President Obama isn't expected to announce his decision on Afghanistan until after Thanksgiving. But that doesn't mean the choice won't be weighing on him heavily during this holiday week.
The White House announced this morning that he will hold his ninth war council tonight to discuss the best way forward. At the previous meeting, Obama rejected all the options on the table, reported to include a range of 10,000 to 40,000 additional US troops.
UPDATE: As Obama weighs his troop decision, some key Democrats are more loudly sounding the alarm on the war's cost -- and floating the idea of a "war tax" to pay for any expansion.
"There ain't going to be no money for nothing if we pour it all into Afghanistan," House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey told ABC News today. "If they ask for an increased troop commitment in Afghanistan, I am going to ask them to pay for it."
"That's what happened with the Vietnam War, which wiped out the Great Society," Obey added. "That's what happened with the Korean War, which wiped out Harry Truman's Square Deal. That's what happened with the end of the progressive movement before the twenties when we went into World War I. In each case, the cost of those wars shut off our ability to pay for anything else."
Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also said last week that higher-income Americans should be taxed to pay for a troop surge.
White House budget officials have estimated each additional soldier in Afghanistan could cost $1 million.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said today that while the idea of a so-called war tax hasn't come up, the president has told his military brain trust that "we have to take into account how much all of this is going to cost over a five-year, 10-year period."
Gibbs said the president will not announce his decision until next week at the earliest.
The meeting is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. EST and is expected to last at least an hour.
The attendees, either in person or via videconference: Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, United Nations ambassador Susan Rice, Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg, special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, Under Secretary of Defense Michele Flournoy, Joint Chiefs chairman Michael Mullen, Joint Chiefs vice chairman General James E. Cartwright, US Central Command chief David Petraeus, top US commander in Afghanistan Stanley McChrystal, US ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry, US ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson, National Security Adviser General James Jones, Deputy National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, counterterrorism adviser John Brennan, and special assistant to the president Douglas Lute.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.