The president is asking the questions that have never been asked on the civilian side, the political side, the military side, and the strategic side. What is the impact on the region? What can the Afghan government do or not do? Where are we on the police training? Who would be better doing the police training? Could that be something the Europeans do? Should we take the military side? Those are the questions that have not been asked. And before you commit troops . . . before you make that decision, there's a set of questions that have to have answers that have never been asked. And it's clear after eight years of war, that's basically starting from the beginning, and those questions never got asked.Looking at his questions; let me review for you.
1. Impact on region. We have done nothing but this as a rolling assessment since 2001. There are teams at (for starters) DOS, DOD civilian and the Pentagon Joint Staff and of course USCENTCOM that have been doing this full time for over eight years. That doesn't even cover the US military's work on AFG starting with SHAPE (Rahm, talk to your National Security Advisor there, natch) - the lead NATO guy is a US 4-star. In gory detail at the Strategic, Operational and in-theater Operational level since NATO took over responsibility for AFG in late 2005 through 2006 - countless hours on the USA and NATO side that has been constantly going on.
3. Police training & Europe. Good googly moogly; just read the first 10 pages from my buddy Matilka Krow. Germany had it - EUPOL took it over - neither did squat; and starting back well over a 18 months ago we increased our long running Police Mentor Teams et al to fill in the gap left by the European belly-button picking. Classic epic fail by the Europeans that started the smart people in the Joint Staff to look at taking back the keys in '07. Have patience - we know police are the key, great success has been made - more is to come. Oh, and Italy is supposed to be the lead nation WRT Judicial Reform, and the UK counter-narcotics. How is that working for you so far?
4. Should we take military side. I you mean "we" so mean USA, then sure, if you want to destroy NATO. Once again, NATO has the security part of a three part plan/campaign design - governance and development being the others. The lead Strategic and in-theater Operational Commanders for the AFG operation in NATO are American - and starting in late '08 we started beefing up the US staff presence in Kabul to what you see now with LTG Rodriguez, the 2-Star under GEN McChrystal. Again - this decision has been made and is the result of evolved thought through this entire decade.
I am still gobsmacked by Emanuel's statement. Ignorant? if so we should be rightfully concerned about this Administrations understanding of the conflict we are in. Malicious? Well, that just confirms what many of us thought -- and that is sad. There are some good people in this administration. To serve under a Chief of Staff that is that ignorant or malicious is a waste of their talent and efforts in service to their nation.