January 10, 2010

McChrystal Doing Stand Up

General Stanley McChrystal speaks to the military at US base Kandahar Airfield

The top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal speaks to the military at US base Kandahar Airfield, Kandahar, Afghanistan, December 2, 2009. The first of 30,000 new U.S. troops will arrive in Afghanistan in two to three weeks, top U.S. officials said on Wednesday, even as they made clear plans to start bringing the soldiers home in 18 months could slip. REUTERS/Mustafa Quraishi/Pool (AFGHANISTAN CONFLICT MILITARY POLITICS IMAGES OF THE DAY)

You’ve gotta love this Reuters photo of McChrystal that Spiegel just ran with an interview of the General. To get a hint what you’re in for, you need only consider the depth of the title: “Killing the Enemy Is Not The Best Route to Success.”

That McChrystal really is a piece of work. At the same time he’s telling the world (via Good Morning America!) we’ve turned the corner in Afghanistan as a result of the surge, we also hear how he’s fighting with the White House again — this time, for misrepresenting how fast we could get the surge troops in in the first place. (His current estimate now is up to eighteen months.)

Even more classic, however, is how he’s preaching a counter-insurgency strategy based on bonding with the Afghan locals and scoring troves of intel (obviously, killing the enemy Is not the best route to success). You have to frame that music, however, in the light of his closest intelligence adviser, Major General Michael Flynn, having just issued a report that eviscerates the military’s capability to make almost any sense of what’s happening around the hamlet.

So, what’s going on in the picture? We’ll, we know it’s Afghanistan, and there is a lot of slipping back-and-forth across the Pakistan border. But then, it also looks like a pork chop.

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Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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