Pentagon Wants More Troops for Afghanistan

A declassified version of a report by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal on the war in Afghanistan predicts the U.S. will lose the war there if more troops aren't provided. McChrystal is the top U.S. and Nato Commander in Afghanistan.

"Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) -- while Afghan security capacity matures -- risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible."

The Washington Post has published the report here. President Obama is studying the report. [More...]

[T]he discussion in the White House is now focused on whether, after eight years of war, the United States should vastly expand counterinsurgency efforts along the lines he has proposed -- which involve an intensive program to improve security and governance in key population centers -- or whether it should begin shifting its approach away from such initiatives and simply target leaders of terrorist groups who try to return to Afghanistan.

Yesterday, President Obama said:

Until I'm satisfied that we've got the right strategy, I'm not going to be sending some young man or woman over there -- beyond what we already have," Obama said on NBC's "Meet the Press." If an expanded counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan contributes to the goal of defeating al-Qaeda, "then we'll move forward," he said. "But, if it doesn't, then I'm not interested in just being in Afghanistan for the sake of being in Afghanistan or saving face or . . . sending a message that America is here for the duration."

...."We're not going to put the cart before the horse and just think that by sending more troops, we're automatically going to make Americans safe," he said.

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    When can we start calling (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by scribe on Mon Sep 21, 2009 at 08:49:37 AM EST
    General McChrystal by a more appropriate name:  "General Westmoreland"?

    Because, just like Westmoreland, McChrystal will never have enough resources, and will predict all sorts of difficulties if he does not get what he wants and victory being just around the corner if he does get it.

    He got one thing right. (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Fabian on Mon Sep 21, 2009 at 09:00:07 AM EST
    There aren't enough forces in Afghanistan to do what we want them to.

    Of course, that goes way back to President Bush who just had to go after Saddam Hussein instead.  He would have been better off invading Pakistan if he had wanted to crush the Taliban and Al Quaeda.  (Yes, I know how politically unpopular that move would have been.  Then again....)


    There will never be enough forces in (none / 0) (#7)
    by scribe on Mon Sep 21, 2009 at 09:45:17 AM EST
    Afghanistan for any outside power to do what they want to do.

    You forget that Soviet strength topped out at about 108,000 in their surge of 1985.  Surging soldiers into battle and killing lots of Afghans didn't work for them, either.


    If you engage in (none / 0) (#8)
    by Fabian on Mon Sep 21, 2009 at 10:04:22 AM EST
    actual nation-building by creating the political and physical infrastructure to tie the disparate regions into a coherent whole, you could create a centralized government capable of creating a stable economy and administering and defending the country.

    My WAG was a mere twenty years and some incredible amount of resources could be effective - if you were really serious about doing the job right.  If you were serious, you wouldn't be using the military to do a civil engineer's job.


    The point of the Afghan war never was (none / 0) (#11)
    by scribe on Mon Sep 21, 2009 at 10:32:10 AM EST
    to do "nation-building".  The point of having the Afghan war was to have a war so the Executive Branch could assert all the wartime prerogatives it has asserted over the last 8 plus years.

    If the point of having the Afghan war was to have, say, captured or killed Osama bin Laden, then the generals and civilians who screwed up Operation Anaconda by "giving the honor" of capturing bin Laden to the locals (which locals promptly let him slip across the mountains into Pakistan and gave us a "no one could ever have expected") would be asking us "would you like fries with that" instead of continuing to collect large salaries on their supposed expertise and experience.


    Well, then. (none / 0) (#13)
    by Fabian on Mon Sep 21, 2009 at 02:00:30 PM EST
    We should have pulled out after OBL escaped and Saddam Hussein was captured.  

    Pakistan has nukes... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Mon Sep 21, 2009 at 10:17:22 AM EST
    we couldn't invade Pakistan if we wanted to.

    I'm an unbeliever (5.00 / 0) (#2)
    by Fabian on Mon Sep 21, 2009 at 08:55:10 AM EST
    when it comes to Afghanistan.

    Aghanistan is a fractured country - politically, geographically, economically, militarily.  Any possible victory will be necessarily a partial victory simply because the necessary infrastructure isn't there to create a total victory.  (The army was (wisely) training forces how to use donkeys to haul equipment.)

    What kind of partial victory do we want?  What resources are we willing to invest to achieve that victory?

    While the Post (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Sep 21, 2009 at 09:00:51 AM EST
    While the Post calls "leaked," "obtained," leaked it was and the WH must be livid.

    This is the military's way of telling us they don't believe Obama and aren't willing to play the game the way it it was played in Vietnam. Anyone who was within a mile of the report will likely find themselves strapped to a lie detector and handled more harshly than the guidelines for questioning terrorists allows.

    Afghanistan is Obama's war. I wonder what he will do with it. My bet is he will withdraw within a year.

    Onlyt way to break a McChrystal Meth habit (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Ben Masel on Mon Sep 21, 2009 at 09:13:49 AM EST
    is to quit.

    Afghanistan police (5.00 / 0) (#6)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Sep 21, 2009 at 09:39:44 AM EST
    Interesting AP piece saying the Afghanistan police think more U.S. troops is actually a very bad idea.

    Unless we are prepared.... (none / 0) (#9)
    by Dadler on Mon Sep 21, 2009 at 10:14:39 AM EST
    ...to send a million troops there and keep them there just this side of forever, then we are going to have to face facts.  and the fact is this: unless you are going to be more brutal than the insurgency, while at the same time being magnanimous beyond all measure to non-insurgents (quite a contradiction, since insurgents and non-insurgents can morph every day), then we are going to simply play out the same absurd game of bombs and bakruptcy.  There are no answers for some things in life.  Which is what makes living it very hard sometimes.  Attempting to avoid that reality is folly.  

    Ah, the age old question. (none / 0) (#12)
    by jimakaPPJ on Mon Sep 21, 2009 at 10:38:31 AM EST
    Shall we cut off the leg to save the patient or shall we let the disease devour the patient, mutate and move into the general population? And then from there to the wide wide world of people who can't bring themselves to believe that yes, stonings, hangings and honor killings do exist along side bombings and chemical weapons attacks.

    We haven't been able to answer this is since 1979 and Carter's surrender. Bush had the right idea but wasn't willing to clear out the problems at home. So he did a partial on Iraq which is now scabbing over with the infection bleeding through from Iran while Obama is trying to act as if he will do anything drastic about the poison in Afghanistan besides trying to get the Russians to act as traffic cops.

    Even Biden could see this coming, although his timing was off a bit.