the right thing to do, down from 52 percent in early October.
Mr. Obama's overall job approval rating has dipped below 50 percent for the first time in his presidency, to 48 percent.
In the NBC interview, the president also defended Attorney General Eric Holder's recent decision to prosecute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man accused of plotting the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and four co-conspirators in a federal civilian court in New York City.
"I have complete confidence in the American people, and in our legal traditions, and the prosecutors," said the president. "Tough prosecutors from New York who specialize in terrorism."
In an interview with Fox News, Mr. Obama acknowledged that his administration will not meet its January deadline to close the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Mr. Obama says he still hopes to close Guantanamo sometime next year.
The president said his administration has restored America's reputation around the world since taking office.
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