Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tensions Rise Over Afghan War Strategy

From the Los Angeles Times, "Tensions Rise Over Afghanistan War Strategy" (via Memeorandum):

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Monday that President Obama's advisors should keep their guidance private, in effect admonishing the top commander in Afghanistan for publicly advocating an approach requiring more troops even as the White House reassesses its strategy.

The comment by Gates came a day after Obama's national security advisor, James L. Jones, said that military commanders should convey their advice through the chain of command -- a reaction to Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal's public statements in support of his troop-intensive strategy for stabilizing Afghanistan.

The exchanges suggested some disarray in the Obama administration's attempts to forge a new policy on Afghanistan and underscored wide differences among top officials over the correct approach.

In May, Obama tapped McChrystal, a special forces commander, to take charge of the Afghanistan effort and institute a sweeping counterinsurgency strategy. Obama and McChrystal spoke Friday aboard Air Force One on an airport tarmac in Copenhagen, and White House officials did not detail what the two talked about.

Still, Pentagon officials dismissed suggestions Monday that the 55-year-old commander was in any professional jeopardy. Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said it would be "absurd" to think McChrystal had lost favor or standing with the administration.

Gates' comments, in an address before an Assn. of the U.S. Army meeting, came in the midst of what the Pentagon chief called a "hyper-partisan" debate over Afghanistan policy. Many Republicans and even some leading Democrats demand the president comply with commanders' troop requests.

The deaths of eight U.S. service members in an insurgent attack in a remote area over the weekend fueled the political fight. At least one prominent Republican, Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, argued that the failure to send more troops would lead to additional deaths.

With public opinion turning against the war, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will meet today with congressional leaders. The president is scheduled to chair a strategy session Wednesday with top advisors.

Gates, demanding room for the administration's deliberations, said the resulting decisions would be among the most important of Obama's presidency.
I'll say.

left is seeking to distort General McCrystal's comments into a constitutional crisis of civil/military relations. But see Michael O'Hanlon, "A General Within Bounds." Also, Jules Crittenden, "Consulter In Chief."

Plus, don't miss Michael Yon, "
Two Firefights: One Video."


Philippe Öhlund said...

Great post Donald! :-)

I hope the White House will make a wise decision.

AmPowerBlog said...

Thanks Philippe!

Dave said...

Obama as CIC has already capitulated in the GWOT, first by word, and now by deed.

As it appears he clearly lacks the stones for a fight, then he should at least get our people out of there, before they become nothing more than hapless cannon-fodder for the camel-washers.

This is not going to end well.


Philippe Öhlund said...

You're welcome Donald! :-)

bus said...

Actually i am also waiting for his wise decision but ....... when....its too late..

Alexandra said...

To win in Afghanistan, The coalition need rebuild the entire society who have now lived with war and destruction for over 30 years. Afghanistan was once a country where a sophisticated and tolerant culture prospered. Those with education and money wore dashionable clothes and enjoyed entertainement such as cinemas and restaurants.

A possible way to bring harmony back to afghnaistan would be to build a protected model city where people whose values were conducive to the establishment of democracy and freedom in afganistan would be invite to live and work. Such a city would need to be controllex by the coalition forces and administered by the true believers in democracy to immusnise it from corruption. The purpose of such a city would be to establish a beam of hope to the rest of the people of afghanistan that their entire country could also be a prosperous and peaceful place with cultur, fun self determination, self empowerment (as in grass roots people power not a top down imposition of democracy) and confidence in their own abilities