June 22, 2010

Quote of the Day

"I extend my sincerest apology for this profile. It was a mistake reflecting poor judgment and should never happened... I have enormous respect and admiration for President Obama and his national security team."

- General Stanley McChrystal, apologizing for a soon-to-be-released Rolling Stone article titled, The Runaway General, in which McChrystal mocks several White House officials over Afghanistan

He referred to President Barack Obama's decision to approve the surge by saying, "I found that time painful. I was selling an unsellable position."

The latest cracks in the foundation. The December review and July 2011 deadline threaten to consume the White House and Pentagon with political infighting and leaks, just like the review in 2009. Problematically, the White House and Pentagon disagree on many areas of foreign policy, including Afghanistan.

"Analysts say Gen McChrystal disagreed with the pledge to start bringing troops home in July 2011," says the BBC matter-of-factly.

The White House and Pentagon have to get a grip on Afghanistan and that requires altering the time-frame one way or the other. Another review or a special team meeting won't bring resolution unless fundamental policies undergo reform in the process.

But such a possibility from Washington faces grim odds.


  1. Wonder what his thoughts are about the Afghan people?


    It is falling apart at the seems.

  2. Like many insurgency populations the majority of Afghans are neutral. Polls give US troops 40-50% approval, the Taliban 10-20%. But most Afghans are unhappy at everyone and thus neutral - they will swing to whatever side grants the greatest benefit. Since Afghans distrust Kabul even more than US troops, and America sides with Kabul, they won't switch until Karzai proves his worth. We also have to factor in that Tajiks buoy US support, which is much lower in the south. The Taliban can never secure a 60-70% majority - a 2/3rds majority is usually necessary to swing a counterinsurgency - but America seems just as unlikely to. Would be a very long road to try and the White House/Pentagon aren't proving up to the task.

    If Obama really wanted to resolve the conflict in Afghanistan, why has Kashmir been treated with silence? Obviously India isn't warm to US interference, but the fact remains that US strategy in Afghanistan remains militaristic. COIN requires full-spectrum dominance to ultimately "win" the locals. US strategy is full of gaps - time-lines, troops, and trust, whether inside Washington or with Islamabad.

    The Pentagon tells us to wait for results, but US strategy requires emergency surgery. It will be too late if they wait.