Almost 90 days after Gen. Stanley McChrystal asked for more troops in his report on the situation in Afghanistan, Pres. Barack finally made a fricking decision. Now that’s what I call exceptiona deliberative leadership (hint: that’s code for taking a really long time to reach the same conclusion as everyone else). While the President won’t announce what that decision is until next week, probably Tuesday, he did say:
“It is in our strategic interests, in our national security interest to make sure that Al Qaeda and its extremist allies cannot operate effectively in those areas. We are going to dismantle and degrade their capabilities and ultimately dismantle and destroy their networks.
After eight years—some of those years in which we did not have, I think, either the resources or the strategy to get the job done—it is my intention to finish the job. And, I feel confident that when the American people hear a clear rationale for what we’re doing there and how we intend to achieve our goals, that they will be supportive.
[T]his is important not just to the United States, but it’s important to the world. And, that the whole world has, I think, a core security interest in making sure that the kind of extremism and violence that is seen eminating from this region is tackled, confronted in a serious way.
[I]n order for us to succeed there, you’ve got to have a comprehensive strategy that includes civilian and diplomatic efforts.”
Since no one can keep a secret these days, or perhaps because no one was made to pinky swear, likely details of the plan have come out. About 34,000 additional troops will deploy to Afghanistan, a number less than McChrystal’s request for 40,000.
Come to think of it, this whole scenario is kind of like deja vu. When the former US commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, requested more troops last February, Obama took his time making up his mind. McKiernan’s request was for 30,000 but Obama authorized only 17,000 troops. That means McChrystal’s actually only getting 21,000 more from where US forces should have been last spring. I wonder if Obama realizes he’s getting consistent advice from his military commanders. And, I hope his consistent under-resourcing doesn’t lead to another Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot moment.