He doesn't get it. He never got it. And that's why president Obama should either refuse his Afghan commander's demand for more troops or find someone else who does understand the war the West is fighting in Afhganistan.
In a 66-page report, General Stanley McChrystal warns (warns Obama of course) that if he refuses to send a lot more troops to Afghanistan, the war will "likely result in failure" (and that would, of course, be "Obama's failure"). It's sort of saying, "give me everything I want or you'll get tagged with losing this fiasco." Blackmail.
The infuriating part is that McCrisco wants more troops to continue to fight the wrong war in Afghanistan. That much is apparent from this statement. “Failure to gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum in the near term (next 12 months) — while Afghan security capacity matures — risks an outcome where defeating the insurgency is no longer possible.”
Stan wants to "gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum" which can only mean expanding the war, increasing the fighting. Isn't this the very same guy who was also talking about fresh American troops to secure the villages and keep them out of Taliban control? So, he wants an expanded combat force plus a new peacekeeping force and he wants them now. Does he think he's going to do all that with another 20,000 GIs?
But the giveaway was in the part about "defeating the insurgency" may become impossible. Does McChrystal really believe that defeating the Taliban and their associated insurgent groups was ever really possible? Western generals have been boasting about defeating the Taliban for eight years while they've steadily lost ground year by year by year. McChrystal doesn't get that the insurgency isn't fighting his war, his military war. It's never fought McChrystal's war and it isn't about to begin now and that's because his war, the war he wants to expand with tens of thousands of additional troops, it doesn't matter. McChrystal is desperate to stave off defeat in the military war when he's actually facing defeat in the war that matters, the other war, the political war - the Taliban's war.
I do have some sympathy for General McChrystal. He was handed the shitty end of the Field Marshal's baton on this one. He's been ordered to Afghanistan to command a military force fighting a military war. The only thing he can think of is to call for more soldiers and fall back on the now hollow lament about "until the Afghan National Army is ready." In other words, never.
I have more sympathy for Obama. He's being blackmailed. More troops or you'll be scapegoated for eight consecutive years of failure in Afghanistan. The Republicans would dance gleefully around the bonfire at the thought of being able to smear Obama with losing Afghanistan.
Oh dear, this is not going to turn out well. Who could've known?