ABC News' Mary Bruce reports:
Facing waning public support for the mission and lawmakers concerned over the high cost of war, President Obama will deliver his decision on how to begin bringing U.S. troops home from Afghanistan in a primetime address to the nation.
In his 8 p.m. EST speech Obama will announce his blueprint to begin withdrawing troops in July, a promise he made when he ordered the 30,000 troop “surge.” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday that the president’s decision process was “all about the mission that was laid out in December of 2009.”
Obama will likely make the argument that the U.S. has made significant progress toward achieving his goals; to disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al Qaeda, break the momentum of the Taliban, and stabilize the situation so that Afghan security forces can begin the process of taking over security.
The pace and scope of the withdrawal, however, has sparked controversy between the administration and the military, which has warned against pulling out too fast.
On the other side, Obama also faces a war-weary public. According to the latest ABC news polling 73 percent of Americans say the United States should withdraw a substantial number of U.S. combat forces from Afghanistan this summer. Yet far fewer, 43 percent, think that will in fact happen.
In addition, with Congress mired in ongoing debt negotiations and the August 2 deadline to raise the debt limit looming, lawmakers are urging the president to focus America’s resources at home instead.
There are currently over 100,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, 30,000 of whom were part of the surge designed to stabilize the war-torn country while it boosts its own forces. When Obama announced the surge, he also vowed to “begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan” next month.