Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Mullen says more troops are needed in Afghanistan

Admiral Mullen today, at a morning hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee:

A properly resourced counterinsurgency probably means more forces, and, without question, more time and more commitment to the protection of the Afghan people and to the development of good governance.

Good governance in Afghanistan? Really? We're going to stick around until we get that? It might be a long, long time. The Obama Administration has shown ample understanding that Afghanistan can't really have a strong central government, let alone a viably democratic one, and that holding out for such utopian ends will require massive resources and will almost certainly fail. I can't say I'm an expert on troop levels and counterinsurgency, so I won't claim to know how many troops we need to accomplish x or y in Afghanistan, but I hope that the military doesn't try to strong-arm the administration into doing something that makes no strategic sense.

P.S. Yglesias weighs in on the whole "what does victory actually mean?" question.

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