The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Pentagon Official: No ‘Rubber Stamp’ for Any McChrystal Troop Request

Last updated: 07/31/2020 08:00 | 09/04/2009 02:35
Katya Ryder

There were lots of signals from Defense Secretary Bob Gates at his press conference today. I didn’t want to let my imagination run away with me, but his body language was tight and his face looked tired. He looked like he had to make precisely the kind of momentous decision that he does, as it appears that Gen. Stanley McChrystal will soon deliver a request to the Pentagon for a second troop increase this year. In January, Gates told the Senate that he would be “very skeptical about additional force levels beyond what Gen. [David] McKiernan asked for,” a reference to McChrystal’s predecessor as Afghanistan-war commander, and we’re only a few thousand troops short of that total.

So I didn’t quite know what to make of an analogy Gates drew that I put in my piece today:

In one possible hint that Gates remains uncomfortable with too large of a troop presence in Afghanistan, he analogized the process to the one over withdrawal from Iraq earlier this year, in which he and the Joint Chiefs of Staff persuaded Gen. Raymond Odierno, commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, to pull out combat forces months ahead of Odierno’s initial proposal.

I asked a knowledgeable Defense Department official, who would only talk on condition of anonymity, how Gates will react to any additional troop request from McChrystal. “You can be sure that the initial McChrystal request will not be rubber stamped without a lot of scrutiny,” the official replied. “The bar is not unclearable for major increases — but it’s set pretty high.”

Anthony Cordesman, a security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and an adviser to McChrystal’s recent strategy review, wrote on Monday that the circle of experts McChrystal convened for the review believes as many as 40,000 additional troops are necessary. Gates would probably react negatively to such a large request — which is to say he’s indicating he needs to hear clear rationales for why the new troops ought to be deployed, and what they’ll do. This, after all, is a Defense Secretary with deep experience with Afghanistan from his CIA days; and who, as the defense secretary who supported and sustained the troop surge in Iraq, didn’t sound the alarm bells about the dangers of Afghan perceptions of occupation that he has about this current war. McChrystal may actually have a defense secretary who hasn’t made up his mind and who needs to hear a solid argument before approving a significant troop request.

Katya Ryder | School teacher, earned National Board Certification in 2013 I have a passion for science and majored in biology at Arizona State University, where I also earned teaching certificate and Master of Education


Menendez, Lautenberg to Continue BP-Lockerbie Investigation

Sens. Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, both New Jersey Democrats, will continue to seek details about BP’s alleged involvement in the release last year of

No Experience Necessary

Gov. Sarah Palin’s a middle-class hockey mom, but does that really qualify her to be vice president?

MA-Sen: 66 to 19

BOSTON -- That, via Alex Isenstadt and Josh Kraushaar, is the number that defined the Massachusetts Senate race more than anything else. From the primary

MA-Sen: Brown Wins

BOSTON -- At 9:20, the first rumors of Scott Brown’s victory in the Massachusetts Senate race started to work around the room. A moment later, Doug Flutie

MA-Sen: A Text Message From Scott Brown

BOSTON -- Having signed up for Scott Brown’s text message service for election day, I just got this text: Are you about to have lunch? It’s a great time to

MA-Sen: Snowfall

BOSTON -- Snow is falling in the Bay State, from western Massachusetts to heavily Democratic downtown Boston. In a campaign full of lucky breaks for Republican

MA-Sen: Loyal Democrats Grouse About Coakley

BOSTON -- A little while after noon, a steady crowd of Democratic voters streamed into the Cathedral High School Gymnasium to cast votes for their party’s

MA-Sen: 150 Conservative Bloggers Fan Out, Looking for Scandals

BOSTON -- The mysterious Election Journal blog, which first released the infamous 2008 video of two bumbling New Black Panther Party members waving nightsticks

MA-Sen: Out-of-Staters for Brown

BOSTON -- A surprising discovery at yesterday’s People’s Rally in Worcester was just how many people had traveled into the state to assist, in whatever way,

Net Investors Bullish on Palin’s Prospects for Staying on Ticket

Just for fun, the Internet prediction Website Intrade has opened a contract on whether Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin will be withdrawn as McCain’s running mate.

© Copyright 2021 The Washington Independent All Rights Reserved

Terms & Privacy |