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.”
(CNN) - The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said Thursday the coalition in the war-torn country is going to have to do things "dramatically differently, even uncomfortably differently" in order to succeed.
"We must operate and think in a fundamentally new way," Gen. Stanley McChrystal said in a speech at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, a British think thank. He stressed the importance of connecting with the Afghan people, who he said are "frustrated" that more has not been accomplished in the nearly 8-year-old war.
McChrystal said he discounts immediately those who simplify the problem or offer a solution "because they absolutely have no clue about the complexity of what we are dealing with."
McChrystal arrived in Afghanistan in 2002. In June, he replaced Gen. David McKiernan as the top commander in the region. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said at the time that a "new leadership and fresh eyes" were needed.
(CNN) - The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan wants more troops and a new strategy - but most importantly, he wants to win the battle for the hearts and the minds of the people in the war-torn country.
"What I'm really telling people is the greatest risk we can accept is to lose the support of the people here," Gen. Stanley McChrystal told CBS's "60 Minutes" in an interview aired Sunday night.
"If the people are against us, we cannot be successful. If the people view us as occupiers and the enemy, we can't be successful and our casualties will go up dramatically."
McChrystal is expected to send his request any day for more resources to combat the insurgency in Afghanistan, according to a senior U.S. defense official familiar with the situation.
Earlier this month, McChrystal warned that more troops are needed there within the next year, or the nearly 8-year-old war "will likely result in failure," according to a copy of the report obtained by The Washington Post.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - In a sign that President Obama is facing growing skepticism within his own party on Afghanistan, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer joined the call made by several top Republicans on Capitol Hill for the U.S. Commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal to brief Congress on his recommendations for revising U.S. military strategy.
"I think it is useful at some point in time for General McChrystal to share with the Congress, both the Senate and the House, his views and his proposals and his sense of the success that change in strategy would have," Hoyer told reporters.
Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, told Politico that McChrystal's report on Afghanistan should be delivered to the Hill "immediately," but Hoyer declined to put a timeframe on when Congress should get the assessment.
As House GOP Leader John Boehner did last week, Hoyer compared the discussion over next steps in Afghanistan to the debate in 2007 over the surge in Iraq. Hoyer noted that Gen. David Petraeus, then the U.S. Commander in Iraq, briefed Congress in both high profile public hearings and private briefings.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The intrigue surrounding Gen. Stanley McChrystal's plans for Afghanistan is making him a popular man on Capitol Hill. But for now, Congress is going to have to wait to talk to the top commander in Afghanistan.
McChrystal's plans for turning the tide in Afghanistan have been turned in to his bosses at the Pentagon and to President Barack Obama, but little has been shared yet with those on the Hill. So they want to talk to the man...now.
"What I support right now is getting Gen. McChrystal here to help us all understand what the situation on the ground is and what the strategy for success in Afghanistan is," said House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio.
The head of the House Armed Services Committee wrote a letter to the Defense secretary requesting McChrystal come talk.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan is expected to ask the Obama administration for additional troops and equipment, according to a senior U.S. military official familiar with Gen. Stanley McChrystal's thinking.
The request will be for troops and equipment for conducting intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, as well as more assets to deal with roadside bombs and explosives, said the official, who declined to be identified because McChrystal's request has not been formally transmitted to the Pentagon.
The request could be made in coming weeks after McChrystal completes a "troop-to-task review" to calculate whether there are enough U.S. troops in Afghanistan - and the right mix of troops - to carry out the military's war plan at an acceptable level of risk, the official said.
The review could also lead to a request for additional troops for either combat or training of Afghan forces, but the official emphasized McChrystal has not made a decision on that. The military already has tasked an additional 4,000 troops to train Afghan forces.
The official said McChrystal is likely to submit his recommendations to Defense Secretary Robert Gates as a series of options, with each option having a level of risk attached to it.
"This will start the discussion" within the highest levels of the administration about whether to send a significant number of additional troops, the official said.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates insisted Wednesday that the recent ousting of Gen. David McKiernan as the top allied commander in Afghanistan was not made because of his general's requests for more troops or the rise in casualties.
Gates was asked about the decision to replace McKiernan with Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal as the head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan at a House Armed Service Committee hearing. It was the first time a general of that ranking had been replaced during a war since President Harry Truman fired Gen. Douglas MacArthur during the Korean War.
The question, by Rep. Joseph Sestak, D-Pennsylvania, was whether it was fair to fire McKiernan since he wasn't given the resources he wanted, as the Iraq war was considered the top priority until just recently.
"This was an individual who by policy was given second choice on resources and never enough despite repeated requests," Sestak said.