ThinkFast: November 12, 2009

Obama and McChrystal

President Obama will not accept any of the options given to him by Gen. Stanley McChrystal on the future of U.S. involvement in the Afghanistan war. Obama “believes the U.S. needs to make clear to the Afghan government that America’s commitment to the country isn’t open ended,” an official said in a statement.

Karl W. Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador in Kabul, has sent two cables to Washington in the past week expressing his opposition to a troop surge in Afghanistan. Eikenberry instead favors a focus on improving governance and anti-corruption measures in the country.

A new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll has found that 56 percent of Americans oppose sending more troops to Afghanistan and just 40 percent support the war there, where as 58 percent oppose the conflict.

A repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” will “likely be included as part of next year’s Department of Defense authorization bill in both chambers of Congress,” according to Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA). Congress would vote on the legislation next spring, and it will go into effect Oct. 1, 2010.

In a speech at Southern Methodist University today, President Bush will initiate his new public policy institute “as a forum for study and advocacy in four main areas: education, global health, human freedom and economic growth.” Bush “will announce the appointment of the first five of two dozen scholars to be affiliated” with the George W. Bush Institute. Laura Bush will also give a speech.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley “may be about to market their expertise to private-sector clients,” TPMmuckraker reports. The RiceHadley Group LLC was registered as a business in California in September and is said to be a “strategic consulting” firm.

NPR reports that, in the spring of last year, officials from Walter Reed Army Medical Center and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences held a series of meetings and conversations to express concerns about Maj. Nidal M. Hasan. These officials “wondered aloud” whether Hasan might be “capable of committing fratricide.”

Speaking at a philanthropic event in New York City yesterday, billionaire Bill Gates said he believes that Wall Street compensation is often too high. “The compensation problem is a very interesting problem. I do think compensation is often too high, but it’s a very tough problem to solve,” said Gates.

The Obama administration is considering using unspent TARP bailout funds to pay down the debt. “The Treasury Department said about $210 billion in TARP funds remains unspent, including about $70 billion returned from financial institutions. A further $50 billion is expected to be repaid in the next 12 to 18 months.”

And finally: Helen Thomas for president in 2012?

Follow ThinkProgress on Twitter.