Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. See main page for full contents

September 21, 2009


This is an important story that has some of the earmarks of an incipient rebellion by the Pentagon (and perhaps as well the unhappy to be investigated CIA once headed by Defense Secretary Gates) against a president it perceives as weak enough to push around. If Obama caves on this one, it is not only bad news for the Afghan misadventure but for the proper relationship between the president and the military.

Washington Post - Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal says emphatically: "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." His assessment was sent to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates on Aug. 30 and is now being reviewed by President Obama and his national security team. . .

He repeatedly warns that without more forces and the rapid implementation of a genuine counterinsurgency strategy, defeat is likely. McChrystal describes an Afghan government riddled with corruption and an international force undermined by tactics that alienate civilians.

McChrystal's assessment is one of several options the White House is considering. His plan could intensify a national debate in which leading Democratic lawmakers have expressed reluctance about committing more troops to an increasingly unpopular war. Obama said last week that he will not decide whether to send more troops until he has "absolute clarity about what the strategy is going to be."

The commander has prepared a separate detailed request for additional troops and other resources, but defense officials have said he is awaiting instructions before sending it to the Pentagon.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

An alternate theory is that Obama has agreed with this assessment all along and McChrystal's report is the start of a new PR offensive to shore up public support for the war, in line with Andy Card's dictum that "you don't introduce new products in August."

I find the leak of this report highly suspicious, coming on the heels of the arrests of the Afghan-Americans in another shaky-looking "terrorism" case.

September 21, 2009 5:37 PM  

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