“In a prime-time, 15-minute White House address to the nation, Obama simultaneously heralded the achievements of the “surge’’ he ordered 18 months ago and underscored his push for a responsible US exit by 2014,” the Boston Globe writes. “The withdrawal of 10,000 troops by the end of this year had been expected, but the president set a quicker timetable for the rest of the surge forces to come home than some of his top commanders had hoped for.”
The 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."
“President Barack Obama's decision to start returning U.S. troops from Afghanistan is a gamble that that he can balance two competing realities: demands from the Pentagon that he leave enough boots on the ground to finish the job, and demands from Congress and the American public that he end the longest war in the nation's history,” the Wall Street Journal adds.
The New York Times says that military experts are worried about the 2012 pullback. Mr. Obama’s plan, announced Wednesday, has two stages. In the first, the United States will withdraw 10,000 troops by the end of this year, or about double what the military had desired. In the second, 20,000 additional troops, the remainder of the 2009 surge, will be withdrawn by the end of next summer... 'Bu' putting a September 2012 expiration tag on the rest of the surge raises real concerns,” added General Barno, now a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, a policy research center. 'That’s the middle of the fighting season.'"
“President Barack Obama’s decision to reduce troop levels in Afghanistan by 33,000 by September 2012 drew mixed reviews on Capitol Hill, particularly from top Republicans who appeared deeply divided over the proposal,” Roll Call says.
The New York Daily News previews Obama’s trip to New York today: “President Obama swoops back into the city Thursday to flex his fund-raising muscle at a slew of cash bashes - and to send a message to his liberal base.” Obama will address the LGBT Leadership Gala, and the Daily News makes the point that with the “current debate on same-sex marriage in Albany,” it will be interesting to see what Obama’s position will be.