November 4th, 2008
05:02 PM ET

Next president inherits difficulties in Iraq, Afghanistan

[cnn-photo-caption image=
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."]
Peter Bergen
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.”

Filed under: 2008 Election • Afghanistan • Iraq • Peter Bergen
soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Burpgun

    I am really expecting Iraq to ask for an extension of the U.N. Mandate for 6 months to a year as they would much prefer a treaty they could get from a President Obama to one they can get from President Bush. There is going to be a radical change in the Pentagon Policies of President Obama. He will set the Policies, not the other way around, and that is the way the Presidency is supposed to work! Afghanistan could have troops immediately if the Pentagon was ordered to utilize troops stationed at our Military Bases-Marines in Okinawa, Army in Germany, close some of our 800 Bases worldwide-for that matter, close down GITMO! These Strategic Reserves should have been utilized a long time ago!

    November 5, 2008 at 12:51 pm |
  2. Saad, NJ

    Even if Obama does real bad in bringing prosperity to the two nations and safety to our homeland, it will still be far better than what teh last 8 years have been.

    November 5, 2008 at 12:40 pm |
  3. Max

    Try not to DEPRESS us too much!!!!

    IT will get BETTER right?

    November 5, 2008 at 11:40 am |
  4. Bruce from Louisville


    I saw America take a huge leap forward yesterday. But I also saw a huge step back. There has been all this talk about how the country has finally put aside its differences of race and that the constitution states that we are all Americans who are protected with the freedoms and rights granted to us by those millions who have sacrificed their time and blood so we can enjoy them. But I saw ballots casted that denied Gay couples from being allowed to adopt children. Couples being denied mariage and benefits associated with that solemn commitment. America has shined so bright these last couple of months with debate after debate reiterating the need for unity and being our brother and sisters keeper. Yet there is still this dark corner of America that is denying rights and privelages and steps are being made to constitutionaly ban certain freedoms... a first in this Country. I think that the Gay rights issue is one of the last Great Human Rights struggles this country has to endure. How can we have come so far and yet still be so filled with hate and ignorance regarding the gay community. I hope this gets the attention it needs in light of this new generation of hope and tollerance and that Americans can wake up to what is going on to so many of us with in the gay community. I am serving right now in an undisclosed branch of the military fighting for people in foreign lands to have the hope and dreams of freedom. Yet, im denied some of the basic ones granted to my fellow americans becuase of a label. I was so happy to see Obama win, but was torn at the depths of my soul seeing these ballot measures approved in California, Floriday and Arkansas. We are better than this!

    November 5, 2008 at 11:19 am |
  5. Tomasz


    I would like to 'burst the bubble' of claiming that America has moved past racism.
    Let an Arab Muslim run for President and see how many chants of "Kill Him" and "Behead him" there are. IF you think that the allusions to Barack Obama being a terrorist were awful, just brace for the allusions if an Arab Muslim were to go for the Presidency.

    November 5, 2008 at 11:09 am |
  6. Bob in (blue-state) Maryland

    Can Sarah Palin name her husband or herself to replace Senator Stevens IF he steps down or is expelled by the Senate? I hope not but I am sure she will force her way into the national spotlight once more.
    Also, John McCain's concession speech was the REAL John McCain. It was his best...from the heartI did not vote for him but I respect him.

    November 5, 2008 at 11:06 am |
  7. Tomasz


    I say again and again. President Obama has seduced the nation by speaking of withdrawl from Iraq. What he has said he will continue and expand are the Bush policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He will be just like President Bush with regard to them; yet this nation has been seduced because of Iraq.

    November 5, 2008 at 11:06 am |
  8. Darlington Roberts

    It was a moment in history ...when America transcended Racial differences....A moment in history for the black man to tap into....Of a truth ...all men were created equal....It was a giant leap for mankind.....who could ever imagine this day will come....I feel like writing a book on this day.....No event has ever reverbrated with such resounding celebration worldwide before.....I have not seen....The next time this will happen I believe will be when Christ returns. God Loves America, form sea to shinning sea....the sacrifices are yieding dividend....lets all join hands and make this world a better place.......God Bless America!

    November 5, 2008 at 11:06 am |
  9. Sabrina Spooner

    Please see below, my official Presidential Speech:

    Today, I am a proud black woman. Proud not only because of the newly elected President Obama, but proud of us a people. A people who have struggled, who have dreamed, who have fought, through sweat and tears, through slavery, and who are still fighting for our voices to be heard, still fighting for equal rights, to be looked upon as more than a black person.
    I am proud, because the colour of our skin can no longer be seen as a barrier, a limitation.
    We are now equal. For equality is a STATE OF MIND.

    Its amazing isnt it, that the election of a BLACK President of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, can change our thinking?
    Think about it for a minute, his election as President opens a whole new way of thinking, of viewing life as we know it. It almost seems surreal, euphoric even.
    I hasten to add however, that real change can only come when we dare to move past our own small mindedness, and dare to live, love and respect ourselves, and each other.
    When we are finally able to see the other person as a person, a God creation, not just as black or white, rich or poor, or any of the other labels we so readily attach.

    This Victory should remind us that all things are Possible with GOD, and our Faith and Belief system will determine our outcome.

    I think of Martin Luther King Jr, Rosa Parks, Brooker T. Washington, Malcolm X, George Washington Carver, Marcus Garvey, Nelson Mandela... the list could go on. People who believed in something, not just for themselves, but for all of us who were to come...
    This election season has sent me searching, its amazing the rich heritage we have, sadly that we are not aware of.

    God bless you all and God bless America, cause try as we might, we are all affected by them in one way or another.

    I too have a Dream, and its limitless......

    Dare to Dream???
    Yes, we CAN...


    Call me "President Obama" ... (get accustomed to the name)

    Sabrina (Barbados)

    November 5, 2008 at 10:56 am |
  10. Cindy

    I hope that Obama has the guts to actually go after terrorists and not tuck in his tail and run like Clinton did. Afghanistan needs to be treated like Iraq and a huge surge needs to occur there. This will really show if Obama knows what he is doing. Screwing this up is not an option since we are dealing with lives!


    November 5, 2008 at 10:50 am |

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