McChrystal Sees Taliban Defeat in 18 Months

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Tuesday, December 08, 2009 at 6:57 pm
Gen. Stanley McChrystal testifies before the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday as Amb. Karl Eikenberry looks on. (Louie Palu/ZUMA Press)

Gen. Stanley McChrystal testifies before the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday as Amb. Karl Eikenberry looks on. (Louie Palu/ZUMA Press)

In confirmation hearings six months ago, Gen. Stanley McChrystal painted a bleak picture of an Afghanistan plagued by a growing insurgency. But in two marathon congressional hearings on Tuesday, McChrystal, now the commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, spoke with certainty about success unfolding over the next 18 months.

“I absolutely believe that we — and I mean the government of Afghanistan with coalition help — can defeat the Taliban,” McChrystal said. “And I define that by meaning putting the Taliban in a position where they can no longer accomplish their objective of threatening the government of Afghanistan.”

Testifying beside Amb. Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan, McChrystal forcefully defended the Obama administration’s revised strategy, its weeks-long decision-making process and President Obama’s ultimate decision to deploy 30,000 additional U.S. troops for the war effort. The troop increase, McChrystal said, “provides me with the resources we need to execute the mission as outlined for us.”

[Security]Congressional Republicans lauded McChrystal, but pressed him on whether Obama ought to have deployed even more troops, citing media reports that McChrystal really wanted 40,000 troops. McChrystal assured them the president’s troop surge was sufficient. Citing an expected increase in non-U.S. NATO troops to complement what the Obama administration is calling an “extended surge,” McChrystal told the House Armed Services Committee that “the key thing is I’m going to get at least 37,000.” He continued, “What I recommended did not say ‘U.S.,’ it said ‘forces.’” The general clarified that not only did the administration not stifle his recommendations, it “demanded” he be candid about his requirements.

Still, some Republicans remained uncomfortable with the administration’s July 2011 date to begin transitioning security responsibilities to the Afghan National Army and Police. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that although he largely endorsed the administration’s approach to Afghanistan, they would have to “agree to disagree” on the wisdom of announcing the date.

But both McChrystal and Eikenberry replied that the administration was ultimately providing a long-term commitment to Afghanistan, even if the U.S.-led combat phase would diminish over time. McChrystal said setting the date for beginning a “conditions-based” transition would help navigate Afghans’ complex feelings about the presence of foreign troops on their soil. “The guarantee that we, the coalition, will support them but not stay too long is actually a positive,” McChrystal testified. Eikenberry emphasized that the Obama administration envisioned a “long-term relationship with Afghanistan, a diplomatic relationship, a long-term economic assistance relationship” after the ultimate departure of U.S. troops.

The general said he expressed such confidence in his strategy because the Taliban was “not credible as a political entity,” earning acquiescence from Afghans only through the lack of a credible alternative from the Afghan government and its NATO allies. As the U.S. flows forces into southern and eastern Afghanistan to establish “contiguous security” for the population, “the next 18 months will likely be decisive,” McChrystal said. “Rolling back the Taliban is a prerequisite to the ultimate defeat of al-Qaeda.”

While the two hearings were devoid of major political spectacles, there were still moments of doubt and caution, particularly about the Afghan security forces, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) expressed alarm that insufficient Afghan forces meant that holding territory in southern Afghanistan would continue to be an “overwhelmingly American” task in the near term. McChrystal testified that the Taliban, which claims the allegiance of about “24,000 [to] 27,000 full time” fighters, pays its recruits $300 per month — more than the Afghan government pays its own soldiers and policemen. Saying that the Afghan government was working to raise soldier and police salaries, McChrystan expected the Afghan security forces to number about 300,000 by the summer of 2010.

In an attempt to quash media speculation about a chilly relationship between Eikenberry and McChrystal, the two men made a show of their professional partnership. Eikenberry saw his internal doubts about a U.S. troop increase leak to the media last month. But ambassador said that he firmly supported the administration’s strategy and was “exactly aligned with Gen. McChrystal.” The general returned the compliment by gesturing to Eikenberry and saying, “The person I listen to most is about three feet on my right.”

Both men largely demurred on questions about the impact of Pakistan on Afghanistan strategy, saying their portfolios largely ended at the Afghan side of the border. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing with Eikenberry and Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East and South Asia, on Wednesday morning, to get “a broader perspective beyond just Afghanistan,” according to committee spokesman Frederick Jones. McChrystal was not invited to testify at that hearing, but he will brief the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Thursday morning with Eikenberry.

McChrystal said he would return to the committees to provide updates following another administration review in December 2010, pledging candid military advice. But McChrystal said he fully expected to have progress to report, since the U.S. would soon devote “30,000 more Americans and coalition forces” to Afghanistan to “go hard at this insurgency over the next 18 months.”

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chascates
Comment posted December 8, 2009 @ 9:49 pm

Does he see a 6-foot tall rabbit named Harvey as well?


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triathlon
Comment posted December 9, 2009 @ 6:34 pm

THE MILITARY AND THE CONSTITUTION

[The Military and the MIC]

In the case of the military, in theory they must [Support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic], and obey the Orders of the President. In Theory only does the military work for the people, in fact, the military works for the [MIC] Military Industrial Complex, and a few military officers such as Daniel Ellberg, and Matthew Hoh are as much as admitting they had knowingly been part of supporting [LIES] and engaged in directly laying ground work for Wars of Economic Stimulus, Blood for Oil, Resources and Markets on [Brave New Convrsations.Com], moving from the Empire Military Academies working with Think Tanks who soul purpose are to support those companies with interest in selling military hardware to not only be used against enemies foreign but domestic as determined by the [MIC], then moving into board position or acting as Lobbyist for the very same companies upon active duty retirement. The little tricky item of all enemies domestic, which is the catch phrase and it, is the [MIC] Military Industrial Complex that makes the decision as to whom those enemies are. And the list is long and historic of the time the military has been used against the civilian population of the American-Israeli Empire, some of the instances;

1. Against the Mormons and the Mormons beat them.

2. The New York City Draft riots of the Civil War

3. The Chicago Haymarket Street Riots

4. Cleaning out Hoover Ville in Washington, D. C.

5. In School Integration in the Alabama

6. Kent State University

7. The Delta Force was involved at Waco.

The List is Much Longer.

[The Military are Government Enforces]

Gen. Chesty Puller, the Command Officer who was surrounded in the Chosin Reservoir in Korea, and said now we can shoot in any direction and kill the [children born outside of wedlock], once said that the Military was nothing more than enforces for the Government which was nothing more than the very large Mafia Organization, and would in his era have put the Mafia to shame.

The Senior Officers of the Military the military academy graduates the [Ring Thumpers] as all like John McCain multiple-generational decedents of other [Ring Thumpers] who become head of the board of the Corporation, the military then retire to board seats of corporations of companies that supply the weapons of war to the military it’s the [MIC].

[I Was Just Obeying Orders]

The Constitution, Federalist Papers, Tocqueville and The Communist Manifesto really looks good on paper and sounds good when it is being taught in any school outside the inner cities which stopped teaching and started baby sitting long ago, but the practical reality and truth is the [MIC] and its government owned puppets will use the military in a heartbeat against the citizens as enemies domestic, civilian riot control actions have been taught a long time in the military with various chemical agents a high point. It is a sad state of affairs when the words Duty, Honour and Country, become, I was just obeying orders, and it was not my decision, as a means to and end, tyranny of their own personal bottom line.

HERCULE TRIATHLON SAVINIEN


Ray
Comment posted December 10, 2009 @ 8:26 am

McChrystal affirmatively and personally lied to the Tillman family and the government when he participated in the cover-up of Pat Tillman's friendly fire death. Why should anyone believe a g-d- thing the SOB says? Under oath or otherwise? If Obama had a shred of integrity, McChrystal would be retired and General McKiernan – who was forced into retirement for telling truth to power – would be winding down the Afghanistan fiasco!


stevelaudig
Comment posted December 11, 2009 @ 9:03 am

I wonder what Cornwallis's prediction was.


ugg bailey button
Comment posted December 12, 2009 @ 10:05 pm

Does he see a 6-foot tall rabbit named Harvey as well?


Hawaiianstyle
Comment posted December 17, 2009 @ 1:10 pm

Reminds me of the graffiti…

Someone scrawled on a wall, “God is dead signed Neitzsche

Underneath someone wrote, “Neitzsche is dead signed god.”

Our General is saying the Taliban is dead in 18 months, I wonder if the Taliban is saying the same thing about the General?


Hawaiianstyle
Comment posted December 17, 2009 @ 6:10 pm

Reminds me of the graffiti…

Someone scrawled on a wall, “God is dead signed Neitzsche

Underneath someone wrote, “Neitzsche is dead signed god.”

Our General is saying the Taliban is dead in 18 months, I wonder if the Taliban is saying the same thing about the General?


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