Military Chiefs At Variance With Obama Over Afghan Pullout Plan

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Context

US military leaders have isolated themselves from President Obama’s plan to withdraw 33,000 soldiers from Afghanistan by September 2012, labeling the pullout timetable as riskier and more hasty than the one proposed by them. NATO Commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, told a group of Senators, “The ultimate decision was a more aggressive formulation, if you will, in terms of the timeline than what we had recommended.” Meanwhile, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said during a House of Representatives hearing, “The president’s decisions are more aggressive and incur more risk than I was originally prepared to accept.” Obama’s plan was inspired mostly by the advice of Vice President Joe Biden, who has long supported a “counter terrorism” strategy as opposed to a manpower-intensive “counter insurgency” approach.