McChrystal Will Recommend More U.S. Troops If He Wants Them
Two weeks ago, Bob Woodward reported that Jim Jones, President Obama’s national security adviser, flew to Afghanistan to tell commanders not to request more U.S. troops for the war, since they won’t get them. In an interview with McClatchy’s Nancy Youssef, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commander of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, says he can’t responsibily hold off any recommendation that he thinks is necessary:
“If I change my calculus based on what I think economic or political things are, then they are not benefiting from an absolutely untainted recommendation from me,” McChrystal said.
“I am not uninformed about the realities of the world. But what I am trying to do is be able to say: ‘This is what I think it will take, my best military advice.’ And then, of course, that will be factored in with all the other realities.”
It’s hard to imagine how McChrystal could say otherwise. And if he determines there isn’t a sufficient amount of U.S. troops in Afghanistan to fulfill U.S. objectives, McChrystal has a *responsibility *to report that to Defense Secretary Bob Gates. If the Obama administration doesn’t fulfill McChrystal’s request, the administration will be on notice that whatever the merits of deploying or not deploying additional troops, it’s going against the expressed wishes of its chosen commander. McChrystal’s quote indicates that he understands Obama’s preferences against further troop expansions and it’ll form one consideration in his ultimate recommendations, not the entirety of it.