McChrystal calls for enduring Afghan force
NEW YORK - Retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal said Monday he backs the White Houses drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan slated for 2014, but added that the U.S. owes Afghans some sort of enduring security presence to support them.
We have an emotional responsibility, McChrystal said of Afghanistan in an interview with The Associated Press. He commanded forces there before resigning over a controversial magazine article.
We created expectations after 2001 in people that the U.S. would be there to keep the country from sliding back into the chaos of the Taliban years, McChrystal said.
His comments come ahead of a visit by Afghan President Hamid Karzai to the White House, as the two nations try to craft a long-term plan for Afghanistan that will include a U.S. military presence whose size and scope have not yet been decided. The Afghan war commander, Gen. John Allen, has offered White House planners a range of troop numbers to choose from, from 6,000 troops, who would be devoted mostly to hunting al-Qaida, to more than 15,000, enough to continue much of the U.S. training mission and also back Afghan troops in the field with intelligence and logistical support.
|No we did not. Europeans, academics and Democrats did, and like a fool George W. Bush listened to them. One of the bigger mistakes he made. The original goal was to destroy al-Qaeda and gobsmack the Taliban so that the Northern Alliance and friendly Pashtuns (is there such a thing?) could run the place. But George got conned into 'nation-building', and here we are.|
McChrystal said Afghans dont want an occupying army, but they fear the U.S. will withdraw completely.
|I choose option A, perhaps A-minus. We really need 6,000?|
Like a teenager, you really dont want your parents hanging around you, but...you like to know if things go bad, theyre going to help, he said. McChrystal added that the Afghans are not children, but they need to know they can trust America.
|Really? When did they say that -- when they were practicing green on blue?|
The retired general insisted the strategy known as counterinsurgency worked, saying the Afghans are much better able to stand on their own.
If you had tried to bring big American forces in and do search and destroy, or do just raids, it would have been pointless. The Afghan people needed to buy into this, he said. They needed to believe we were there to protect them...and we werent just using Afghanistan as a place to fight our enemies.
He called the looming drawdown of U.S. forces inevitable, and said that while Afghan troops still needed to mature rapidly, being forced to work on their own would help.
You are never ready to do something by yourself until you actually do it, and then you are surprised you can, he said.
|They can mature tomorrow, or not. The point is to make sure they understand that if al-Qaeda returns, so will we, and we won't be happy about it.|
Posted by: Steve White 2013-01-08