President Obama unveiled a “comprehensive strategy” for the war in Afghanistan on March 27, said The Washington Post in an editorial, and “we strongly supported” his conclusion that we need to defeat the Taliban and improve the country. Now it appears he’s having “second thoughts,” just as his top commander there, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, says he needs more troops to avoid defeat. “What has changed since March?”
The “big new thing that’s happened since March,” said Fred Kaplan in Slate, is the massively fraudulent reelection of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. If the government we’re “propping up” is widely viewed as illegitimate, any counterinsurgency strategy is doomed, and no amount of U.S. troops can fix it—and that’s one of McChrystal’s key points. Obama is “right to wait and see how the Afgan election plays out.”
It’s a bigger decision than that, said Roger Simon in Politico. Our original mission was to force the Taliban from power and “kill as many members of al Qaida as we could”—then “mission creep” turned into “mission gallup,” and we decided we had to build a nation. McChyrstal doesn’t want Obama “to go wobbly on Afghanistan,” but the Pentagon would have us “stay and fight. And stay and stay and stay.” Is that making us safer?
Well, “McChystal has grown frustrated” with the “deliberative pace” of Obama’s decision-making, said Ed Morrissey in Hot Air, and he may resign if Obama doesn’t give him more troops. That would be a big political headache for Obama, creating a “strong impression that Obama has flip-flopped” on the war. Clock’s ticking, Mr. President.