As you might have suspected, Stanley McChrystal’s leadership in the War in Afghanistan became untenable when the Rolling Stone story hit the internet. Republicans are keeping mum for now but you can be sure that they aren’t going to let this one slide.
The only thing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had to say of McChrystal’s resignation today was this:
“The important thing is to get the mission right and to win in Afghanistan.”
That is, what you saw here in McConnell’s comment was an opening move. An opening move because the endgame is so very apparent: there is no way to be victorious in Afghanistan and everyone knows it.
First, they keep moving the goalposts, don’t they?
When we first went in to Afghanistan we had two objectives: topple the regime that gave Al Qaeda material support and a haven, which we accomplished, and drive the Taliban and Al Qaeda out of Afghanistan, which we accomplished.
In short, the Afghanistan War goals have been met. Why then are we still there?
The new goal is to end all insurgent operations in Afghanistan using the so-called COIN strategy developed by McChrystal and his staff, and put in place a stable government that has the support of the Afghans.
The first is a military problem, the second is not a military problem, but apparently we are using the military anyway. Indeed, Hamid Karzai, Afghanistan’s corrupt president, relied so much on McChrystal for any credibility at all in his own country that he gushed high praise on McChrystal even after the Rolling Stone article came out:
“The president [Karzai] strongly supports General McChrystal and his strategy in Afghanistan and believes he is the best commander the United States has sent to Afghanistan over the last nine years.”
If that isn’t reason enough to ask for McChrystal’s resignation, then nothing is.
So when we lose the war in Afghanistan, losing it because no one could win where the goalposts have been planted by the previous administration, be sure that Republicans will trace it back to McChrystal’s resignation today.
I see this with McChrystal clarity.