NOW WE KNOW - AT 10:16 A.M. ET: It's a balancing act. On the one hand, we have civilian control over the military. On the other, Americans have a right to know, within security bounds, what advice the military gave civilian leaders, so we don't have scapegoating if things go wrong. The advice on Afghanistan is being given loud and clear:
WASHINGTON (AFP) – By openly declaring their views on the Afghan war, US military leaders have placed President Barack Obama in a bind as he faces a fraught decision over the troubled US-led mission.
Obama has refused to quickly approve a request from his commanders for a major troop build-up in Afghanistan, insisting first on a full vetting of the current strategy.
But while a war council takes place behind closed doors at the White House, top military officers have made no secret of their view that without a vast ground force, the Afghan mission could end in failure.
"They want to make sure people know what they asked for if things go wrong," Lawrence Korb, a former assistant secretary of defense, told AFP.
COMMENT: As usual, left-wing commentators are bringing Vietnam into the picture, likening the military's request for more troops to the gradual escalation in Vietnam. The two, though, are not comparable. We were not attacked by Vietnam, but were attacked by elements protected within Afghanistan. Also, the change of command in Vietnam from William Westmoreland to Creighton Abrams was producing important results in the late sixties, results largely ignored by journalists and historians who are locked into a fashionable "narrative."
Further, one reason for action in Afghanistan is to try to save Pakistan, a nuclear-equipped state. If Pakistan should go unstable, and nuclear weapons compromised, our world would be very different, and even The One couldn't save it.
Finally, this is 2009, not 1964. Almost a half century has passed. We've learned a great deal since then about counterinsurgency.
October 4, 2009