December 2, 2009

Not the Way to Win in Afghanistan

Justin Katz

The American military commander in Afghanistan had already tempered his request for troops:

Gen. Stanley McChrystal wanted to ask President Obama for 50,000 more troops for Afghanistan on top of the 68,000 already stationed there, but he was convinced to lower the request to 40,000, reports CBS News White House correspondent Chip Reid.

Sources tell Reid that McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, considers the lower number to be a firm bottom line McChrystal believes anything short of 40,000 increases the risk of failure, Reid reports.

His commander in chief reduced the number by 25%:

Declaring "our security is at stake," President Barack Obama ordered an additional 30,000 U.S. troops into the long war in Afghanistan Tuesday night, nearly tripling the force he inherited as commander in chief. He promised an impatient public he would begin bringing units home in 18 months.

Put aside the fact that AP reporters Darlene Superville and Steven Hurst offer no evidence of or explanation for the public's impatience, unless one includes their subsequent admission that the president "made no direct reference to public opinion." The most significant opinion, in the equation, is that of the man with authority to add or subtract the number of American warriors in the region, and he clearly does not have the will to win.

President Obama took months to decide that he was going to barter General McChrystal down on the troop request and offer an explicit time line for withdrawal. The message to our enemies has been broadcast: hang tight.

God help the members of the armed services whom this man commands. And God watch over us all as we enter the second decade of this millennium, which appears likely to include a nuclear-powered Iran and a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan.

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The "media" has never properly educated the American public on the guerilla war in Afghanistan. Americans seem to cling to the idea that the Taliban will "give battle", that the war will end with an Austerlitz, or Waterloo.

Guerilla war is always fought as "hit and run", there will never be a decisive battle.

The American military has learned to combat jungle guerillas by "gridding". So far as I know, this has no application in urban areas, but may work in mountains.

Within reason, the military should make it clear to us how they intend to fight this war and what the signs of success are.

I am very disappointed in the President's announcement that we should work harder at turning the war over to Afghans, and announcing a cessation date. I am quite reminded of "I won't send American boys to do a job that Viet Namese boys should be doing".

I also fear that undercutting the requests of the military provides an opportunity to blame the military if they fail. To be fair, I do not have the background to determine if the military requests are reasonable.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at December 2, 2009 7:51 AM

Hasn't Barry learned anything?He announces an "exit strategy"with a timeline.What a dope.I seem to recall Clinton announcing something similar for Bosnia.We're still there.We're still in Korea.We're still in Germany and Japan,and in Sinai,and maybe in Macedonia(I am not 100% sure on that),not to speak of Iraq.
I realize we're not still in Vietnam,but that is because the enemy overran the country.
We actually did pull out of Lebanon when it became obvious we had no plan and out troops were just targets.
How does barry plan tyo finance this war,plus the Stimulus,plus health care,plus amnesty for illegal aliens?TAXES,TAXES,and more TAXES.Because there ain't no other way unless we invade Switzerland and take over their banks.

Posted by: joe bernstein at December 2, 2009 10:27 AM
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