Friday, August 21, 2009

No troop recommendation in the assessment, I've told you a thousand times!

(But there will be one a few months later.)

From Mike Allen's Playbook at Politico:
SCOOP -- CBS’s Kimberly Dozier, who has top-shelf war sources: “CBS News has learned that while [Afghanistan commander Gen. Stan] McChrystal's official assessment [due at the Pentagon in a few weeks] will not include troops, … he is … leaning toward a range to recommend to the Pentagon and the White House in mid-to-late fall. The general is leaning toward three major options -- the ‘high risk strategy’ is to add only 15,000 troops to the 68,000 that will be on the ground by the end of this year -- as in, the highest risk of failure. The ‘medium risk strategy’ is to add 25,000 troops, and the ‘low risk strategy’ is 45,000, according to a senior defense adviser helping craft the plan.”
So there's that.

My question: even if we add 45K, can we ever suggest that there's a "low risk of failure" in Afghanistan? This seems to reveal a way of thinking about conflict in which our actions are the only ones that matter. Certain COIN types have been accused of that in the past, so I hope the rhetoric isn't reflective of how GEN McChrystal and his team are really thinking about this.


  1. Low risk vs high risk b/c of the numbers you need to do COIN properly?


    Also, does this really reflect 'thinking about the conflict in which our actions are the only ones that matter'? Is the review going to talk about aid to Pakistan for all that police COIN training? There was an article at FP Afpak about the amounts of AID money sort of, er, lost in the past several years. You know, massive corruption et al.

  2. Wow, all three of those options are a crapload of troops. Think this is what Gates and Mullen bargained for when they chose McChrystal and Rodriguez?