ISAF under Command of General McChrystal (The March Strategy)
General McKiernan commanded ISAF until he was replaced by the Obama Administration in March of this year by General McChrystal.
White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel alleged on the Sunday talk shows that there was no plan or strategy present prior to the Obama Administration taking over. Dick Cheney, former Vice President under GW Bush, reputed this by commenting that there had been a comprehensive review of Afghanistan for almost two months. According to Cheney upon request of the White House Transition Staff that it was agreed that the Bush Administration would not release it.
According to Cheney this strategy is the one adopted, with very few changes, in March of this year. I leave it to the reader to decide who is telling the truth. Having said that, it would be very surprising to me that the Pentagon and Secretary Gates would not be constantly updating its contingency plans and strategy as part of normal operating procedures. My military service and employment in several headquarters tells me that is so.
General McChrystal, armed with the new strategy, took command of Afghanistan's ISAF and undertook a comprehensive fact checking mission to determine how best to implement this policy. He created waves with his multi-national staff by asking subordinate commanders hard questions and basically playing hardball until he got the answer he needed.
In his pursuit he traveled from village to village and sometimes to the dismay of the commanders on the ground, discarded his flak vest and helmet while he talked to villagers. He asked them what he could do for them rather than telling them. He then told his commanders on the ground how to change their approach.
Early in McChrystal's tenure he issued new Rules of Engagement, which basically was to avoid civilian casualties at any cost, even if the enemy runs away. McChrystal also determined that living with the locals in villages and providing continued security was the best way to win hearts and minds. Co-operating civilians obviously were concerned about vengeful acts by the Taliban after the NATO forces left.
It is generally believed that an approach to improve the economic condition of the people of Afghanistan, by ensuring well working infrastructure and jobs would stop young men from joining the Taliban in their quest to fight NATO.
In his comprehensive review, General McChrystal determined that up to 80,000 additional troops were required to implement this policy. It is believed that he recommended an additional 40,000 troops to implement the counter-insurgency strategy.
Some have accused President Obama to be sitting on this report and showing indecision or leaving the troops on a cliff hanger. The attack on FOX News, The Chamber of Commerce and Wall Street bonuses are believed by some to be distractions from the business that should be attended to, i.e. the economy, Afghanistan and the chaos presently in health care legislation.
General McChrystal did what was asked of him. He completed his review and presented it to the Administration at the end of August. His recommendation is supported by the military chain of Command and Secretary Gates. Some Democratics Senators, namel Diane Feinstein, believe Obama should go with the General's recommendations.
I leave it to you to decide if Obama is dithering on this issue.
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Omaha, Nebraska, United States