Here’s a link to yesterday’s interview on Morning Magazine. It was a relatively slow day… only four interviews. This one, however, was not about the book, but the wars and Veteran’s Day.
The Obama administration’s dithering over whether or not to accede to the theater commander’s request for more troops is a good example of the sort of thing Michael McSorley and I were discussing. If you can’t make up your mind about such a relatively minor decision, then you clearly have no idea what you’re doing in the strategic sense. If Obama doesn’t have enough confidence in General McChrystal to grant his request without hesitation, he should either replace McChrystal or end the occupation and bring the troops home.
Personally, I suspect the troop request was a political CYA on McChrystal’s part. He knows he can’t win there because the US lacks sufficient loyalty from the famously fractious locals and he also knows Obama has zero desire to send more troops to Afghanistan, so the request for 40,000 troops is essentially McChrystal washing his hands of responsibility while hoping Obama has the balls to withdraw U.S. forces. I think he’s miscalculated and that Obama will ultimately send the requested troops because, like most individuals with weak characters, Obama is terrified of being correctly perceived as weak. If the general is fortunate, Obama will send fewer troops and give him the ability to claim that he wasn’t given the necessary forces required to do the job.
Of course, none of this ritual dance between commander and commander-in-chief has anything to do with either the U.S. national interest or the interests of the individual American soldier.