Yet another unsourced rumor is leaked, this time to McClatchy, who dutifully reported it without so much as one single named source:
The Obama administration has decided to begin publicly walking away from what it once touted as key deadlines in the war in Afghanistan in an effort to de-emphasize President Barack Obama's pledge that he'd begin withdrawing U.S. forces in July 2011, administration and military officials have told McClatchy.
They will most certainly argue that having said unnamed military officials grouped with unnamed administration officials lends credibility, but it's worth noticing that they distinguished the "administration officials" apart from the White House.
A clue can be had later in the article, however:
The Pentagon also has decided not to announce specific dates for handing security responsibility for several Afghan provinces to local officials and instead intends to work out a more vague definition of transition when it meets with its NATO allies.
What a year ago had been touted as an extensive December review of the strategy now also will be less expansive and will offer no major changes in strategy, the officials told McClatchy. So far, the U.S. Central Command, the military division that oversees Afghanistan operations, hasn't submitted any kind of withdrawal order for forces for the July deadline, two of those officials told McClatchy.
The White House retorts after the article is published, with attribution, by the way:
The White House vehemently denies that there is any change in policy. "The president has been crystal clear that we will begin drawing down troops in July of 2011. There is absolutely no change to that policy," said Tommy Vietor, a White House spokesman.
Just another installment of the military and Department of Defense/CIA officials' push to keep the permanent, everlasting war going, brought to you courtesy of the generals and the brass in the Pentagon. They know even the President's most hard-core supporters (myself included) would withdraw support for him if he continues this war. July, 2011 is a deadline the military doesn't want to meet, but it's one they're stuck with while this President occupies the Oval Office.