Does Anyone Think It Would Be Better to Rush an Afghanistan Escalation?

Thursday, September 17, 2009 at 8:53 am

I detect some snark behind the reporting here:

Obama sought Wednesday to cool that debate, staking out a middle position in an appearance with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who is planning to withdraw his nation’s 2,500 troops in 2011. Obama said he was not going to decide whether to escalate until he had “the strategy right.”

“You don’t make determinations about resources, and certainly you don’t make determinations about sending young men and women into battle, without having absolute clarity about what the strategy is going to be,” Obama said.

This seems to have gotten lost in the shuffle, so: as I reported Tuesday, Obama has to first decide whether Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s strategic assessment of the Afghanistan war has merit. Then comes a decision the resourcing decision. Obama is expected to reach his decision within the week, and McChrystal’s finalizing his resourcing palette in that same time frame. Obama’s decision on resourcing comes within the month.

It’s starting to get cold in Afghanistan, and Pashtun families are going to go across the Pakistani border for the winter. There’s typically a lull in fighting that follows, or at least engagements chosen by the Taliban-led insurgent syndicate. The initiative can favor McChrystal. But not if the strategy he supports is imprecise or incorrect.

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