President Obama’s troop withdrawal plan was not among the options presented to him by General David Petraeus, according to testimony given under oath by Marine Lt. General John Allen, seemingly contradicting statements made previously by a White House official.
When asked by South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday whether the president’s withdrawal plan was “one of the options presented to the president by General Petraeus,” Allen responded, “It was not.”
But The Weekly Standard points out that in a background conference call with senior administration officials on the president’s withdrawal plan on June 22, a senior administration official said that Obama’s plan “was fully within the range of options that were presented to him and has the full support of his national security team.”
“In terms of General Petraeus, I think that, consistent with our approach to this, General Petraeus presented the president with a range of options for pursuing this drawdown,” the senior administration official said, conceding, “there were certainly options that went beyond what the president settled.”
“That said, the President’s decision was fully within the range of options that were presented to him and has the full support of his national security team,” the official continued.
In summing up his answer to a reporter’s question, the senior administration official again emphasized, “the president’s decision was fully in the range of options the president considered.” (Foreign investment falters as debt grows, regulation expands)
However, at the hearing to consider his nomination to replace General David Petraeus as commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, Allen came out in support of President Obama’s plan to withdraw 10,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year and roughly 23,000 more troops by September 2012.
“Although I was not a participant in those discussions,” Allen told the committee, “I support the president’s decision and believe that we can accomplish our objectives.”