McChrystal Circumspect on Getting More Troops From Obama
There was a minor controversy in April after Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East and South Asia, disclosed that military commanders in Afghanistan have requested an additional 10,000 troops atop the 17,000 that the Obama administration ordered deployed earlier this year. Not a whole lot got made of the incident, but it disturbed a number of senators, and Petraeus clarified that President Obama will make a decision on the deployment question in the fall. Just now, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), asked whether Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal felt any “political constraint” from the administration prevented him from asking for more troops if necessary.
“Sir, I’m not in the job yet,” McChrystal said. But he added that in a meeting yesterday, Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “said, if I’m confirmed, to ask for what I need. Almost quote-unquote.” Graham asked if that was true for the administration. “Sir, I don’t know,” McChrystal reiterated. Since McChrystal hasn’t yet had to deal with the administration on the question, Graham moved on.
While giving himself some wiggle room — about 7,000 troops’ worth — Defense Secretary Bob Gates told the Senate that he opposes additional U.S. troop increases for Afghanistan. Watch to see if “Obama rejects commanders’ troop requests” becomes a meme.