Obama and the Long March to the Long War

Top 10 ListThe New York Times is reporting that Mr. Obama will accept the primary focus of the McChrystal report and send more troops to Afghanistan.  Of course, this is just a news report and not from the horse’s mouth, not that Mr. Obama is a horse, but, just a metaphor, folks.  I find this most interesting from the NYT:

“WASHINGTON — President Obama’s advisers are focusing on a strategy for Afghanistan aimed at protecting about 10 top population centers, administration officials said Tuesday, describing an approach that would stop short of an all-out assault on the Taliban while still seeking to nurture long-term stability.”

While I’ve predicted that Mr. Obama will follow essentially the same strategy from Mr. Bush (the facts on the ground, folks), and that he will employ a variety of persuasion theories and concepts to move his base, I never figured that Dave Letterman was part of it.

The Top 10 Population Centers?

It’s possible that a Top 10 message structure might actually produce persuasion effects as either a dimmer switch for WATTage or as a simple Cue.  If Top 10 is a dimmer switch then Argument quality matters.  I’m not sure if the ten largest communities in Afghanistan need more American troops.  My understanding is that the conflict is more rural than urban, so the 10 largest population centers do not contain the strong Arguments.  Thus, it appears that this approach, while consistent with the McChrystal report, is being used as a persuasion Cue.  Hey, if it hits the Top 10 it must be good.

Look to see how anti-war and the political left respond to this.