Saturday, February 21, 2009

Enough of this, please.

Democracy Now via am1090...
...the top US commander in Afghanistan says at least 60,000 American troops will remain there for at least three to four years. General David McKiernan also says at least 10,000 additional US troops will be needed on top of the 17,000 ordered by President Obama this week.
Three to four years? McKiernan says? Sorry, General, but the time for withdrawal is above your pay grade. It's time for President Obama to put an end to the Bush/Rumsfeld capitulation to the general officer corps and restore the principle of civilian control of the military. The idea that generals should set, rather than follow, policy is alien to Constitutional government. Generals truly worthy of their stars understand that.

What, exactly, are additional troops, or any troops, needed for? The creation of a united democratic republic in Afghanistan? Conceding, without conviction, the notion that such a thing can be done, it's unimaginable that it could be done in three or four years with tens of thousands of troops.

General McKiernan has been dealt a bad hand, no doubt. Hostile terrain, a population which views our presence on a range of suspicion to hostility, multiple enemies on multiple fronts, an impossibly weak and corrupt "ally" and a mission worthy of Hans Christian Andersen. It's a mission that clearly can't be achieved with the resources he has, it is a mission he has been ordered to pursue, and to pursue it it's understandable that he would request more resources.

It's time to change his orders. The right way in Afghanistan is out.

If General McKiernan can't accept that, it's time to change his career.

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