Kerry on Afghanistan Metrics: No Rush, and Concern About Drift

August 11, 2009 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

It might be going on five months since the Obama administration pledged to “develop metrics … that give you an idea of our success rate” in Afghanistan, as outside adviser Bruce Riedel put it on March 27, but Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, thinks it’s “important the Administration not rush this process.”

Fielding questions from me through his staff, Kerry said that the metrics are “still being finalized and coordinated throughout the interagency.” Gen. Douglas Lute, the so-called White House “war czar,” briefed Kerry last week on the process of developing the metrics, but the senator declined to discuss their conversation. Kerry, by the way, through spokesman Frederick Jones, said it would be premature to “speculate as to if  additional troops will be requested.”

I’ll have more tomorrow in a longer piece about all this. But Kerry sounded some cautionary notes about a mission some see as drifting away from the counterinsurgency-for-counterterrorism approach President Obama described in March. Kerry said he thought it was “critical” that “our footprint in Afghanistan match the mission President Obama laid out in his strategy and that we have realistic expectations for what we can accomplish.”

Update: As you can see, this post has been amended.