Monday, September 28, 2009

Stanley McChrystal's Frank Talk on Afghanistan

I nearly posted on this last night, but didn't find a YouTube to go with my commentary. Readers can watch the interview at CBS, "McChrystal's Frank Talk on Afghanistan."

The Hill covers the conclusion of the interview, which was pretty dramatic. See, "
Despite Pressure, McChrystal to Hold Firm on Request for Troops":

Gen. Stanley McChrystal said he will not back down from his request for additional troops in Afghanistan, even though Democrats in Congress and the Obama administration have been hesitant to embrace it.

Speaking on CBS’s “60 Minutes” on Sunday night, the new U.S. commander in Afghanistan said pressure to rescind that request will have no affect on his actions going forward.
“Doesn’t affect me at all, and I take this extraordinarily seriously,” McChrystal said, according to a transcript. “I believe that what I am responsible to do is to give my best assessment.”

McChrystal’s recent report -- delivered to Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen on Friday and asking for 40,000 more troops -- is a hot-button issue on Capitol Hill, with Democrats hitting the Sunday talk show circuit earlier in the day and saying that the administration should weigh McChrystal’s request very carefully.

"I think the president is correct to take his time, to really examine what the alternatives are at this time," Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said, echoing fellow senator and former Navy Secretary Jim Webb (D-Va.).

Obama authorized 21,000 additional troops for Afghanistan as soon as he came into office in January and the last from that order are still deploying to the region.

McChrystal deflected when asked whether he thought he would get what he is asking for from Washington.

“I’m confident that I will have an absolute chance to provide my assessment and to make my recommendations,” he said.
At MyDD, Charles Lemos argues the Afghan effort is hopeless:

Afghanistan is an artificial state, the rump left over after the Grand Game between Britain and Russia ended in the late 19th century. This Central Asian entity we call Afghanistan is an accident drawn up to suit the interests of outsiders, not those of the myriad peoples of the region. To believe that we can create a strong and stable central government defies historical and cultural realities.
Actually, expert analysis rejects that view, based on an interest-based analysis of the key participants to the conflict. See my earlier report, "Reconciliation and Resolve in Afghanistan." See my analysis of public support for the deployment as well, "Success Matters: Public Opinion and the War in Afghanistan."