WASHINGTON (CNN) - A meeting between President Obama and his national security team Wednesday could be a turning point in the war in Afghanistan, says someone who's been in similar meetings.
Stephen Hadley, a former national security adviser in the Bush administration, said the meeting would be a "vigorous debate" in which "views will change ... may be some emerging consensus."
"And one of the purposes of the kind of process that they're going through now is to take people with the range of views, express their views to the president and see in an interactive process," Hadley said.
"Again, the fact that the president is interacting directly with his national security principles and hopefully with his diplomats and military officers in the field, allows for a process in some sense that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts," he said.
But in the end, the decision rests solely with the commander in chief, who Hadley said sets the tone and direction of the negotiations with his advisers. "What we know and what we're told about this president is that he's very deliberate and that he wants to hear from everyone in the room. ... I think they [Obama's advisers] will speak freely ... and it will put him in a position where he feels comfortable making the decision that, really, only he can make."
But the president faces varying opinions from within his administration, including recent reports that his vice president is urging a counterterrorism strategy that would focus on targeting al Qaeda and Taliban forces.