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Reed Toughens Line on Afghanistan

A White House weighing a troop buildup in Afghanistan has faced skepticism from Democrats. And today, word that Senator Jack Reed, who had appeared open to the idea, is toughening his line. From the Projo:

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "The burden of proof" will be on military leaders if they ask President Obama in the coming days to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, Sen. Jack Reed said Tuesday, as the political lines of battle on the issue sharpened.

But Reed stopped short of the declaration by his longtime ally, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, D-Michigan, that a further increase in U.S. combat troops should not be undertaken until the military attempts a vigorous training program to boost the numbers of Afghanistan's own security forces.

Levin thus put himself at odds with Admiral Michael G. Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who told the committee in forceful terms that the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, is likely to ask soon for additional combat U.S. troops -- on top of the 17,000 that Mr. Obama ordered into the war effort in March.

Reed said, "I would not exclude" supporting such a request by McChrystal, but the Rhode Island Democrat stressed that he will not take a position until he studies the details of the recommendation that McChrystal is preparing for his Pentagon superiors and for the president.

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