President Obama will soon make a decision on the way forward in Afghanistan. If he ends up not going with Gen. Stanley McChrystal's request for a reported 40,000 troops, what will McChrystal do?
McChrystal is one of the pioneers of counterterrorism and a highly intelligent, reliable and well-regarded general. His standing in the Pentagon and NATO and his professional reputation are on the line.
He is also the top military officer Obama dispatched to assess the facts on the ground. Having found a dangerously deteriorating situation, McChrystal, as instructed, proposed a strategy that he concluded has the best chance of staving off defeat in what Obama has called a "war of necessity."
If Obama agrees with McChrystal's goals and strategy yet scales down the mission by sending fewer troops, will the general salute like a good soldier and carry on? Or will McChrystal conclude that he has been second-guessed by poll-driven civilians, that he has been handed a stripped-down mission that cannot succeed? Will he decide that he can no longer serve as Obama's war commander?
- Excerpted from The Post's opinion blog.
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