Afghanistan General: Escalate or Fail

General Calls for More U.S. Troops to Avoid Afghan Failure:
The top military commander in Afghanistan warns in a confidential assessment of the war there that he needs additional troops within the next year or else the conflict "will likely result in failure."

The grim assessment is contained in a 66-page report that the commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, submitted to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Aug. 30, and which is now under review by President Obama and his top national security advisers.

The disclosure of details in the assessment, reported Sunday night by The Washington Post, coincided with new skepticism expressed by President Obama about sending any more troops into Afghanistan until he was certain that the strategy was clear.
Bob Woodward broke the story for the WaPo. They've got more here.

Meanwhile, President Obama tells CNN's John King: "I don't want to put the resource question before the strategy question. Because there is a natural inclination to say, if I get more, then I can do more. But right now, the question is, the first question is, are we doing the right thing? Are we pursuing the right strategy?"

That's sounds very reasonable, until one remembers it's in the context of the leader of the war theater saying that the right strategy is escalation. And Obama went on to assure us (in a line I swear he borrowed directly from Bush on Iraq), "[W]hat I will say to the American public is, it's not going to be driven by the politics of the moment," so, um, if he's not making decisions on politics, on what is the decision being made? Military assessments? And now we're back to escalation...

And once again, I hate that our president is treating "politics" like it's a dirty word. Why the hell shouldn't war be a political decision, when the two parties have, allegedly, two very different political opinions of war, and the funding is tied to Congress? And, honestly, how can it not be a political decision, in a representative democracy where the president and Congress are meant to be doing the will of the people?

I hated it when Bush said his decisions about the war/s wouldn't be motivated by "the politics of the moment," because "the politics of the moment" really means "the will of the people." Bush's saying he was totally comfortable ignoring the will of the people made me feel like he fancied himself a dictator. And guess what? It makes me feel the same way when Obama says it, too. For the same reason.

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