In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday John Allen, the Marine nominated by President Obama to lead the war effort in Afghanistan, disclosed that the White House lied when they claimed that the announced troop withdrawal plan was "in the range of options" the military leadership had given the president to consider for a troop draw-down.
During questioning by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Lt. Gen. John Allen said the plan Obama announced on June 22 to withdraw 33,000 troops before the 2012 election was "a more aggressive option than that which was presented" for consideration by the military leadership in terms of size and pace. Graham asked specifically if the plan announced was even among the options presented. Allen answered, "It was not."
As President and Commander-in-Chief, Barack Obama had every right to make whatever decision he wants. But, the real question is why his staff felt it necessary to lie to the press and the American people about it?
In a conference call briefing with the media a few hours before the President's announcement on June 22, a reporter asked if the plan was "one of the options that General Petraeus gave to the President?" In the transcript of that briefing, a person identified only as a "Senior Administration Official" answered that "the President's decision was fully within the range of options that were presented to him." Maybe for emphasis, the same official returned to the question again a short while later reiterating, "So, to your first question…the President's decision was fully in the range of options the President considered."
That is not true.
General Petraeus as well as Admiral Mullen, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have both said Obama's plan was "more aggressive" than the military advisers had recommended. Lt. Gen. Allen is the third person at the top of the military leadership ladder to confirm that Obama went outside of the advice of the field commanders.
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