WASHINGTON - When President Barack Obama presents his overhaul of U.S. strategy and goals in the Afghanistan war in the coming days, it's a safe bet that he will not claim America and its allies are winning the seven-year-old conflict.

Almost no one inside the Obama administration makes those claims, a bleak assessment that acknowledges the grinding stalemate the war has become, and its impending plans to change tactics and lower expectations.

Little has gone as planned in Afghanistan in recent months, and Obama's advisers know their program to counter a resourceful insurgency may not work, and will cost many more American lives before they find out.

The cautionary tone coming from Obama and his top military and civilian commanders is a quantum shift from the misplaced optimism that papered over harsh battlefield realities during the Vietnam War and the post-invasion period of the Iraq war.

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