Lieutenant General John Allen told the Senate Armed Services Committee today that the Afghanistan decision President Obama announced last week was not among the range of options the military provided to the commander in chief. Allen’s testimony directly contradicts claims from senior Obama administration officials from a background briefing before the president’s announcement.
In response to questioning from Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Allen testified that Obama’s decision on the pace and size of Afghanistan withdrawals was “a more aggressive option than that which was presented.”
Graham pressed him. “My question is: Was that a option?”
Allen: “It was not.”
Allen’s claim, which came under oath, contradicts the line the White House had been providing reporters over the past week—that Obama simply chose one option among several presented by General David Petraeus.
The 2012 withdrawal is a politically expedient tactic; Obama figures this gesture will put him back in the good graces of his disillusioned fan club. Options. Like re-election and fighting an illegal war in Libya.