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Obama Leaves Door Open to Long-Term US Afghan Combat


President Barack Obama’s speech announcing that the 33,000 "surge" troops in Afghanistan will be withdrawn by "summer" 2012 indicates that he has given priority to the interests of the military and the Pentagon over concerns by key officials in his administration over the impact of the war’s costs on domestic socioeconomic needs.

And in a section of the speech that must be interpreted in the context of his past policy decisions on Iraq, Obama appeared to support the desire of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and General David Petraeus to keep a substantial number of combat troops in Afghanistan beyond the publicly announced "transition" in 2014.

Gates and Petraeus got most of what they wanted from Obama in regard to the withdrawal of the "surge" troops.

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