Yes, But

The nation’s top military officer and the senior US general in Afghanistan endorsed President Obama’s plan for withdrawing thousands of American troops from Afghanistan starting in July. But both also candidly called the President’s plan “more aggressive” in scope than they had envisioned. “I support the President’s decisions,” said Adm. Mike Mullen, Joint Chiefs Chairman in testimony Thursday before the House Armed Services Committee. However, they “are more aggressive and incur more risk that I was originally prepared to accept,” he noted. Army Gen. David Petraeus, ISAF commander, called the plan “a more aggressive formulation, if you will, in terms of the timeline, than what we had recommended.” He said this during his confirmation hearing that same day before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to be CIA director. Like Mullen, Petraeus said “obviously I support” the plan “and will do all that I can during my remaining time as the commander of ISAF to implement it.” Both he and Mullen said they were able to voice their views to Obama before the President made the decision. Under Obama’s plan, 10,000 troops will leave Afghanistan by year’s end, and a total of 33,000 will exit there by mid 2012, essentially reversing the troop surge that began in December 2009. The remaining 68,000 US troops will come home from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. (See also AFPS report by Karen Parrish.)