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Sunday, March 29, 2009

Return of the Benchmarks - By Barron YoungSmith

The NYT's lead details the genesis of Obama's new Afghanistan policy, which is an Obama-esque compromise of the views of numerous strong-willed advisers. Ground commanders (read, "David Petraeus") requested a large, long-term commitment of troops and resources, but Robert Gates and Mike Mullen pared back their requests. Richard Holbrooke and Hillary Clinton insisted on more anti-corruption and anti-drug-trafficking efforts, while Vice President Joe Biden warned stridently against overcommitment that would get us into to an open-ended quagmire. Obama chose a synthesis of these approaches at Camp David last weekend. While the WP thinks Congress liked Obama's Afghanistan speech, the NYT says Congress was "skeptical." The LAT focuses on the reaction from conservatives, who are unambiguously ecstatic over what they consider to be Obama's "maximalist" approach. (Indeed, Bill Kristol was overheard praising Obama to the heavens yesterday.) Some of the papers also note complaints that Obama's plan lacks specifics.


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