White House Struggles to Gauge Afghan Success - David E. Sanger, Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, New York Times.
As the American military comes to full strength in the Afghan buildup, the Obama administration is struggling to come up with a long-promised plan to measure whether the war is being won. Those "metrics" of success, demanded by Congress and eagerly awaited by the military, are seen as crucial if the president is to convince Capitol Hill and the country that his revamped strategy is working. Without concrete signs of progress, Mr. Obama may lack the political stock - especially among Democrats and his liberal base - to make the case for continuing the military effort or enlarging the American presence.
That problem will become particularly acute if American commanders in Afghanistan seek even more troops for a mission that many of Mr. Obama's most ardent supporters say remains ill defined and open-ended. Senior administration officials said that the president's national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, approved a classified policy document on July 17 setting out nine broad objectives for metrics to guide the administration's policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan. Another month or two is still needed to flesh out the details, according to officials engaged in the work...
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