Milwaukee: The White House said Tuesday that July 2011 was a "non-negotiable" deadline for starting a US withdrawal from Afghanistan, while insisting that President Barack Obama and his top general in Kabul were on the same page.
The White House was quizzed about a seeming disconnect between the two after General David Petraeus said in an interview aired yesterday that he could seek a delay in the
troop drawdown if conditions on the ground required it.
"I think the president has been quite clear in explaining that it`s a process, not an event, and that it`s conditions-based," he told NBC television`s "Meet the Press" program.
"The president and I sat down in the Oval Office and he expressed very clearly that what he wants from me is my best professional military advice."
But White House spokesman Bill Burton, speaking to reporters traveling on Obama`s plane to Milwaukee, said the general`s remarks had been taken out of context.
"I think that that is a very thinly sliced parsing of what he had to say. He said very specifically that that deadline stands and there is no daylight between the President
or his commanders on the ground when it comes to July 2011," Burton said.