U.S. Afghan Envoy Urges Caution on Troop Increase
"WASHINGTON -- The United States ambassador to Afghanistan, who once served as the top American military commander there, has expressed in writing his reservations about deploying additional troops to the country, three senior American officials said Wednesday.
"The position of the ambassador, Karl W. Eikenberry, puts him in stark opposition to the current American and NATO commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who has asked for 40,000 more troops. New York Times, Nov. 11
This isn't just any envoy. General Karl Eikenberry has served two tours of duty in Afghanistan, the second as head of the Combined Forces Command. After the second Afghan tour, Eikenberry was Chairman of the NATO Joint Military Committee. He's a West Point graduate with advanced degrees from Harvard and Stanford and is fluent in Mandarin Chinese.
General McChrystal has asked for 50,000 troops in early October. By October 28, the president was said to favor a "McChrystal light" number as low as 15,000. On Nov. 7, just four days before Eikenberry's statement, McClatchy Newspapers put Obama's preferred number at 30,000. At this moment, the president is reported have rejected all of the troop increases on the table, according to Associated Press at 12:02 am EDT, today, November 12.
How did we get from McChrystal's request for 50,000 troop requests in early October to Eikenberry's "written reservations about deploying additional troops" just days before President Obama's planned decision?
The only thing we know for sure is that Eikenberry's statement was
no accident. Clearly, there is dissent in the Pentagon and White House
as evidenced by this publicly reported assessment by a serving
ambassador and distinguished officer. Of interest, on troop levels,
the Eikenberry statement agrees with the much criticized assessment of Vice President Joe Biden on made after a trip to Afghanistan
Two Paths - Obama's Hedge
When General Stanley McChrystal was appointed to command combined forces in Afghanistan, he put together his own team for the long haul:
McChrystal is assembling a corps of 400 officers and soldiers who will
rotate between the United States and Afghanistan for a minimum of three
years. That kind of commitment to one theater of combat is unknown in
the military today outside Special Operations, but reflects an approach
being imported by General McChrystal, who spent five years in charge of
secret commando teams in Iraq and Afghanistan." New York Times, June 10
Little was know of the five year of secret commando work in the two nations until a Seymour Hersh gave a speech at the University of Minnesota on U.S. Intelligence policies. Hersh said:
"Right now, today, there was a story in the New York Times that if you read it carefully mentioned something known as the Joint Special Operations Command -- JSOC it's called. It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They
do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported
directly to the Cheney office. " Congress has no oversight of it. It's an executive assassination ring essentially, and it's been going on and on and on." MinnesotaPost.Com March 11