http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/05/art.iraq.elex.jpg caption="A U.S. soldier watches a broadcast of U.S. President-elect Barack Obama during a post-election event at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq."]
CNN National Security Analyst
Even before the election results are known, the Bush administration is making plans for the transition of management of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars to the next president.
A review of Afghan policy has been under way for many weeks, led by Lt. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, the senior National Security Council official responsible for Afghanistan and Iraq. The classified strategic review is expected to be completed this week, according to a staffer involved in preparing it.
Military and administration sources say the review was commissioned after growing alarm in the Bush White House about the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, which has recently seen more U.S. military deaths than in Iraq. The country has experienced a sharp spike in violence along its eastern border with Pakistan since the summer. Those officials say the Bush administration felt that the review of Afghan policy could not wait months for a new administration to get up to speed.
Since mid-October, senior Bush administration officials have taken pains to brief advisors of both campaigns on the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, according to participants in the meetings. One meeting, with advisors to both John McCain and Barack Obama, was held at the private Army and Navy Club and was organized, in part, by Barnett Rubin, a professor at New York University and one of the country’s leading experts on Afghanistan. The tone of the meeting was described by one participant as “realistic” and “certainly NOT upbeat.”
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