February 17th, 2009
05:37 AM ET
10 years ago

Gibbs: Obama troop decision to come 'shortly'

ALT TEXT White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs briefed reporters on board Air Force One Monday. (GETTY IMAGES)

WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Obama will decide "shortly" whether to increase the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Monday.

“He's been working on this in consultation with military leaders and in conjunction with his foreign policy team," Gibbs told reporters on board Air Force One. "The administration continues its review of our policy relating to Afghanistan." Read full transcript of Gibbs briefing [PDF]

Politico reported Monday Obama did not want to be rushed in making a decision on troops, even as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that decision would come "within days." But Gates, one of three Republicans appointed to Obama's Cabinet, also said the administration will wait until a strategic review of military operations is complete to make decisions on "the strategies going forward."

Speaking to reporters Monday, Gibbs refused to put a definitive timeline on the decision. "Without getting into broad time lines, I wouldn't - I don't think this is anything that involves weeks, Gibbs said. “As soon as he's ready to communicate that to commanders and to families that would have to implement anything like that, I think at that point we'll be able to communicate that decision to you all."

Watch: Afghan President Hamid Karzai talks to Fareed Zakaria

Earlier this month, General David McKiernan - the senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan - requested an additional 30,000 U.S. soldiers over the next 18 months to battle the strengthening Taliban-led insurgency. The additional troops would approximately double the current number of American soldiers in the country.

Yesterday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai lashed out at President Obama in an interview on CNN after Obama suggested Karzai's government has a bunker mentality, and is "very detached" from events happening around it.

"I saw that statement, and I was surprised to see that statement. Perhaps it's because the administration has not yet put itself together. Perhaps they have not been given the information yet," Karzai said of Obama's comments.

Filed under: President Obama
soundoff (212 Responses)
  1. walter

    Texas Teacher February 16th, 2009 6:06 pm ET

    I simply pray that Obama realizes that We, the People, who voted for him could care less what the republicans want or say! We see them for what they are! They are only realitive as long as long as you allow to be so! You support us, Mr. President, and we will support you!
    Texas Teacher: It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to speak and remove ALL doubt !!

    February 16, 2009 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  2. Tired of this crap

    "While I respect the views of those on this board, I have to ask: for those criticizing Bush or Obama, how many of you have run for office? How many of you have actually worked in the government, and had to deal with the bureaucracy (whether warranted or not)?

    For those criticizing the stimulus bill: how many of you are economists? How many of you are debt free, and have spent/saved your money wisely? How many of you wrote your Congressperson to protest what would potentially be a good/bad bill?

    My point is, there are better things to be doing than ranting on a news blog. I know it may make you feel better, but reading up on history, economics, and then writing to your elected officials might serve the country better.

    Let he who is sinless cast the first stone–and I will admit that I am certainly human, and not sinless. I shall not cast stones."

    I couldnt agree more, and possibly the smartest thing ever said on this site

    February 17, 2009 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  3. BostoniaNTexas

    Considering the big mess that was left behind from 43, I think President Obama is trying.The guy is trying to tackle multiple problems at once as realistically as possible and is getting grief for EVRYTHING. From the comments I see on this site, you'd think the guy was hanging out in Hawaii 24/7 the way 43 hung out in crawford. 43, A true DO-NOTHING president if there ever was one.

    February 17, 2009 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  4. Keith

    Where in the world is..."THE MONEY"
    I don't have any,
    you saying you don't have any.
    So many many others
    don't have any.
    The banks don't have any.
    Auto makers don't have any.
    All the thousands of businesses
    close out, didn't have any.
    So who have the money.
    Where has all the money gone.
    Where in the world is..."THE MONEY"

    February 17, 2009 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  5. franklin

    Its sad to watch all of you squabble and point fingers over republican and democratic differences. Bottom line is this ...it doesnt matter who is in office right now as long as we stop outsourcing jobs that our own american people can work. We also need to find a way to build more jobs through technological advances and stem cell research which in my opinion will change the whole basis behind modern day medicine. technology will open the doors for more jobs create growth and build confidence amongst the american people. Media has done absolutley nothing but scare people into thinking that we are re living the great depression.

    February 17, 2009 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  6. Noel

    Save the economy...start a war! I thought that would get your attention. Quit your freaking moaning people, things could be hell. Try a few deployments into the desert and other places after 25 years in the service and you'll learn to appreciate everything in life.
    A veteran.

    February 17, 2009 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  7. jordan

    Matthew from Detroit, I think that you forgot to mention that the dems were in power during America's greatest war, WWII. I think your logic sucks.

    It shouldn't be about Dems vs Republicans. Great Presidents are those who can lead, provide for their people, and motivate the nation. I think Obama has that potential, but many pundits are already making judgments about his "failures". If everyone were judged on such a micro-scale, there would be no great presidents or leaders. Loosen up; all we can hope for is that Obama will make sound choices that are best for the nation. Let the guy figure out what those sound choices are.

    February 17, 2009 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  8. bsmith171

    is this like the 'decision' on getting his kids a DOG?
    he promised that six months ago.

    just another senator like mccain.

    February 17, 2009 02:51 am at 2:51 am |

    Worst president ever!! 1,434 days until Inauguration 2013, and hopefully the end of an error. Then America will have Palin to clean up after him. You cant spell Messiah without 'mess'.

    February 17, 2009 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  10. robert

    What a bunch of friggin' children these Republican geeks are. President's been in office three weeks, and they drool, squeak, caper and gibber like a troupe of excited baboons over any perceived mistake. They say it's payback for the treatment Bush received during his terms in office, Well, the rest of the country has not forgotten their abominable behavior during the Clinton years, when the president was accused of murder, rape, drug running, killing his own commerce secretary and every other sin and crime in the calendar. My word to such Republicans: grow... the....hell....up. If the ship of state goes down as they hope and pray it will, they go down with it.

    February 17, 2009 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  11. Foreign observer

    Karzei is just the mayor of Kabul and he behaves like that. In six years he brought no progress to Afghanistan and so it is time to change the course – also for Obama.

    February 17, 2009 04:32 am at 4:32 am |
  12. bryce

    I am not a mathmetician, but where are we going to get these 30,000 additional troops? Perhaps from the failing occupation of Iraq?

    Obama=Broken Promises

    February 17, 2009 04:42 am at 4:42 am |
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