Unfortunately, it seems that once the study was completed by Gen. McChrystals staff on how many more troops would be needed, the White House has flinched.
To senior military commanders, the sentence was unambiguous: U.S. and NATO forces would have to change the way they operated in Afghanistan. Instead of focusing on hunting and killing insurgents, the troops would have to concentrate on protecting the good Afghans from the bad ones.They evidently didn't understand just what was necessary to win CION strategy. More boots on the ground are required to protect the "good people" from the "bad people" (i.e. insurgents). This was done successfully in Iraq during the "surge" of 2007-08. By putting more troops into the cities and neighborhoods, IF troops could more effectively act (and rapidly) against insurgents. Eventually, once the local military is trained, they can then take over security. Again, this has been more or less what has occurred in Iraq.
Gen. McChrystal is attempting to do much the same strategy in Afghanistan. But evidently, the hand wringers around Mr. Obama didn't understand that it meant in fact that there would be a requirement for many more troops ("as surge") and that casualties would mount in the short term. On the other hand, to those who DON'T have a military background, or even have a general understanding of the basic terms involved...
To some civilians who participated in the strategic review, that conclusion was much less clear. Some took it as inevitable that more troops would be needed, but others thought the thrust of the new approach was to send over scores more diplomats and reconstruction experts. They figured a counterinsurgency mission could be accomplished with the forces already in country, plus the 17,000 new troops Obama had authorized in February.On the other hand, Mr. Biden, our esteemed Vice President, is counselling that we should in effect abandon the country side and revert to the failed strategy of the Clinton era and loft missiles at the bad guys. That worked out well didn't it? In the WaPo article, there is a much convoluted explanation that comes down to..."We didn't understand what they meant
!""It was easy to say, 'Hey, I support COIN,' because nobody had done the assessment of what it would really take, and nobody had thought through whether we want to do what it takes," said one senior civilian administration official who participated in the review, using the shorthand for counterinsurgency. OOPS! This goes back to the arrogance that is routinely displayed by this administration, "We know what is best, and you should just stop arguing and let us do it" attitude. They don't know what's best and the public opinion polls are beginning to reflect that the country doesn't believe it any more either.
In Commentary Magazine, Jennifer Rubin makes an excellent point: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/rubin/119472
Really? If so, this is a fundamental breakdown in policy formulation and communication that makes the Guantanamo debacle look like small potatoes. But perhaps this is something more basic: the president, egged on by Biden, is losing his nerve and doesn’t want to spend the money to win the war he said was critical to our national security. So now that it is apparent what it will cost and how many troops are needed, the president has flinched. And it’s now time to revisit that call made back in March. (If you don’t like the answer, go change the question, I suppose.)
Now the administration is showing signs of backing down on their "comprehensive strategy review" and returning to the failed anti-terrorism policies that were implemented during the Clinton Administration. This shouldn't be surprising as so many Clinton era appointees are now operating once again in the Obama Administration.
Senior military leaders, including Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Petraeus, who now heads the U.S. Central Command, have indicated their support for McChrystal's request in discussions with administration officials. Biden has taken the opposite view, renewing arguments he made earlier this year for a narrower counter terrorism mission instead of a comprehensive counterinsurgency campaign. Others, including Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, have not staked out a firm position.That policy failed miserably before and resulted in an attack on American soil and the deaths of more than 3000 people. What will it take for Mr. Obama to pull his head out of the sand? Another such attack? Eventually, we will need to move into the safe havens that are presently in Pakistan, that is if the current Pakistani offensive in South Waziristan fails.