McChrystal: ‘New Resources Are Not the Crux’
Lost in all the more-troops-or-not-more-troops fallout from the leaked McChrystal strategy review is McChrystal’s own assessment of the subordinate importance of those troops. From section 2-1, which Andrew Exum takes credit for crafting:
[I]t must be made clear: new resources are not the crux. To succeed, ISAF [the NATO command in Afghanistan] requires a new approach — with a significant magnitude of change — in addition to a proper level of resourcing. ISAF must restore confidence in the near-term through renewed commitment, intellectual energy and visible progress.
On that, at least, McChrystal is on the same page as the rest of the administration, from the president on down. It’s impossible to judge a resource request without first assessing the strategic picture that those troops are supposed to address. We’ve already seen how McChrystal tackles the question, by restricting airstrikes; ordering troops to break off engagements when insurgents retreat to population areas; and other tactical directives that privilege the protection of Afghan civilians above killing insurgents.