October 4th, 2009
11:20 AM ET
13 years ago

Jones questions McChrystal's tactics in pushing for more troops

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/04/art.jones2shot1004.cnn.jpg caption="Obama National Security Adviser and retired general James Jones told CNN's John King Sunday that it's better for military advice to come up through the chain of command."]
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.”

soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Ryan indy

    Yep, Biden knows better than the General on the Ground. That is why the Surge worked so well because GW listened to the Generals on the ground. But oh yea I forgot GW is so EVIL and can not do anything right., isnt that right Democrats. I am sure the millitary is sure wishing they had him back in there . Obama seems incomptent,unsure and unfocused on the mission. Obama is costing us US lives everyday he doesnt put a new plan in place there. Where is the body count that the democrats had for every US solider lost in Iraq???? Could it be you people really didnt care about winning that war just personally defeating GW???? Democrats really are pathetic....

    October 4, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  2. Anonymous

    why do you aloow Obama to make any decisions he is not a military person has he ever shoot a gun

    October 4, 2009 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  3. Michael

    we cant just leave afghanistan now as the taliban and al-Qaeda will just retake it and use it as a base of opperations further threatening world security. I want to see progress in this war, just find the terrorist and defeat them. I figure just increase areal survaliance to track and spot these militants when they try and ambush our soldiers. but the afghan government needs to be reformed and ridden of corruption. heck the countries been through war so long it barely has a governemnt structure or some sort of governemnt industries. the whole situation is complicated but i do believe we will make it in the long run. getting the taliban and al quaeda in pakistan is a main requirement also

    October 4, 2009 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  4. Nancy Holland

    President Obama needs to quick dragging his feet on Afghanistan. It is CLEAR that our troops need more help.
    We have had two soldiers come home to our area in the past three months and America has EIGHT more coming home next week.
    Quit with the red tape by "weighing options!"
    Send our troops the SUPPORT they need...NOW!

    October 4, 2009 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  5. GI Joe

    I smell that leak coming from "noun, verb, surge" McSongbird so that he could open his foolish old war-mongering mouth AGAIN.

    October 4, 2009 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    While I like openness in politics and in the government, I think all of these "generals" need to ZIP IT NOW!

    I can't imagine our military leaders during WW2 discussing strategy (or lack of it) in either the Pacific or European fronts.

    Our population seems to be going downhill in mentality.

    October 4, 2009 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. just joe

    I think Jones is awfully wrong by suggesting that McChrystal was wrong in his approach to openly discussing that he needed more troops. I didn't hear much about why it took our POTUS so long in speaking with....hell, even getting to know...OUR top military guy on the ground in Afghanistan.......Obama does appear to be rather slow in "getting around" to important issues impacting all of us. ....of course, this is a usual fault among Ivy Tower intellectuals, isn't it?

    October 4, 2009 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. Lilarose in Bandon, Oregon

    Besides the lack of spelling and punctuation skills for too many posters on this blog, I also see a lack of education in warfare history!

    Our PRESIDENT is Commander-in-Chief! He makes the final decisions based on consultations with the experts.

    And al Qaeda and the Taliban are not so easily defeated as to just go in and hunt 'em down and kill 'em. Most of them are the "regular folks" in the villages. How do we know the difference? It isn't easy.

    October 4, 2009 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  9. Freedom

    It seems to me that we let President Johnson ,and Nixon run their war from the White House and lost. Now as wait for Obama to run his war from the White House. Looks like he will ignore the advice from generals in the field. It also looks like he will take sides with the far left wing of his party. This goes to show you that Obama doesn't think to much of history. Think about it what would of happened if the president rosev.ignored the advice of PATTON ,and the other World War 2 Generals. We would all be speaking german. It is ashame that we are on the brink of losing another war. The star and stripes are crying.

    October 4, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  10. Ancient Texan

    So the Democrat gaffe Machine, Joe Biden, is more knowlegable on military options than the military Commander. Wow. Who would've thought Joe was the Chief Military Planner for the Obama Agenda.

    October 4, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  11. Soren

    Nobody – absolutely nobody – can get Afghanistan into a stable
    position. 40.000 or 400.000 troops won't make a difference.
    The minute they go home, we are back to square one. Minus a
    trillion dollars and god knows how many dead american soldiers.
    Joe Biden is right on. As usual. And then get Pakistan to stop all
    their doubletalk, do something about it, or get completely cut off
    all aid.
    Don't they understand, where american public opinion is going??
    If they don't, they will loose everything in 2010, and more than everything in 2012.

    October 4, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  12. S Callahan

    Shame....must be stocks aren't worth what they used to be...or at least a private promise from a private company that caters to wars.

    Again, Why are we fighting in Afghanistan?

    October 4, 2009 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  13. Brett from Oriskany,VA

    Ah, the Graveyard of Empires beckons. Come brave warriors and we will destroy you. This is not al Qaeda or the Taliban speaking, it is Afghanistan. No one has been able to hold it in history, occupy it, yes, hold it, no. Recent example is the Soviet Union. Why, in our Anglo Saxon Aryan smugness do we think that we can change things. Afghanistan has been at war for 30 years, very few people remember peace, they think tribally not nationally. As in the past, it will be a strong warlord who eventually succeeds in some form of unification. He will probably be a Pathan. He will switch allegiances from Nato to al Qaeda, to Taliban as it suits his whim. Debate on such a question is good, we need to know whether we can advance change. Had we had this debate during Vietnam, perhaps many lives would have been saved.

    October 4, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  14. Pat Dunedin Fl

    Wasn"t McChrystal involved with the Pat Tillman Coverup?
    He should not even be in command a bad leftover from Bush
    who used a coverup to get him elected!!!!!

    October 4, 2009 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  15. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Let's look at some facts:
    #1 The current Afghanistan strategy was decided on by Obama in March 2009.
    #2 In May 2009 he picked McChrystal as the new commander.
    #3 After taking command and assessing the situation McChrystal submitted a 66 page report that said the Obama's strategy would fail without more troops.
    #4 The White House sat on the report for weeks, and staffers asked McCrystal not to ask for more troops because they didn't want to put Obama in a position to say yes or no. Meanwhile Obama went 70 days without talking to his commander in the field until they met in Europe this week.
    #5 After the report leaked it became known that McChrystal requested up to 40,000 more troops.
    Conclusion: Obama is now waffling on his strategy because he knows 40,000 more troops will piss off his leftist base, who would rather lose. Meanwhile every day of voting 'present' costs more lives. Obama is a national disgrace.

    October 4, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  16. Lynne

    Now watch the rabid right throw the Gates and Jones under the bus, two men they used to praise.

    By the way, when is McCain going to pass along where Bin Laden is as he claimed he knew throughout the election campaign? When he does that PERHAPS he will have some credibility.

    October 4, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. Bull

    No more troops, bring our soldiers home.

    October 4, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  18. Diogenes

    Strategy 1:
    Cordon off an area (1/3rd of country perhaps) with natural boundaries (rivers or mountains). establish exit points, give an ultimatum for exit, flatten area, build mega housing projects, allow people back in. Let the Taliban roam in the other 2/3rds. East Germany & West Germany again. With time, people will flee East germany (Taliban Afghanistan) and it will sollapse under its own weight.
    Strategy 2:
    Arm the Aghan women. Get Israeli female soldiers to train them. Kit them up and set them loose on the Taliban.
    Any time pals!
    No need to thank me.

    Signing off.....

    October 4, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    In the military there is something they called chain of command. That is the process through which communications etc are channeled. If a general to channel his war strategy through the media, it could be putting the president on the spot even before he gets to sonsult his military adviser. That is strategically wrong. No where in the world a general behaviors like this and remains on the job. He may have a good strategy but the wrong channel.


    October 4, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. Nancy

    Thank you Mike in Syracuse..

    October 4, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    Mike from Syracuse: What are your sources for your information (other than Fox News)?

    I, too, can make a numbered list of "facts" and post them here – it doesn't mean they're true.

    What is true is Afghanistan is a mess because the Bush/Cheney Administration never properly supported the military and civilian efforts there. They let Osama bin Laden slip over the Pakistani border, enabling him to reconstitute and make stronger al Qaeda. They focused on Iraq and its oil, and played politics with our military efforts to get re-elected in 2004.

    Afghanistan, as history shows, has never been conquered. Occupation is possible, but extremely difficult given the tribal nature of the politics there, coupled by the fact that the main source of income is poppy farming.

    I trust President Obama's ability to make a well-reasoned decision regarding our presence in Afghanistan. And I keep our personnel there – military and civilian – in my thoughts

    October 4, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  22. Hugo

    The problem with waging war is that war is complete insanity and our politicians try to spin it to us in a sane and humane way. Apparently we are now a Nation more worried about infringing on human rights even at the cost of gathering intelligence information that could assist us in saving thousands of lives both here and abroad. Think if you were a fundamentalist Muslim in struggling Afghanistan that truly believes in Islam the way many in America use to believe in Christ before our great enlightenment from the Left. Imagine that as an Afghan farmer you were introduced to the United States via satellite TV. What if the first TV show you saw was "I love New York" or "Rock of Love"? I understand why a country composed of religious zealots would see us as the Great Satan!

    October 4, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    Ryan Indy: Yes, the surge started to work when GW Bush FINALLY started listening to his generals and ignoring his arrogant chicken hawk advisors like Rumsfeld.

    And I greatly doubt the military wishes GW were back – Bush was the ultimate chicken hawk, having gone AWOL for 18 months of his "service" during Viet Nam. Bush surrounded himself with people who'd never served in combat and therefore made incredibly stupid decisions (not the least of which was to send our military personnel to war without proper equipment).

    Democrats did and do care about winning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – and we knew that the only way to do that was to get the GOP, with its stupid, arrogant, party-before-country ideas, out of the White House.

    October 4, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  24. Obama's failures are piling up and up!!

    How many more failures from Obama must we suffer before people (Dems and the Media) begin to hold him accountable. While his failure with Chicago hosting the Olympics is a little more than an embarrassment – Obama's failures with the economy (unemployment near 10%) and with foreign policy (Iran and Afghanistan) threaten our prosperity and our very lives.

    Obama is fast becomming outed as nothing more than an intellectual elitist with no true grasp of how to handle the job of leader of the free world.

    It's a shame that so many have been fooled by him – only because he can give a good speech.

    October 4, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  25. Willy Brown

    Cut and Run is the Democrat motto.

    October 4, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
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