Since his ezpass through Senate confirmation as commander of our war in Afghanistan, Gen. McChrystal has been busy with the fifth review of our war strategy since the beginning of the year. And while less senior commanders have been making comments about needing more troops, the PR message has been that everyone would have to wait for McChrystal to complete his review.
Meanwhile, the media has been flooded with tales of the Marine invasion of Helmand province complete with happy talk like today’s account of raising the Afghan flag over the castle at Kahn Neshin.
So, who could have guessed what was coming?
Greg Jaffe and Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post have just told us:
Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the newly arrived top commander in Afghanistan, has concluded that Afghan security forces will have to expand far beyond currently planned levels if President Obama’s strategy for winning the war there is to succeed, according to senior military officials.
Such an expansion would require additional billions beyond the $7.5 billion the administration has budgeted annually to build up the Afghan army and police over the next several years, and the likely deployment of thousands more U.S. troops as trainers and advisers, officials said.
And while Gates would have to approve such an expansion, National Security Advisor Jones and JCS Chair Adm. Mullen are not saying "No":
Despite concerns that too large a U.S. military presence would undermine efforts to put the Afghans eventually in charge of their own security, Jones said McChrystal is "perfectly within his mandate as a new commander to make the recommendation on the military posture as he sees it. We have to wait until he does that. There was never any intention on my visit [to Afghanistan] to say don’t ever come in with a request or to put a cap on troops."
Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Michael Mullen told reporters Wednesday that the White House and the Pentagon are "committed to properly resourcing this endeavor."
All we need now is another multi-billion dollar Supplemental.