Home > News > Ahh. So that was the problem. They screwed up and told McCrystal to WIN. Good thing Obama set him straight… Not kidding. Wish I was, but no.

Ahh. So that was the problem. They screwed up and told McCrystal to WIN. Good thing Obama set him straight… Not kidding. Wish I was, but no.

 

To set the scene, this comes from the October 8 war room meeting on Afghanistan, with McChrystal teleconferenced in from Kabul to explain what he’d been doing since receiving his orders in March. Smart power:

In June, McChrystal noted, he had arrived in Afghanistan and set about fulfilling his assignment. His lean face, hovering on the screen at the end of the table, was replaced by a mission statement on a PowerPoint slide: “Defeat the Taliban. Secure the Population.”

“Is that really what you think your mission is?” one of the participants asked.

In the first place, it was impossible — the Taliban were part of the fabric of the Pashtun belt of southern Afghanistan, culturally if not ideologically supported by a major part of the population. “We don’t need to do that,” Gates said, according to one participant. “That’s an open-ended, forever commitment.”

But that was precisely his mission, McChrystal responded, enshrined in the Strategic Implementation Plan — the execution orders for the March strategy, written by the NSC staff.

“I wouldn’t say there was quite a ‘whoa’ moment,” a senior defense official said of the reaction around the table. “It was just sort of a recognition that, ‘Duh, that’s what in effect the commander understands he’s been told to do.’ Everybody said, ‘He’s right.’”

“It was clear that Stan took a very literal interpretation of the intent” of the NSC document, said Jones, who had signed the orders himself. “I’m not sure that in his position I wouldn’t have done the same thing, as a military commander.” But what he created in his assessment “was obviously something much bigger, and more longer-lasting . . . than we had intended.”

They told him — in his official orders — to come up with a plan to eliminate the enemy and, dummy that he is, he thought that meant he was supposed to come up with a plan to eliminate the enemy. Then they told him he didn’t have to. Six months later.

Hot Air » Blog Archive » WaPo: White House forgot that they told McChrystal to defeat the Taliban

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