Tribute to the military

Saturday, November 14, 2009

US Afghan Envoy urges Caution

Courtesy of Chris Stirewalt….

New York Times -- U.S. Envoy Urges Caution on Forces for Afghanistan

Because of the size and scope of the leak of Afghanistan envoy Carl Eikenberry’s cables expressing doubts about the merits of Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s plan for a troop surge, one suspects that it is a message the administration was eager to get out.

Writers Elisabeth Bumiller and Mark Lander frame the suggestion for a non-surge surge of 10,000 troops to train Afghans but not kill baddies is part of a conflict between Eikenberry, the former U.S. commander in Afghanistan, and McChrystal.

“Their relationship, a senior military official said last year, was occasionally tense as General McChrystal pushed for approval for commando missions, and General Eikenberry was resistant because of concerns that the missions were too risky and could lead to civilian casualties.

It was unclear whether General Eikenberry, who participated in the Afghanistan policy meeting on Wednesday by video link from Kabul, the Afghan capital, had been asked by the White House to put his views in writing. It was also unclear how persuasive they will be with Mr. Obama.”

Obama wants to revise Afghan options

Associated Press -- Obama said to want revised Afghanistan options

Courtesy of Chris Stirewalt……. President Obama inverst General Patton’s axiom about military strategy: Obama is looking for a perfect plan to be executed at some indefinite point in the future on Afghanistan rather than a good one that could be executed today.

Writers Anne Geran and Ben Feller report that just as it seemed the president had all abut announced his decision to put 35,000 more troops in Afghanistan, he changed course and has asked for a new set of options.

The process has gone on so long that Obama must be stalling for a more advantageous moment in which to announce his plan or really intends to micromanage the strategy if Afghanistan or just can’t make up his mind.

Chris Stirewalt argued in his column (11/12, Washington Examiner), that the protracted process invites speculation about Obama’s commitment to taking on radical Islam.

The president is expected to announce his decision next week (maybe) when he returns from his record-setting eighth foreign trip of his first year in office.

“The president instead pushed for revisions to clarify how and when U.S. troops would turn over responsibility to the Afghan government. In turn, that could change the dynamic of both how many additional troops are sent to Afghanistan and what the timeline would be for their presence in the war zone, according to the official.

Military officials said Obama has asked for a rewrite before and resisted what one official called a one-way highway toward war commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal's recommendations for more troops. The sense that he was being rushed and railroaded has stiffened Obama's resolve to seek information and options beyond military planning, officials said, though a substantial troop increase is still likely.”

Friday, November 13, 2009