Obama Embarks on Measured Pullout From Afghanistan

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(Washington Post) — President Obama charted a middle course Wednesday for ending the U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan, outlining a departure plan that will remove troops faster than his commanders had requested but more slowly than many of his political allies would like.  In a prime-time address from the White House, Obama said he will bring home 10,000 U.S. troops by the end of the year and 23,000 more by next summer, a withdrawal window that will conclude two months before voters decide whether to give him a second term. The first troops will leave Afghanistan next month.   “Tonight,” the president said from the East Room, “we take comfort in knowing that the tide of war is receding.”  In contrast to his 2009 decision to send additional forces to Afghanistan, Obama appeared to give greater weight this time to the growing impatience of a war-weary public and a skeptical Congress, whose members have been demanding a rapid drawdown and a narrower mission after nearly a decade of battle.

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