Andrew J. Bacevich: Obama Should Assess the Afghanistan Surge Before Firing McChrystal





[Bacevich is professor of history and international relations at Boston University. His new book is "Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War."]

Has Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the American four-star commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, committed a firing offense? A forthcoming article in Rolling Stone - its accuracy to this point unchallenged - quotes McChrystal and members of his staff expressing disdain, if not utter contempt, for civilian officials ranging from the U.S. ambassador in Kabul, the President's special envoy to the region, the White House national security adviser (a retired Marine general) and Vice President Biden to President Obama himself.

So should McChrystal be handed his walking papers?

No. At least, not yet....

The real complaint against McChrystal is of a different order. Simply put, he's not getting the job done. His efforts to pacify Afghanistan show little evidence of progress. McChrystal's much-touted Marja offensive, launched in February and intended to demonstrate NATO's ability to win Afghan hearts and minds, has misfired. Plans to take on the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar are in disarray. Reports of fraud, abuse and outright stupidity continue to multiply - the latest alleging that U.S. officers turn a blind eye to an extortion racket that allows Afghan warlords, some in cahoots with the Taliban, to siphon off untold millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars in return for "protecting" NATO supply convoys. Meanwhile, NATO forces continue to inflict casualties on Afghan civilians, antagonizing the people we are ostensibly trying to protect - despite McChrystal's pledge to prevent such occurrences....

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John D. Beatty - 6/25/2010

"Progress" is subjective. Team Obama will find whatever "evidence" of "progress" they need to fulfill their agenda, withdraw on schedule, and proclaim victory during the 2012 election cycle.

Wake up.

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