The gist of Gen. Stanley McChrystal's analysis that presumably will be presented to President Barack Obama is: If 1) you and Congress fully resource the effort (troops, materiel and civilian aid) and 2) if we get much better at coordinating all our assets -- Defense and State departments, the U.S. Agency for International Development, intelligence, contractors, NATO and others -- then 3) there is a better than even chance of success in Afghanistan, which will take 4) between five and seven more years. Note that the president is not likely to be told that the Pentagon can "predict" success -- only that it would be more likely than not to succeed.
Thus, the president will have to place a heavy bet at odds barely better than a gambler would get on even or odd at the roulette table. But unlike the gambler, who can leave the table, the president is forced to bet -- either go or no go. There is a potentially huge danger to leaving (as well as to escalating) -- for both national security and political reasons.
Unfortunately, while there are no easy answers, a number of appealing rationalizations and false assertions are available. They should be rejected for the comfortable untruths they are. Whether one is for getting out or staying and fighting, this is no time to avert one's mind from seeing reality straight on.
Sen. John Kerry's Monday column in The Wall Street Journal conveniently presents for consideration most of the rationalizations and false assertions that currently plague Washington decision-making:
--Much has changed, particularly a fraudulent election, since March, when the president unveiled the strategic plan for his "war of necessity" to defeat al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan through a community-focused counterinsurgency campaign that would "enhance the military, governance and economic capacity of Afghanistan" rather than merely execute counterterrorism body count hits.
Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.
In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.
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