Retired Gen. McChrystal says the Job in Afganistan is only Half Done

October 7, 2011

Retired Gen. McChrystal says the Job in Afganistan is only Half Done

Retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal who commanded coalition forces in 2009-10 but was forced to resign in a flap over a magazine article, said in remarks at the Council on Foreign Relations that the US entered Afghanistan in October 2001 with weak knowledge of Afghan culture. And  the U.S. and its NATO allies are only “a little better than” 50 percent of the way to reaching their war goals.We didn’t know enough and we still don’t know enough,” he said. “Most of us, me included, had a very superficial understanding of the situation and history, and we had a frighteningly simplistic view of recent history, the last 50 years.”Gen McChrystal also said that the Bush administration’s decision to invade Iraq less than two years after entering Afghanistan made the Afghan effort more difficult.

I think they were made more difficult, clearly,” he said, because the Iraq invasion “changed the Muslim world’s view of America’s effort. When we went after the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001 there was a certain understanding that we had the ability and the right to defend ourselves and the fact that al-Qaeda had been harboured by the Taliban was legitimate.
“I think when we made the decision to go into Iraq that was less legitimate” in the eyes of much of the Muslim world, he said. Iraq also diverted military resources that could have been put to good use in Afghanistan, he said.

Of the remaining tasks to be accomplished, McChrystal said the most difficult may be creating a legitimate government that ordinary Afghans can believe in and that can serve as a counterweight to the Taliban.

Publisher: Salient News