First is this piece from the Telegraph in which U.K. General David Richards said that "if Britain and Nato failed in Afghanistan the risks to the western world would be 'enormous' and 'unimaginable.'"
From The Telegraph:
He said: "If al-Qaeda and the Taliban believe they have defeated us – what next? Would they stop at Afghanistan? Pakistan is clearly a tempting target not least because of the fact that it is a nuclear-weaponed state and that is a terrifying prospect. Even if only a few of those (nuclear) weapons fell into their hands, believe me they would use them. The recent airlines plot has reminded us that there are people out there who would happily blow all of us up."
Then we have reports of Obama upbraiding General McChrystal for having an opinion on the best strategy in Afghanistan. Well, to be fair, Obama was apparently more angry that McChrystal verbalized his opinion. Again, from The Telegraph:
"People aren't sure whether McChrystal is being naïve or an upstart. To my mind he doesn't seem ready for this Washington hard-ball and is just speaking his mind too plainly."
In London, Gen McChrystal, who heads the 68,000 US troops in Afghanistan as well as the 100,000 Nato forces, flatly rejected proposals to switch to a strategy more reliant on drone missile strikes and special forces operations against al-Qaeda.
He told the Institute of International and Strategic Studies that the formula, which is favoured by Vice-President Joe Biden, would lead to "Chaos-istan".
So why is Obama dithering so on the troop decision? It's clear that he isn't worried about public perception on the matter; his is the only perception that matters. But to the public, the soldiers in the line of fire, and the eyes of the world, he is dithering. He spares only twenty five minutes for McChrystal and that, it appears, was spent, at least partially, on whether McChrystal should keep his mouth shut or not.
We've come a long way from General Petraeus and his weekly sessions with and open access to George W. Bush.
And for another perspective, check out John Guardiano's "Leaking for National Security" at American Specatator.
Keep up with the debate on Memeorandum.