Patterico's Pontifications


McChrystal Report: More Troops or Fail (Updated)

Filed under: Obama,War — DRJ @ 2:08 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

General Stanley McChrystal, President Obama’s choice for military commander in Afghanistan, reports he needs more troops or the mission will likely fail:

“The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan warns in an urgent, confidential assessment of the war that he needs more forces within the next year and bluntly states that without them, the eight-year conflict “will likely result in failure,” according to a copy of the 66-page document obtained by The Washington Post.
His assessment was sent to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Aug. 30 and is now being reviewed by President Obama and his national security team.”

The August report was to include McChrystal’s troop recommendations but, at the time, it was reported that political concerns prompted White House and Pentagon officials to agree to delay the release of the troop requests. Meanwhile, it’s been over 3 weeks since McChrystal’s report, and troops continue to die in Afghanistan.

I don’t think President Obama knows what to do. It’s a difficult situation but doing nothing is a decision, too, and he was elected to make decisions like this. It’s time for Obama to stop campaigning like a politician and start being a leader.


UPDATE: President Obama addresses the tough problems in Afghanistan … on David Letterman. Is this really the best venue to discuss serious foreign policy questions?

20 Responses to “McChrystal Report: More Troops or Fail (Updated)”

  1. Well, if he is true to form, as in his past rhetoric and capitulation in Eastern Europe, he will do a reprise of “we can’t win” as he did with Iraq. This will make his base happy. Whether or not enough people will remember that Iraq didn’t turn out that way remains to be seen. I think Dems supported the war in Afghanistan because it wasn’t the one the Repubs were focused on. Now, the question is will they maintain their stand (on “principle”), or will they repeat the refrain, “This is the mess that GWB left us with.”

    MD in Philly (d4f9fa)

  2. “It’s time for Obama to stop campaigning like a politician and start being a leader.”

    you might as well ask him to be honest, forthright, honorable, moral and courageous while you’re at it, since you’re already asking him to do one thing he is fundamentally incapable of.

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  3. Depending on the audience during the campaign, Teh One went on about listening to the Generals, and then exerting his civilian control over the Generals should they not propose something that square with his politics. It will be interesting to see which side of the debate he comes down on when he actually has to make a decision. I hope he does the right thing, though I have no reason to suspect he will.

    JD (9019c8)

  4. The Democrats and Obama have both specifically campaigned on the claim that Afghanistan was starved for Iraq and that they would reverse that.

    Specific attacks on Bush were that he supposedly ignored Shinseki’s advice on troop levels ( a misrepresentation of the situation ). And that they would not do that.

    We see yet another Obama broken campaign promise.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  5. I am absolutely furious about this betrayal. The one and only use of military force he approved of was in Afghanistan. AND, this blankety blank blank blank ripped W for not doing ENOUGH there.


    I totally recognize BHO is a supreme liar and I should not allow him to get to me. But, this? The Republic is ending even more rapidly than I had thought.

    Ed from SFV (d4f5c2)

  6. SPQR – Teh One has always said that Pawkeeeestawn is the proper fromt for the War on Terror, and that Afghanistan was just a distraction from the right place to be fighting. Or something like that.

    JD (9019c8)

  7. it all depends on the meaning of the word ‘mission’… and how it is defined.

    Right now, the mission is to do in Afghanistan what was done in Iraq: maintain order and help an allegedly friendly, democratic government develops the ability to take care of itself. Note that killing terrorists is secondary (and especially so in light of the restrictive ROEs). And to do this, it probably is going to take a whole lot more soldiers than we have there now. Obama isn’t all that keen on sending more troops, but neither is he keen on the whole nation building exercise.

    On the other hand, a mission that focused on seeking out and killing terrorists (whether in Afghanistan or Pakistan) can be accomplished with fewer troops than the existing mission.

    So… I’m guessing Obama may end up changing the mission to something that can be accomplished without needing many more troops.

    Boy, Obama doing something I like… who would have thunk that?

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  8. steve – If they would actually do that aggressively, I probably would not have a problem with them going down that route. However, there is nothing to indicate they would actually do so, and Barcky spent the last few years telling us how great his vision was on this issue, and that we need more, not less.

    JD (9019c8)

  9. JD: good point, but I remember Obama during the campaign making threats to unilaterally strike inside Pakistan. Just an empty campaign ploy to appear eager to defend America?

    steve sturm (369bc6)

  10. steve – There are so many issues where he has argued both sides of the issue, depending on the audience, that it is practically impossible to know exactly what his position is. On Offgawneeeestawn, Barcky and the Dems have been marginally consistent in that they claim that is the fight that we should be fighting, and we diverted manpower and resources away from there, something they will rectify. Now that they are allegedly leading, and they have found it difficult, the song changes, dramatically.

    JD (9019c8)

  11. urgent, confidential assessment

    not so much either, really, from what I can tell

    happyfeet (71f55e)

  12. I can’t find a link but I believe Gates and Petraeus have both said they can’t contain terrorism solely with air assets in Afghanistan. I’ll look for it later if I have time.

    DRJ (b008f8)

  13. There was nothing urgent or critical about this for the White House. They had this for a while, and delayed its release for admittedly political reasons.

    JD (9019c8)

  14. “…and he was elected to make decisions like this.”

    Maybe it’s above his pay grade!

    JohnG (b54101)

  15. At this point, the choice of breakfast cereals is above his pay-grade.

    JD (9019c8)

  16. Recall how he “spat” out the word “victory” over the summer and said he wasn’t invested in that old fashioned concept. Let’s see Canada has announced the end of its commitment of troops to Afghanistan. Obama went a long way down the path in alienating Poland and the Czech Republic – both of which have troops in Afghanistan – wonder how long they’ll stay the course?

    Obama will continue to vote “present” while our troops are in harm’s way and he tries to figure out how to make this about race and angry Republicans, too. Cue Pelosi and Reid to start some diversion and blame Bush and Republicans in Congress for putting our Dear Leader in this no win position.

    in_awe (a55176)

  17. I’ve updated the post.

    DRJ (b008f8)

  18. He said that if the same systematic approach had been applied eight years ago when the United States first invaded Afghanistan, “we would have been better off”

    Good Allah, there is nothing that he is not mendoucheous about. I guess Letterman is as safe of an environment as possible for him to talk about the issues of the day.

    JD (9019c8)

  19. […] Barack Obama didn’t run on a platform of experience and years of government leadership. Instead, he ran as the smarter, wiser, “Trust my judgment” candidate, so it matters if his initial judgments are wrong. Candidate Obama said America needs to win in Afghanistan and he implied the way to win is by sending more troops. But as long as President Obama continues to procrastinate or refuses to send more troops as requested by General McChrystal, it not only brings Obama’s judgment into question but risks losing the war. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » The Judgment to Lead (e4ab32)

  20. Ice in #20 has been spamming several threads. You might want to delete and ban.

    [On it now BroBrad, thanks. –Stashiu]

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

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