McChrystal’s Feeling Good About Afghanistan
Afghanistan optimism: Catch it!
“I still will tell you that I believe the situation in Afghanistan is serious,” said the commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal.
“I do not say now that I think it’s deteriorating,” he added. “And I said that last summer, and I believed that that was correct. I feel differently now. I am not prepared to say that we have turned the corner. So I’m saying that the situation is serious, but I think we have made significant progress in setting the conditions in 2009, and beginning some progress and that we’ll make real progress in 2010.”
Oh, the perils of commanding a counterinsurgency, in which granular information is both deeply necessary and potentially contradictory from the perspective of the broader strategic picture. You say that things are going well and you’re naive or out of touch. You say that things are going poorly and everyone starts writing that Even The Commander Thinks It’s Hopeless. As a result, you’re kind of boxed into heavily caveated statements. My personal favorite came when Gen. Petraeus told a congressional panel in 2008 that “nothing succeeds like significant progress.”