Containment or victory? The policy struggle over Afghanistan
This from the Washington Post (Dec. 26) takes up the issue of who will run the U.S. Afghanistan policy: Obama or McChrystal. Chandrasekaran is the author of The Emerald City about the war in Iraq where he was a correspondent for the Post. The whole story is obviously a series of leaks meant to send messages between the White House and the Pentagon. Well worth a read.
OBAMA’S WAR EXIT VS. VICTORY
Civilian, military planners have different views on new approach to Afghanistan
By Rajiv Chandrasekaran
…”A ‘dramatic change’?
“Although senior-level civilians in the administration emerged from the review process thinking the mission had been circumscribed, senior military officials continue to have a different view. The result, as they see it, is that the White House has embraced McChrystal’s original plan.
“We had already been pretty focused that we wouldn’t try to clear and hold things more than we needed to,” said a senior commander involved in the war. “It wasn’t a dramatic change by any means.”
“White House officials have cited a meeting among NSC staff members and McChrystal in which the general displayed a slide stating that his mission was to “Defeat the Taliban,” which some civilians deemed overly ambitious because it suggested that every last member of the Taliban would have to be killed or captured. The officials said the mission was redefined to avoid the term.”