Download Assessment_Redacted_092109 (McChrystal's Assesment)
Per Af-Pak stuff, from a policy point of view we might ask just how the President is supposed to judge the McCh. plan. In what strategic context? From what national security interests? etc.
1. It is interesting that General Powell had face time with the President. It would be more interesting to know the advice Powell may have given in recent days.
2. It is interesting that the President himself is now talking about Al-Qaeda as the core of the original mission in Afghanistan. McCh. recently said AQ not much of a problem there and now presents his opinion about escallation against the Taliban.
3. It is interesting that the President is now talking about the lack of a clear strategy. McCh. has NOT presented a clear strategy but merely the glitzy opinion of a COIN-obsessed general.
4. Before a final decision on McCh.'s COIN-obsessed opinion, I would advise the President to order fresh National Intelligence Estimates immediately on Afghanistan and Pakistan with respect to Af-Pak matters, and on Israel with respect to Israel generally and Iran situation. I would also ask the intelligence community for an assessment of the current threat environment and how various Af-Pak options such as McCh.'s COIN extravaganza would impact on short, medium, and long term US national security. I would also task the intelligence community to assess the economic consequences of an escallation as called for by McCh. on the US economy. We had a couple of decades of stagflation after Johnson's Vietnam escallation I seem to recall.I would at the same time ask the Secretary of State for an assessment with respect to the present US diplomatic situation and our broad national interests. And an assessment of the Russian, Chinese, and Indian positions with respect to Af-Pak. And Europe? And Japan? Just what is the international diplomatic context at this time?
5. I note the following in an article in the LA Times today: "For eight years, the CIA's main priorities in Afghanistan were to hunt for Al Qaeda, manage relationships with warlords — doling out inducements that included cash and, in some cases, Viagra — and rebuild the Afghan spy service. The difficulty of that task was underscored this month by the assassination of the service's No. 2 official. But the agency's role is likely to shift under McChrystal, who has placed a greater emphasis on protecting civilians and rooting out government graft."
Could one posit the slippery McChrystal/COIN bunch in the future attempting to push blame for an inevitable failure of the McCh. plan, if implemented, on "intelligence failures"? Clifford Kiracofe