Obama mulling 4 options for Afghanistan. Where’s the 5th?

Senior administration officials tell ABC News that President Obama at his war council meeting tomorrow will assess four different specific strategies for Afghanistan and Pakistan, including two different options put forward by Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

At his meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Friday, October 30, President Obama asked Pentagon officials to assess in detail two other strategy options, including the missions, troop requirements and cost.

All four options increase the levels of US troops in Afghanistan. The president has not yet been presented with those new assessments.

Where’s the fifth option we voted for?

President Obama was asked what variables would play into his decision-making that would cause him to not just take McChystal’s recommendation and implement it…

“I’ve been asking not only General McChrystal, but all of our commanders who are familiar with the situation, as well as our civilian folks on the ground, a lot of questions that, until they’re answered, may — may create a situation in which we resource something based on faulty premises,” Mr. Obama said, “And I want to make sure that we have tested all the assumptions that we’re making before we send young men and women into harm’s way, that if we are sending additional troops that the prospects of a functioning Afghan government are enhanced, that the prospects of al Qaeda being able to attack the U.S. Homeland are reduced…”

“There are a whole host of those questions that we have worked through systematically. I have gained confidence that there’s not an important question out there that has not been asked and that we haven’t asked — that we haven’t answered to the best of our abilities. And as a consequence of the process that we’ve gone to, I feel much more confident that when I issue my orders, that not only do we have a better prospect of success and we are serving our men and women in uniform well, but that we are not also looking at an indefinite stay in — where we have bought, essentially, a — a permanent protectorate of Afghanistan that I think would be unsustainable…”

From respect for General McChrystal and other military visionaries, I long supported options which included expanson of numbers and redirection of the war effort in the Af-Pak region. No more.

I think efforts in Pakistan have proven we can aid the more cohesive, young democracy there to pushback the Taliban from gaining control. Similar efforts in Afghanistan are worth the effort – and no more.

Start bringing our troops home.

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