The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

McChrystal’s Afghanistan Review Is In

Last updated: July 31, 2020 | August 31, 2009 | Paolo Reyna

We still don’t know what it says. Not even Defense Secretary Bob Gates does, apparently, though it went to the Pentagon and NATO. The initial reports are that it says a lot of what it’s been expected to say: the war is hard but not hopeless; more Afghan forces are necessary; intelligence collection and dissemination needs to improve; so does military-civilian coordination; so does U.S.-NATO coordination. There are no indications as yet that it will deal with broader strategic questions of what the war aims precisely are or how the U.S. will know when they’ve achieved them. (And McChrystal is deferring a decision to request more troops until a later date.)

This, from The New York Times, struck my eye:

Just how many more Afghan police and soldiers General McChrystal wants is unclear. In Iraq, where conditions have stabilized markedly over the past two years, the American-trained Iraqi security forces number about 600,000.

I had thought the plan was to get those troop and police numbers up to 400,000.

Something else to keep in mind: the review was conducted by Washington think-tankers under McChrystal’s auspices. If it ultimately delivers establishmentarian solutions, that’s why. Contrast that with a McChrystal aide’s blind quote, admittedly out of what I presume is the intended context:

“We need a fundamental new approach,” said one officer, a senior advisor to Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the newly appointed top commander in Afghanistan.

Paolo Reyna | Paolo is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, majoring in International Studies with a Latin American emphasis. During the fall semester of 2012, he had the opportunity to study abroad in Peru, which piqued his interest in international growth. He learned about the disparities that impact indigenous peoples, got a taste of Peruvian culture, and improved his Spanish skills. Mitchel interned with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, conducting research on food security in Latin America, after being inspired by his foreign experience. He wants to work in international development and for a government department, writing legislation. He loves playing intramural basketball and practicing for the Chicago marathon when he is not thinking about current events in Latin America.


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