Not the Way to Win in Afghanistan
The American military commander in Afghanistan had already tempered his request for troops:
Gen. Stanley McChrystal wanted to ask President Obama for 50,000 more troops for Afghanistan on top of the 68,000 already stationed there, but he was convinced to lower the request to 40,000, reports CBS News White House correspondent Chip Reid.
Sources tell Reid that McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, considers the lower number to be a firm bottom line McChrystal believes anything short of 40,000 increases the risk of failure, Reid reports.
His commander in chief reduced the number by 25%:
Declaring “our security is at stake,” President Barack Obama ordered an additional 30,000 U.S. troops into the long war in Afghanistan Tuesday night, nearly tripling the force he inherited as commander in chief. He promised an impatient public he would begin bringing units home in 18 months.
Put aside the fact that AP reporters Darlene Superville and Steven Hurst offer no evidence of or explanation for the public’s impatience, unless one includes their subsequent admission that the president “made no direct reference to public opinion.” The most significant opinion, in the equation, is that of the man with authority to add or subtract the number of American warriors in the region, and he clearly does not have the will to win.
President Obama took months to decide that he was going to barter General McChrystal down on the troop request and offer an explicit time line for withdrawal. The message to our enemies has been broadcast: hang tight.
God help the members of the armed services whom this man commands. And God watch over us all as we enter the second decade of this millennium, which appears likely to include a nuclear-powered Iran and a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan.