Military, political reasons for deployment - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Military, political reasons for deployment

Obama also will deliver a deeper explanation of why the U.S. must continue to fight more than eight years after the war's start, emphasizing that Afghan security forces need more time, more schooling, and more U.S. combat backup to be up to the job on their own. He will make tougher demands on the governments of Pakistan and, especially, Afghanistan, and will provide a fresh path toward disengagement.

With U.S. casualties in Afghanistan sharply increasing and little sign of progress, the war Obama once liked to call one "of necessity," not choice, has grown less popular with the public and within his own Democratic party. In recent days, leading Democrats have talked of setting tough conditions on deeper U.S. involvement, or even staging outright opposition.

The displeasure on both sides of the aisle was likely to be on display when congressional hearings on Obama's strategy get under way later in the week on Capitol Hill.

Obama was spending much of Monday and Tuesday on the phone, outlining his plan -- minus many specifics -- for the leaders of France, Britain, Germany, Russia, China, India, Denmark, Poland, and others. He also met in person at the White House with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

A briefing for dozens of key lawmakers was planned for Tuesday afternoon, just before Obama was set to leave the White House for the speech against a military backdrop at West Point.

The Afghan government said Tuesday that President Hamid Karzai and Obama had an hourlong video conference. Obama was also going to speak with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

In Afghanistan, rampant government corruption and inefficiency have made U.S. success much harder. Obama was expected to place tough conditions on Karzai's government, along with endorsing a stepped-up training program for the Afghan armed forces along the outline recommended this fall by U.S. trainers.

That schedule would expand the Afghan army to 134,000 troops by next fall, three years earlier than once envisioned.  Military officials said the speech is expected to include several references to Iraq, where the United States still has more than 100,000 forces. The strain of maintaining that overseas war machine has stretched the Army and Marine Corps and limited Obama's options.

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