Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The Obama\McChrystal plan for Afghanistan

Michael O'Hanlon in full via Short War Journal. If it's really an Obama\McChrystal plan, call me an Obama supporter. I just wish the Prez would clear time to talk with his Commander more often, and pick up the administrations Battle Tempo.
Michael O'Hanlon, Washington Post opinion. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the US commander in Afghanistan, has come under fire for making public comments about the war. While answering questions after an Oct. 1 speech - in which he avoided taking sides in the policy debate - McChrystal challenged a popular alternative to the approach that President Obama sent him to Afghanistan to pursue. An op-ed on this page Saturday argued that a battlefield commander should not get ahead of his president in public. Next, national security adviser James L. Jones faulted McChrystal for speaking outside his internal chain of command while the president is reviewing his strategy and basic assumptions about the war. Certainly, if given a do-over, McChrystal might make different, more nuanced statements; he was indeed too blunt and impolitic. But the criticism goes too far. The Obama/McChrystal plan is classic counterinsurgency and focuses on protecting the Afghan population while strengthening Afghan security forces and government. McChrystal was asked about a "counterterrorism" strategy that would purportedly contain al-Qaeda with much lower numbers of American troops, casualties and other costs. McChrystal did not try to force the president's hand on whether to increase the foreign troop presence in Afghanistan. The general critiqued an option that is at direct odds with Obama's policy and conflicts with the experiences of the US military this decade. That is not fundamentally out of line for a commander.

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