Leadership is Not an Option

 In his clear cut conclusion the top American commander in Afghanistan forces a stark and urgent choice on President Obama and his administration.“The status quo will lead to failure” is the quote from General Stanley McChrystal that bluntly sums up his report now being debated by policy makers in DC. The report makes clear his view that ultimate success in Afghanistan requires overcoming two main threats: “The insurgency and a crisis of confidence among Afghans in their own government. Both must be addressed, and together they require more resources”, he says. “Insufficiently addressing either principal threat will result in failure,” the general concludes. The McChrystal assessment will test the President’s assertion, just six months ago, that he would put the war effort on a path to success by providing what the previous White House didn’t.

Will He?

Given the backpedaling clearly evident in the recent statements from the administration, it seems a new strategy is considering expanding counterterror operations in Pakistan to refocus on eliminating al-Qaida instead of mounting a major military escalation in Afghanistan. Two senior administration officials said Monday that the renewed fight against the terrorist organization could lead to more missile attacks on Pakistan terrorist havens by unmanned U.S. spy planes. Top aides to President Obama said he still has questions and wants more time to decide. The officials said the administration would push ahead with the ground mission in Afghanistan for the near future, and leave the door open for sending more U.S. troops. But Obama’s top advisers, including Vice President Joe Biden, have indicated they are reluctant to send many more troops — if any at all — in the immediate future. In weekend interviews, Obama emphasized that disrupting al-Qaida is his “core goal” and worried aloud about “mission creep” that moved away from that direction. “If it starts drifting away from that goal, then we may have a problem,” he said.

Obviously Politicians believe advisors know more than Generals, (Pfft) so… Being a savvy Commander General McChrystal consulted with an astute advisor, someone not immersed in the political machinations of White House and DC politics.

Anthony Cordesman, a military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies who advised McChrystal in Kabul this summer, said in a telephone interview Monday that “Obama has invited doubt about his commitment to succeeding in Afghanistan by putting off a decision on devoting more resources”.

“The truth is that we don’t have that much time,” Cordesman said. “Waiting to see what happens with existing resources and existing troop levels, when the commanding general has already said that’s an unacceptable risk, basically invites defeat.”

He added:
“The president has yet to show he can lead in this war.”

His assesment PDF is HERE:

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said, however, that he does not believe that a scaled-back approach which focuses on killing al-Qaida leaders — rather than the McChrystal view that counterterrorism operations should be part of a broader campaign to build up Afghan support for their government — is the right answer. “The notion that you can conduct a purely counterterrorist kind of campaign and do it from a distance simply does not accord with reality,” Gates told reporters earlier this month. “The reality is that even if you want to focus on counterterrorism, you cannot do that successfully without local law enforcement, without internal security, without intelligence” — without a major presence in Kabul. McChrystal’s immediate superior, Gen. David Petraeus, sees it similarly in an op-ed article published Friday. “He is the first to recognize not just the extraordinary capabilities but also the limitations of counterterrorism forces in Afghanistan,” Petraeus wrote in The Times of London.
Many have remembered Afghan history and point out...
"no one wins there"... I will not argue that, however we must not LOSE voluntarily thus a draw = Win.

To Quote Prof Cordesman: "The US will fail, however, if the Administration and the Congress temporize and delay. Failing to fully implement a new strategy focused on a realistic effort to create true Afghan partners, while allowing domestic politics to supersede the needed troops and funds, will lead to such a defeat. It is clear that the Obama Administration and the US Congress can decisively waste the last opportunity for victory over the coming months by not giving the US team in Afghanistan the authority, support, and resources needed to win"




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