Editor's note: Please welcome to the Crooks and Liars team Jason Sigger, who many of you may already know from his superb work at the Armchair Generalist. Jason is going to be writing about national-security issues for C&L; we're pleased and excited to have him aboard.
There has been some talk in the papers about the NATO Secretary General's support for Gen. McChrystal's report. I would suggest that what he said was that Afghanistan clearly does need some COIN support. What he also said was this (see around 3:30 mark):
"NATO will consider the addition of ground forces when the time is right."
Wow. So it's okay to endorse the strategy, but there's no way that NATO is going to actually add any substantive amount of troops to the mix. Other than Britain, I am not sure we're going to see more than a few dozen military personnel from the rest of the community. So whenever NATO wants to get serious about sending its fair share of troops - say, about 20,000 or so of the 40,000 request on the table - then feel free to discuss how our operations in Afghanistan ought to be conducted, Mr. Rasmussen.
Minor disclaimer - My usual audience at Armchair Generalist knows that I am not a COIN fan and pessimistic as to how NATO works in these coalition operations. As others wiser than I have noted, the US govt can certainly stay and do COIN, but it's long term and very expensive. I'd much rather see a limited COIN/CT strategy such as the one described by VP Biden, Gen Krulak and others, with a disengagement and pull out before 2012. The US engagement won't end overnight, but we certainly need to put a cap on the future investments of "blood and treasure" in this region.