October 05, 2009


I'm not sure if this was written by Paula Newton, who once called Atilla "A seriously scary guy" or Andrew Carey who I met up with once a while back but I think the title of this CNN blog post about McChrystals visit to London sums up the troubles of Afghanistan, and of maintaining the focus of American action there- No bumper sticker slogan will solve it

...Our manner of operating distances us physically and psychologically from the people we seek to protect. You need to connect with people,” says McChrystal adding, “We’ve under resourced our operations, in some areas we’ve underperformed, in some areas we’ve under-coordinated. We’ve struggled with unity of effort, national agreements, chains of command that are complex to say the least.”

What he did not admit so openly is that any more engagement with the Afghan people will inevitably lead to more military and civilian casualties in the short term.

But General McChrystal did begin articulating a new mission statement for Afghanistan. He said winning there doesn’t mean beating the Taliban but making the Afghan people safe and secure.

And he divulged two other things that commanders rarely say publicly: We can’t debate a new strategy forever, three months tops, and reconciliation with the Taliban is inevitable...


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