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Obama's Afghanistan decision: Tune in next week

President Obama and his war council
President Obama held his ninth meeting Monday night in the situation room with his War Council, a two-hour session to review the options in Afghanistan. This time, the assembled foreign-policy and military experts even included the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eikenberry, an outspoken critic of the Hamid Karzai government in Kabul.

Also on hand for the very first time was Budget Director Peter Orszag, signaling the weight the Obama administration now places on how to pay for any surge in U.S. troops.

Today, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the president was ready to make a decision.

“After completing a rigorous final meeting, President Obama has the information he wants and needs to make his decision," Gibbs said, "and he will announce that decision within days.”

White House aides are talking about a prime-time address on Tuesday for Obama to announce and explain his decision. In the meantime, Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, whose request for 40,000 more troops sparked the review, has been told to prepare to testify before Congress early next week.

Any increase in U.S. troops, aides say, is likely to be accompanied by more muscular diplomatic efforts and development aid, as well as an exit strategy from the war started eight years ago when President Bush invaded Afghanistan to retaliate for the 9/11 attacks.

-- Johanna Neuman

Photo: Pete Souza / White House

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The picture makes Obama look real presidential --- as if he is making the decision.

Obama's speech and his 'supposed' decision about Afghanistan will reveal far more than the war strategy in Afghanistan. For those who watch with careful eyes it will reveal EMPIRE.

The decision will be voiced through the mouth of Obama to be sure --- but the decision was already made before he was president, in fact before he even ran, and the decision itself was made by the EMPIRE.

America, our country, is now part of an arrogant, unresponsive, un-democratic, but quite sophisticated 'Vichy' Empire ---- which only pretends to allow the people to have any influence over any choices, directly, or through their supposed representative government.

This fact of sophisticated and guileful Empire manipulation and trickery of the people was well documented in 1994 by Thomas Frank in his "What's the Matter with Kansas" --- showing how contrived social 'values' manipulation was used by the Empire-controlled 'Republican Party' to trick stereotypical anti-intellectual conservative Kansans into voting against their own interests.

But now the coin has been flipped, and we need Frank to write a new book, "What’s the Matter with Massachusetts" in which he would lay bare how the Empire-controlled 'Democratic Party' tricked stereotypical self-described liberal “wicked smart” Bostonians and supposedly highly educated intellectuals into voting for a second well educated (and now post-racial) president promising different 'values', but singing the same songs about "Don't stop thinking about tomorrow" and waving banners of 'hope' and 'change' --- which have now been ignored with the same level of contempt and impunity as the last several Empire-controlled Republican and Democratic shills --- who did exactly NOTHING they promised!.

When such obvious contradictions to a government structure of supposed democracy occur many times in a row, but with both supposedly different political parties, and with differing levels of sophistication employed to fool dull and bright voters, the issue is not 'values' but one of deep 'government structure'. And the only conclusion to be made is that we are dealing with a deep and deadly problem of ‘government structure’, which Ben Franklin would have immediately recognized as his fear of Empire supplanting a democratic Republic.

"The problem is not with our stars, Dear citizens, nor with this Obama, nor the previous Clinton nor Bush nor Reagan, nor even with ourselves, but with EMPIRE”

Alan MacDonald
Sanford, Maine

Why can't this smart looking arrogant president take time like this, (months) with congress, demos and repubs, to study his health care plan benefits and cost, to make sure it's the right one for all americans?

do not go into afganastan with more troops save our economy.


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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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