When I was in Afghanistan earlier this year it was clear we didn't have enough troops to do anything more than tread water. Things have only gotten worse.

President Obama is offering up a muddled message about what he wants to accomplish there-- before he decides what the troop levels should be, he has to decide what his goal is. Is it to win hearts and minds? Defeat Al Qaeda and the Taliban? Does he want to buy time so that the Afghan army can take charge?

And once he's got a clear mission in mind, he's got to decide whether to increase troops. Should the U.S. pull out? Or will the president continue to "do a Rumsfeld" on Afghan-- ignore military requests for more troops so that we have just enough troops to prevent defeat but NOT enough to prevail in any of these missions listed above.

Strategically, President Obama can't pull out of the region, after all Afghanistan is the good war, but he also can't really add additional troops (because the left will go nuts) so he's likely to have opt for a slow bleed which is worst option of all in the long run.

Kathleen Troia "K.T." McFarland served in national security posts in the Nixon, Ford and Reagan Administrations. She is a Senior Advisor to the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and the author of DEFCON-3 by KT, a FOXNews.com video blog.