Monday, October 5, 2009

Sharp division inside White House on Afghanistan, analyst says

CNN reported, "Deliberations over what to do in Afghanistan are taking place behind closed doors, but the divisions among some of President Obama's trusted advisers are starting to emerge. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, has made no secret about his belief that the U.S. needs to send more troops now -- or it will risk failure, making an unusual appearance last week in front of a global strategic think tank to present his case."

I can't imagine what kind of weight Gen. McChrystal has on his shoulders over what he has to accomplish in Afghanistan.

"We need to reverse the current trends, and time does matter. Waiting does not prolong a favorable outcome. This effort will not remain winnable indefinitely," McChrystal said last week in a speech in London, England."

And Obama doesn't have it any better, really. He's got to try and find a way to come out of this war, that he inherited, in such a way that the Afghans don't hate us and the United States can call itself a victor without looking like the playground bully. Personally, I won't be happy until we find out that Osama Bin Ladin is dead. He'll probably die somewhere in a cave, maybe from old age or kidney failure (if the rumors of his health are true) and our military won't get the opportunity they deserve to kill him off themselves. I don't think we'll get justice in that regard. And plus, in a situation such as this (not including what's going on in Iraq, and what's probably brewing in Iran and Korea), that I wish that Obama had military experience. I think it would make him more effective in his decision making if he understood the military first hand.

"Obama has said he needs time to meet with his advisers and evaluate the best way forward before making a decision about resources. As discussions continue this week -- including two meetings with his national security team -- some are suggesting that it would be best if talks about strategy be kept behind closed doors...McChrystal has said he wants to focus more on protecting Afghan civilians rather than holding remote outposts such as the one that was attacked.

I saw McChrystal on "60 Minutes" about a week or so ago, and as a civilian, armchair blogger, I have to say...I'm not impressed with him. I am impressed with the fact he wants to show respect to the Afghan people because it is their country our military is in. This didn't come across as a public affairs move, orchestrated by some pencil pusher. This is genuine on his part.

However, McChrystal does come across as almost too military, if there is such a thing. In watching his interview, I don't think he cares much about the morale of the troops he commands. There is a nice little garden, wherever it is that he's stationed. There was video of some American troops, all in their desert cammies, drinking coffee there, just taking a break from things. It looked peaceful. The reporter asked McChrystal what he'd like to do there in the garden. He actually said he'd like to get rid of it and turn it into a gun range because anything that distracts the troops from the mission at hand is not good.

So on a military base in the middle of a dusty, hot desert, he wants to remove one little way to relax and decompress for our troops. I disagree...the garden is needed and so is their morale.

"Under President Bush and Vice President Cheney -- who kind of had a war mentality -- they were very much at the table. I think McChrystal went into Afghanistan assuming he had that same premise," [Ed Rollins, a Republican strategist and CNN contributor] said. "I think you have other voices that aren't quite so pro-war, and I think to a certain extent, I think McChrystal made a big mistake by going out and publicly advocating."

I don't think McChrystal is the right man for the job anymore. I think he's lost sight of the fact these are men and women, not war machines."McChrystal is said to want up to 40,000 more troops to carry out the mission in Afghanistan. Obama has yet to respond to McChrystal's report, prompting opponents to accuse him of indecisiveness." I'd like to know where all these troops are coming from, and I hope the United States government is keeping up with re-enlistment bonuses for our troops. Because if not, then in a few years, there won't be enough troops to go around.