Sunday, October 18, 2009

Time to Support General McChrystal

There's something here I don't understand:

The Obama Administration says it can't really respond to General Stanley McChrystal's request for more troops until it decides what its policy should be for the war in Afghanistan. I don't understand that, because that's what the Administration did early this year. It started right after the Inauguration, reviewing and reworking our national policy in this area, deciding what the strategy and tactics should be. President Obama then appointed Gen McChrystal to carry out the new policy and strategy, and promised him the resources he needed to do that. McChrystal identified the additional resources needed to do his assigned job. His request letter was held up by the Pentagon, reportedly at the request of the White House which didn't want to deal with the request at that time. (There have also been reports that he was directed to reduce his request from what he originally wanted.) And now the Administration "needs" to do a new Afghanistan policy review, its second in less than a year, before deciding whether to give Gen McChrystal the support he was promised.

Actually, it's worse than that. In an interview released in September, Gen McChrystal acknowledged that, since he had taken command in Afghanistan, he had only had one short telephone conversation with President Obama. Shortly after that, at a Pentagon-approved event in London, McChrystal was asked if he supported a shift to a strategy supported by Vice President Biden that relies more on drones and less on foot soldiers. "The short answer is: No." was his response. He said "Chaos-istan" would be the result of that strategy. That apparently shocked and angered presidential advisors. And so, as a result,

The next day he was summoned to an awkward 25-minute face-to-face meeting on board Air Force One on the tarmac in Copenhagen, where the president had arrived to tout Chicago's unsuccessful Olympic bid.
It would be better if there were more promises kept, and less dithering by the White House.

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