Young Hamlet’s Agony

“On March 27, flanked by his secretaries of defense and state, the president said this: ‘Today I’m announcing a comprehensive new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.’ He then outlined a civilian-military counterinsurgency campaign to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan. … The general in charge was then relieved and replaced with Obama’s own choice, Stanley McChrystal. And it’s McChrystal who submitted the request for the 40,000 troops, a request upon which the commander in chief promptly gagged. The White House began leaking an alternate strategy, apparently proposed (invented?) by Vice President Biden, for achieving immaculate victory with arm’s-length use of cruise missiles, Predator drones and special ops. The irony is that no one knows more about this kind of warfare than Gen. McChrystal. He was in charge of exactly this kind of ‘counterterrorism’ in Iraq for nearly five years, killing thousands of bad guys in hugely successful under-the-radar operations. When the world’s expert on this type of counterterrorism warfare recommends precisely the opposite strategy — ‘counterinsurgency,’ meaning a heavy-footprint, population-protecting troop surge — you have the most convincing of cases against counterterrorism by the man who most knows its potential and its limits. And McChrystal was emphatic in his recommendation: To go any other way than counterinsurgency would lose the war. Yet his commander in chief, young Hamlet, frets, demurs, agonizes. His domestic advisers, led by Rahm Emanuel, tell him if he goes for victory, he’ll become LBJ, the domestic visionary destroyed by a foreign war. His vice president holds out the chimera of painless counterterrorism success. Against Emanuel and Biden stand Gen. David Petraeus, the world’s foremost expert on counterinsurgency (he saved Iraq with it), and Stanley McChrystal, the world’s foremost expert on counterterrorism. Whose recommendation on how to fight would you rely on?” –columnist Charles Krauthammer

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Filed under Charles Krauthammer, Patriot Post

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