WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Obama’s national security adviser walked a fine line Sunday when asked about Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s public comments about requiring more troops for Afghanistan.
McChrystal, the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, has been recently outspoken in his belief that the White House should pursue a broad counterinsurgency strategy which could likely require the addition of as many as 40,000 more troops to the country. At the other end of the spectrum, Vice President Biden is reportedly advocating a narrower counterterrorism strategy that would likely not require additional troops and would focus on battling al Qaeda through drone attacks.
Speaking in London Thursday, McChrystal said he believes the situation in Afghanistan is serious and deteriorating. McChrystal suggested that focusing on al Qaeda, Biden's proposed strategy, would not be enough.
"I absolutely believe that al Qaeda and the threat of al Qaeda and Taliban senior leadership are critical to stability in the region," McChrystal said in a speech to London's International Institute for Strategic Studies. "But I also believe that a strategy that does not leave Afghanistan in a stable position is probably a shortsighted strategy."
Sunday on CNN's State of the Union, U.S. national security adviser Jim Jones, a retired Marine Corps general, said, “Ideally, it’s better for military advice to come up through the chain of command.” Jones added that he thought McChrystal and others in the chain of command would present Obama with “a range of options.”
Asked whether McChrystal should stay on as the top military commander in Afghanistan if Obama decides not accept McChrystal’s recommended approach, Jones described that as a “hypothetical” situation.
“I shouldn’t judge what Gen. McChrystal is going to do or not do,” James told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “I’m absolutely convinced that Gen. McChrystal is in it for the long haul.”