Military, Civilians at odds over Resource Needed for Afhanistan
In early March President Obama conducted a strategic review with of the Afghanistan Mission. The conclusion reached at the time was that a comprehensive counter-insurgency strategy was required. All but Vice President Biden's National Security Advisor agreed. Biden's team advocated surgical strikes and drone attacks.
The review resulted in the replacement of General McKiernan and the appointment of General McChrystal. There was no doubt in the minds of the Generals what President Obama's direction was.
General McChrystal went on his mission as ISAF Commander to Afghanistan and, after a comprehensive estimate, he came to the conclusion that this strategy requires another 40,000 troops.
The civilians, involved in the review in March, did not have such a clear view of the strategy and assumed that the additonal 17,000 troops already allocated to the mission would suffice.
McChrystal's report that had been submitted near end August was leaked. The source of the leak is not known. General McChrystal was included in a segment on 60 minutes a little over a week ago, in which he gave a comprehensive tour to the 60 minute crew. He also spoke out in London restating the requirement if the mission was not to fail.
The Afghan mission is now in the forefront and it appears that civilian advisors, including National Security Advisor, General (retired) Jones now favour Joe Biden.s recommendation of surgical strikes and drone attacks at specific Al Quaeida and Taliban targets.
Afghanistan is turning into a quagmire. Regardless of what the President decides, it is a no win situation. If he goes Afghanistan (heavy) a la McChrystal, he is sure to alienate his left base, if he goes Afghanistan (Light) a la Biden, he will be seen as weak.
The Afghanistan war could be the defining factor in President Obama's Presidency. He would be well advised to weigh the pros and cons carefully.
Here is an open letter to President Obama by William R. Polk with a detailed description of the area, it's people and a recommended course of action.
William R. Polk Wikepedia Biography
In early March, after weeks of debate across a conference table in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, the participants in President Obama's strategic review of the war in Afghanistan figured that the most contentious part of their discussions was behind them. Everyone, save Vice President Biden's national security adviser, agreed that the United States needed to mount a comprehensive counterinsurgency mission to defeat the Taliban.