By: Ryan Jaroncyk, THL Contributor
Last night, CBS's 60 Minutes aired its highly anticipated interview with our top commander of the Afghanistan War, General Stanley McChrystal.
General McChrystal has been enlisted by the Obama administration to generate a new war strategy at a time when U.S. casualties are spiking, Taliban militants are rapidly gaining the upper hand, and the Afghan government is mired in corruption.
Despite the addition of nearly 21,000 additional troops this year, General McChrystal is calling for more troops, up to 40,000 more according to some reports. General McChrystal is warning that the United States may lose the war within the next 12-18 months if the situation on the ground further deteriorates.
After watching the interview, I thought I'd share a few of my initial thoughts and impressions.
One would think that such a critical war would merit more attention, especially as our top commander is requesting even more troops and implementing an entirely new strategy. While the interview was extremely respectful of the honorable General, it failed to ask a number of probing questions, questions few seem willing to address as the war ramps up.
Long term, he looks to double the number of Afghan forces to about 400,000, but acknowledges that such a task will take many years. He is adamant that the next twelve months or so are "make or break" for the U.S. effort.
Ret. Lieutenant Colonel, Ralph Peters, also offered his plan for a more limited mission in a recent New York Post article. These plans would save hundreds of billions, reduce casualty counts, lower the incidence of PTSD, prevent Al-Qaeda from rebuilding its safe havens, and specifically define success.
Our precious men and women are dying in a war that is nearly out of control, with no real end in sight. Yet, our President is making appearances on the Letterman Show? Delegating one-on-one discussions with General McChrystal to other officials in the administration doesn't seem quite right. This is a dire situation that needs immediate resolution and decisive leadership.
The interview provided some nice insight into one of our premier military commanders, but it didn't ask a lot of tough questions. Someone needs to start asking the tough questions of our President, Congress, and military. Otherwise, we may find ourselves floating in a decades long war that yields thousands dead, tens of thousands maimed for life, untold psychological horror on our troops and their families, trillions of dollars in additional debt, massive inflation, and a more vulnerable national defense.