My friend John Coyne takes a swipe at the commander of US forces in Afghanistan in his latest piece. Welcome to the club John. I have been warning against putting more troops into Afghanistan for some time, see my blogs of Aug 25, Sept 1 and Sept 24.
We should not confuse the one who implements a plan, with the one who makes the plan. President Obama began talking about Afghanistan during the election. He said the Bush administration had diverted American force to Iraq, when we should have remained focused on eliminating the bad guys in Afghanistlan. Once elected Obama made it clear that we must take care of matters in Afghanistan, summing up his position by calling the war in Afghanistan, “a war of necessity.”
General McChrystal is merely the man charged with making the plan work. Given an order, he explains how much it will cost and how to do it. He does not reveal his personal thoughts or philosophy, he simply tells you how to do the job. He is also fully aware that no one should accept responsibility without sufficient resources to carry out the responsibility. This was the mistake made by our military in Vietnam.
If you have a problem with raising the stakes in Afghanistan, take issue with the boss, not his minion.
I once more suggest we return to our successful formula in Afghanistan, provide the powder and shot, but not the men. We toppled the Taliban regime there by buying and arming a band of war lords and other heavies to do the job. Afghans toppled the regime, not Americans. We did the same thing to get rid of Soviet rule there. Millions for hit men, not for our men to get shot.