This won’t make the U.S. and the NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, happy: President Obama is exploring several alternatives to a major troop increase in Afghanistan, including a proposal by Vice President Joe Biden to scale back America’s troop presence and focus on striking al Qaeda cells mostly in Pakistan, rather than protecting Afghan civilians. That same plan was rejected by Obama in March, but is again under consideration. On September 13, Obama met in the situation room with his top guns: Biden, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, NSA Adviser James Jones, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen. They reached no consensus and three or four more meetings were scheduled.
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