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NATO Commanders Endorse McChrystal Plan

NATO’s defense ministers have collectively and publicly expressed wide support for General Stanley McChrystal’s revised Afghanistan strategy and request for 40,000 more troops. However, they declined to discuss the resource implications and what role NATO member nations might play as such.

At this point, it seems that most military and academic leaders who support troop increases believe Gen. McChrystal’s plan is the best strategy, and that 40,000 more troops is the aproximate number needed, if not more. Great Britain recently increased troop commitments by a few thousand. Other than that, no one, including the U.S., has been bold enough to speak publicly on willingness to contribute a new influx of troops despite vocal support for Gen. McChrystal. President Obama’s decision, expected in the coming weeks, will be telling.

If the leaders who speak out in support of McChrystal ultimately fail to contribute greater support, does that mean public sentiment has triumphed over a potential winning strategy? Most participating countries appear to be on the verge of committing more troops, but less than the amount called for; frustrated populations are simultaneously eager for success and withdrawal. Is the public so fickle that they will accept an increase of 20,000 troops, but not 40,000, at the risk of ultimate failure? And are our leaders so trepidatious of stepping outside the middle road to follow that logic?

The choice in Afghanistan has never been clearer. Give McChrystal what he wants or adopt a strategy to begin reducing troop deployments and begin preparation for majority withdrawal. An “almost surge” seems to be both wasteful and unwise. Literally, go big or go home. While the middle road is the political place to be, it’s the place you’re most likely to get killed in battle.

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