Tags: afghanistan | obama

U.S., NATO Risk Afghan Failure Without More Troops

Wednesday, 23 Sep 2009 02:14 PM

By Frank Gaffney

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The following is a transcript from Frank Gaffney Jr.'s weekly radio show.

The report in [the Sept. 22] Washington Post — McChrystal is the headline — “More Forces or Mission Failure.” There are a number of important points made in this, and I just want to give you a quick rendering of it, then I’ll give you my thoughts as to why it’s important.

The article, written by Bob Woodward, of Woodward and Bernstein, starts out “the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan warns in an urgent, confidential assessment of the war that he needs more forces within the next year, and bluntly states that without them, the eight-year conflict ‘will likely result in failure.’ ”

According to a copy of the 66-page document obtained by the Washington Post, it goes on to say that General McChrystal’s view is that “failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near-term (next 12 months) — while Afghan security capacity matures — risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible.” He maintains that the situation is serious; success is none-the-less achievable. But he describes in this report, according to the Washington Post, “extensive new details about the Taliban insurgency,” which General McChrystal calls a muscular and sophisticated enemy that uses modern propaganda and reaches into Afghanistan’s prisons to recruit members, and even plan operations.

Now, the thrust of this report is that General McChrystal who, let’s recall, was hired by President [Barack] Obama, brought into the job he now holds, commanding our forces and those of NATO in theater in Afghanistan, precisely for the purpose of devising a new, more effective strategy for prevailing there, and for the execution of that strategy. So, this is President Obama’s pick, charged with putting together a winning strategy — what is known as a counterinsurgency strategy — and charged by the president, we’ve been led to believe at least, with fulfilling what it takes to realize the success that that strategy is supposed to deliver.

Now, why this is so troubling is — it appears, in the face of growing political pressure from the president, to some extent, perhaps, certainly from leaders of his party on Capitol Hill, and indisputably, many on the left among his political base — we’re now seeing pushback on General McChrystal: pushback, not to even ask for these forces; pushback not to expect them anytime soon; pushback, perhaps, even on the execution of his counterinsurgency strategy. Let me give you a clip of one of the president’s enumerable appearances over the weekend, in which he was asked to comment on what, was at that time, still undisclosed, but none-the-less a report he had already received from General McChrystal:

“If, by sending young men and women into harm’s way we are defeating al-Qaida, and that can be shown to a skeptical audience — namely me, someone who is always asking hard questions about deploying troops — then, we will do what is required to keep the American people safe.”

Well, that skeptical audience of one is considerably larger. There is no question that the left is increasingly assertive. And, I think, the president is increasingly indicating he’s not in any hurry to approve General McChrystal’s urgent request for more boots on the ground. What is absolutely required, if you are going to perform what a counterinsurgency strategy, like that we’ve successfully applied in Iraq, what others have successfully elsewhere (the Brits and Malaysia most prominently), namely not only going in and clearing the land of the enemy — so-called insurgents, terrorists, or whatever you’d like to describe them as — but holding that territory, and giving the people that live in that territory confidence of your staying power. If you fail to do that — if we fail to have the boots on the ground necessary to do that — you can be absolutely sure, as General McChrystal has warned the president, that the eight-year conflict in Afghanistan will likely result in failure.

To see more from Frank Gaffney Jr. visit www.securefreedom.org

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