Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Well that really clears things up

Today's Post includes a piece by Karen DeYoung on White House debates about increasing troop numbers in Afghanistan. Anonymous senior officials are also quoted on the subject of strategic direction, specifically whether or not the president is concerned by or interested in the recent criticisms of withdrawal advocates like George Will and Russ Feingold.

But this official and others, who agreed to speak about the upcoming national security discussions on the condition of anonymity, gave no indication that withdrawal would be seriously considered. "There's not a lot of rethinking that the strategy we have pretty much worked on to go forward with needs some drastic or dramatic revision," a second official said.

"We can't deny that they've had their successes," the second official said of the Taliban. But McChrystal's recommendations are "all in the scope of how do you refine your tactics, not your strategy."

Uh, what? The first sentence seems to indicate that there's consensus that "the strategy we have pretty much worked on... needs some... revision," right? But then the second part tells us what (I thought) we already knew, which is that the administration is considering new tactical approaches but not the strategic necessity of continued involvement.

So what exactly is this guy saying?


  1. Tortured sentence, needs commas and an editor:

    Should read: "There's not a lot of rethinking, ie that the strategy (which we have pretty much worked on and plan to go forward with) needs any drastic or dramatic revision."

  2. Geez, or how about just get a better quote? When the guy says that, ask if it's ok to quote him as saying "there's no discussion of rethinking the strategy at this point, as this is what we've worked on and plan to go forward with." That's not even a good sentence, but at least it makes sense!

  3. Maybe confused sentences reflect confused thinking?

    *Well, that's my excused.

    **Gulliver, have you seen the Brett Stevens WSJ piece (like you are omniscient or something). Diverting Pakistani jihadis from Kashmir comes up....has violence gone down in Kashmir for the duration, I wonder? Hmmm, need to look this up, and, also, need to remind myself of the dangers of dilettantism....

  4. have you seen the Brett Stevens WSJ piece

    Yep, and I thought it was pretty poor. Hope to address that piece and some others in a more comprehensive Afghanistan post... well, sometime.