Tomorrow at 3 pm in the White House Situation Room, President Obama will discuss future strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
• Vice President Joe Biden
• Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
• Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke
• US Ambassador to Afghanistan Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry (by remote)
• US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson (by remote)
• Secretary of Defense Roberts Gates
• Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
• General David Petraeus, commander US Central Command
• General Stanley McChrystal, commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan (by remote)
• White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel
• Director of National Intelligence Admiral Dennis Blair
• Director of the CIA Leon Panetta
• US Ambassador to the United Nations Dr. Susan Rice
• National Security Adviser Gen. Jim Jones
• Deputy National Security Adviser Tom Donilon
• White House Assistant to the President on Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan
• Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communications Denis McDonough
• Assistant to the President and Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan Lt. Gen. Douglas Edward Lute
Among the issues they will debate:
How best to focus on dismantling al Qaeda?
Does providing security for the provinces against the Taliban make sense if most al Qaeda are now in Pakistan?
Can the success of the surge in Iraq be replicated in a country of harsher terrain, that is 80,000 square miles larger, not nearly as advanced in terms of government or economy?
Does the Taliban pose an existential threat to the U.S.? If not, need they be defeated?
Does “nation-building” in Afghanistan make sense if it’s not clear that nation can be built?
Will allowing the Taliban to reconstitute itself even further allow al Qaeda more safe havens?
Is Hamid Karzai more albatross than ally?