January 04, 2011

A Clarification

Readers, there appears to have been some confusion as to whether or not I support the request made by Gen. McChrystal for more troops in Afghanistan. I do. But in addition to clarifying matters, allow me to put my opinions into context.

Below you will find two documents. The first is the president's published policy and strategic objectives for Afghanistan and Pakistan. The second is Gen. McChrystal's initial assessment of the war in Afghanistan. Based on these two documents and assuming the former is still valid, I believe, along with Adm. Mullen and Gens. Petraeus and McChrystal, that a properly-resourced counterinsurgency strategy is the best strategy for realizing the president's policy objectives. Nothing -- including the disastrous Afghan presidential election -- changes my opinion here regarding how to best operationalize the president's policy and strategic objectives. If, on the other hand, the president changes his own assessment or revisits his policy, I might in turn change my opinion on how to best operationalize his policy and those strategic objectives. While the Afghan presidential elections do not, I believe, change the way in which we might operationalize a strategy, it does -- along with the latter document -- offer cause for rethinking the assumptions that went into the initial policy review. Make sense? Good.