John Kerry's Afghan war speech; Foreshadowing Obama's decision?
The Kerry speech to the Council on Foreign Relations has the predictable Democratic Cheney-bashing and we-inherited-this-mess-and-now-it's-up-to-us-to-make-the-best-of-a-really-bad-situation lines. He quotes one soldier as saying the war in Afghanistan was so poorly run it hasn't been eight years long; it's been one-year wars fought eight times.
But if Obama's thinking parallels the chairman's, McChrystal can whistle Dixie several times before he'll get 40,000 additional troops. Maybe more like 10,000 to 15,000 to fight a targeted (limited) counter-insurgency/counter terrorism strategy. In short, Kerry's pitch is, less is more.
Gone, as The Ticket reported three weeks ago, would be the broad defeat of the Taliban, annihilation of Al Qaeda and construction of a viable democracy plan of the past. Said Kerry:
Achieving our goals does not require us to build a flawless democracy, defeat the Taliban in every corner of the country, or create a modern economy—what we’re talking about is “good-enough” governance, basic sustainable economic development and Afghan security forces capable enough that we can draw down our forces.
Kerry argues for "a smart counterinsurgency in a limited geographic area."
We have already begun implementing a counterinsurgency strategy—but I believe that right now it needs to be as narrowly focused as possible. We must be very wary of overextension. And I am particularly concerned about the potential for us to be viewed as foreign occupiers.
Then Kerry cuts to his main point:
I believe [McChrystal's] current plan reaches too far, too fast. We do not yet have the critical guarantees of governance and development capacity—the other two legs of counterinsurgency. And I have serious concerns about the ability to produce effective Afghan forces to partner with, so we can ensure that when our troops make heroic sacrifices, the benefits to the Afghans are actually clear and sustainable.
John Kerry's Afghan war speech; Foreshadowing Obama's decision? | Top of the Ticket | Los Angeles Times