So Stanley McChrystal has a history. Does that mean the Senate shouldn’t confirm him as the next ISAF commander? Let me put it this way: beggars can’t be choosers. With McKiernan already sacked and the war effort faltering, there’s no alternative. And besides, in an eight-year conflict, something bad has happened on everyone’s watch, including Petraeus’s. So let’s not pretend otherwise.
As for winning the war in Afghanistan, I share Exum’s concern:
I know that sounds crazy, but given the number of things competing for time on the president’s agenda — North Korea, GM, Israeli settlers, health care — Afghanistan is suffering again from a lack of attention, and there does not seem to be a unified interagency effort to push resources and focus attention toward the commanders on the ground.
Actually, there may be a simpler solution: kill Bin Laden and leave. According to former Saudi intelligence chief and U.S. Ambassador Prince Turki al-Faisal, al-Qaeda is a “cult” and its leader a “hydra head with venomous snakes”; to destroy the cult, you cut off the head:
‘After that, […] declare victory… then get the hell out of Afghanistan.’‘No one will be able to get all the jihadis […] They will always evolve into something else.’